Monday, February 24, 2014

Banana Cake with Caramel Cream Cheese Frosting

It's wickedly caloric but wickedly good. I'm blaming it all on a snowstorm and that salted caramel sauce I saw on Stacey Snacks' blog. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.
 I had just come in from shoveling the driveway for the umpteenth time this year and although it was cold outside, I had worked up a sweat and was craving ice cream. All I had was plain vanilla, but to dress it up, I could quickly whip up a caramel sauce. Never mind that there are a gazillion calories in caramel sauce (not to mention ice cream). Hey, I deserved it after all the shoveling this season.
Fast forward two days later when I had baked a banana cake for my Italian chit chat group. Not just any banana cake, but really the best banana cake I'd ever tried. It's from my friend Jan, who gave me the recipe decades ago when our kids were babies. Over the years, I lost sight of it and finally took the time to scrounge through stacks of old recipes to find it. I could have made the buttercream frosting that came with the recipe - delicious in its own right. But with the extra caramel sauce that was too much of a temptation for my weak resolve, I used it instead in a frosting, incorporating a bit of leftover cream cheese too and sharing the caramel goodness (and calories) with a bunch of other women.
Now you can enjoy it too. Just make sure you balance the calories with some jogging - or snow shoveling - which shouldn't be a problem with a lot of winter still ahead of us.

Jan's Banana Cake
printable recipe here

2 eggs
2/3 c. softened butter
1 t. vanilla
1 1/4 cups brown sugar
2 cups cake flour
2 t. baking powder
1 t. baking soda
1/2 t. salt
1/2 c. buttermilk
1 1/4 c. mashed very ripe bananas (about 2)

crushed walnuts for decorating the sides of the cake

Grease the bottom and sides of two layer cake pans and line with greased waxed or parchment paper. Beat the first four ingredients together until smooth. Combine the baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add the flour mixture to the egg mixture, alternately with the buttermilk and banana. Pour and spread in the prepared pans and bake at 350 degrees until centers are set - about 20 to 25 minutes. when cold, fill and frost with either rich butter icing or the cream cheese caramel frosting. Decorate the top with a little of the reserved caramel sauce, and press crushed walnuts onto the sides of the cake.

Rich Butter Icing  (a delicious recipe, and the original one that Jan uses, but I used the cream cheese caramel frosting instead)
1/4 cup butter or margarine
2 c. sifted confectioner's sugar
1 egg yolk
1 t. vanilla extract
1 T. cream

Cream Cheese Caramel Frosting

6 oz. - 8 oz. softened cream cheese (a typical bar of cream cheese is 8 oz., but I had already eaten some, so I used only what was left - 6 oz. - and it was fine)
1/2 cup butter
1 c. confectioner's sugar
1 t. vanilla
1/2 cup caramel sauce (below)
Beat the cream cheese and butter until well blended. Add the confectioner's sugar, vanilla and caramel sauce until smooth. Spread on interior layer of cake, then on the sides and top of cake.

After incorporating the 1/2 cup caramel sauce into the frosting, you'll have enough caramel sauce left over to drizzle over the top of the cake too. Drizzle in concentric circles, then run a toothpick or knife through the circles at equal distances. You might need to reheat the sauce a bit to make it pourable

Salted Caramel Sauce (from Bon Appetit):

1/4 cup of water
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cream
3 tbsp butter 
1/2 tsp. kosher salt (not regular salt)

In a small, heavy saucepan, heat the water and sugar on medium boil until turning golden, 8-10 minutes.
You can scrape the brown bits on the sides of the pan down with a wet pastry brush.

Take the golden liquid off the heat and carefully add in the cream, it will bubble and boil, so be careful not to splatter yourself.

Place back on the stove and stir for 2 minutes.

Add in 3 tbsp butter and salt and cook another minute or two until the butter and mixture is nice and smooth.

Transfer to a heat resistant vessel, and place in the fridge to cool. You can make the caramel sauce 5 days in advance.
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Rosa's Yummy Yums said...

A perfect looking cake! I'm sure it tastes even better than it looks.



Stacey Snacks said...

Good thing I don't like bananas!
Are you moonlighting as a pastry chef? cause your cakes are gorgeous!

Proud Italian Cook said...

I agree with Stacey, all your cakes are gorgeous! I'm giving this recipe to my friend Jean who's a baker so she can make it for us next time we all get together, we love banana anything and this is a beauty, caramel and all!

Laney said...

Be still my heart! Banana cake with cream cheese frosting is my all time favorite...and now with caramel??? I don't think it gets any better than this!

Chiara Giglio said...

che torta deliziosa Linda ! Hai fatto una splendida decorazione

Debby Foodiewife said...

For some reason, I find banana bread to be unexciting. Bu this cake! I adore caramel, but I believe that anything with caramel is dine. I love the nuts on the side, too . The buttermilk must give this cake a really moist quality. Saving this one, for sure. I always have ripe bananas in the house!

Michelle - Majella Home cooking said...

This cake makes my heart flutter - although (a) I could never make look this good and (b) it might make the extra 5 pounds that have recently come to visit me a bit jealous ;)

AdriBarr said...

What a beautiful cake - and I covet your cake stand. I have to say that the additionof the caramel is genius. It is the perfect touch. I bet it is delicious!

sississima said...

WAW it's fabulous! Bys SILVIA

Frank Fariello said...

This post should come with a warning. I'm trying to stick to a low carb diet (believe it or not) and this is definitely going to make things a lot harder! ;+)

domenicacooks said...

I think it's so funny that you were craving ice cream after being outside shoveling snow. Unvelievely, it is snowing AGAIN right now in Virginia. I think I need a slice of this cake to drown my sorrow. xo

Pat @ Mille Fiori Favoriti said...

This looks sinfully good, Linda! I know I'd love it!

We have not gotten as much snow out here in our area of Colorado as back east, so I can't indulge. Plus, we purchased a snow blower--probably why we have not had snow since we bought!

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

I want your meatloaf for dinner and this cake for dessert :) So yummy looking!

WordsPoeticallyWorth said...

Looks like a wonderful cake that you enjoyed with your friends.

Thank you. Love love, Andrew. Bye.

Claudia said...

This is caloric wonderland (and worth the calories). What a beauty! You are quite the temptress. The presentation just sings.

Rachel Page said...

Very moist and has a lighter texture than banana bread, heavier texture than cake. Great cake!