Okay, two things: 1) There is no caramel where there should be caramel on my Banana Caramel Cake, and 2) I don’t even care. More on that later!
So, super great cake! This is one of the recipes I did before, photographed, and then my memory card decided to go all FUBAR and I lost the footage. So I had to make it again, that is how committed I am to this blog.
No problem, though, as I needed a cake for a dinner party I was attending (start a baking blog and suddenly you’re the one bringing dessert to every shindig you’re invited to) and per the hosts, that cake could not have nuts, chocolate, or booze in it. This Banana Caramel Cake with Mascarpone frosting fits the bill.
The cake part of this recipe is super easy – it’s like a cross between banana bread and a simple milk-eggs-and-butter cake recipe. The bananas and other wet ingredients are folded into the creamed ingredients by hand.
And that all goes into two buttered-and-floured round cake pans.
They bake up nicely. I did adjust my recipe for altitude (I’m at 7,200 ft above sea level) by increasing the oven temperature by 25°F and adding another 3T of flour to the dry ingredients. And because I think they’re awesome, I used my evenbake cake strips to ensure the sides didn’t burn. All went off without a hitch.
The cakes then cool completely.
I trimmed the tops so the two cakes were even.
The cake is now ready for its middle layer, which is sliced bananas cooked in caramel. The caramel is simply cooked sugar.
The sugar melts down and turns a golden amber and then the banana slices go in to cook a while on each side. Through trial-and-error I learned that thicker slices are better. Like, maybe try to get three slices from each banana.
Once cooked, the banana slices are transferred directly onto the bottom cake layer. Some of my bananas fell apart (they get really soft and fragile upon cooking) but overall it was an easy process. In the future I might add a couple extra sliced bananas to that layer – it’s just so good!
The frosting is a simple and light mascarpone frosting that comes together very easily in the mixer.
The resulting frosting is incredibly light and smooth, almost the exact consistency of thick whipped cream.
The second cake layer is placed on top of the banana layer and then I applied a crumb layer of frosting. The mascarpone frosting was so easy to work with – I love it.
Then it’s just a matter of frosting the cake. There is a lot of frosting from this recipe, but I recommend using it all – just keeping putting it on there and evening it out. The frosting is barely sweet – it doesn’t have much of a flavor at all other than a very subtle tang from the mascarpone – so you can use a lot and not worry about it overpowering the cake. In fact, I think you need a lot of it to help moisten the bite of the cake and to brighten the deep flavor of the caramelized bananas.
Once the cake is frosted, it’s finished by drizzling with a caramel sauce. This is made by cooking up some caramel. Easier said than done. I followed the recipe twice and both times, everything went well until the caramel started cooling. Once it started to cool, it became and thick, tar-like mess that in no way could be “drizzled” upon a cake.
I will most like make this cake again but I will opt to use a purchase caramel sauce to drizzle on top. The cake definitely needs something to decorate the stark whiteness, but the MSBH caramel is way too finicky for me bother with it again.
I didn’t have any store-bought caramel sauce on-hand so this cake remained bare. We hardly missed it however, because the cake itself is such a knockout.
Seriously, this cake is wonderful. The cake is moist and tastes like a light, fluffy banana bread. The banana layer is the star – it has rich, deep caramel flavor and the bananas themselves taste really intense. The frosting is the perfect match for both the cake and the caramelized bananas – it’s light, fluffy, soft, with little sour-sweet kick from the mascarpone and powdered sugar.
The cake keeps very well in the fridge. It was a huge hit at the dinner – almost everyone wanted the recipe. Another win for the MSBH!