Oh my gosh, it’s going to be Easter in just a couple of weeks!! Yeah, I know…news flash! Clearly this holiday has sneaked up on me, so I got busy experimenting with some Easter dessert options.
My first is: Better for You Banana cake. Until now, I haven’t brought you a layer cake recipe and that’s because I’ve always had such bad luck with them – they’ve all been “leaners”. You know…the ones that no matter which way you turn them, are always tilted. Which is kind of embarrassing since I’m supposed to be a baker, and that includes making layer cakes that don’t look like they’re going to fall over.
So I stepped out of that comfort zone I’m so fond of and went about learning the “technicalities” of making a straight up, level, flat cake layer. And it wasn’t nearly as scary or daunting a task as I had thought it would be. Imagine that? Basically, you just need to wrap some wet strips of towel around the edge of the cake pan in whatever width the pan is, usually 2-3″, attaching them with large safety pins. The moisture from the wet towel strips help the cake to bake more evenly, preventing the dome that forms, which is the primary reason layer cakes lean. You can find more detailed information for the procedure on one of my favorite blogs: The Kitchn.
You really should give this Better for You Banana cake a try. It’s been lightened up from the original recipe; both the butter and sweetener has been reduced (as usual, I used real maple syrup for the sweetener). This banana cake is moist, flavorful, and downright irresistible. So why resist?
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3/4 cup butter, room temp
- 1 cup real maple syrup
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
- 3 cups flour
- 3 ripe bananas mashed, about 1½ cups
- 8 ounces (1 package) cream cheese, room temperature
- 1/2 cup butter, room temperature
- 3 tablespoons maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1-2 tablespoons milk
- 1/3 cup sweetened flaked coconut, optional
- Spray three 8-inch round cake pans or two 9-inch round cake pans with Baker’s Joy (or similar) spray. Set aside.
- Whisk the milk and lemon juice together in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Combine flour, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Set aside.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment beat the butter and syrup in a large bowl until combined, adding in the syrup a little at a time until fully incorporated (The mixture will appear slightly “curdled”, but don’t worry, it’s just fine).
- Add in the eggs and vanilla and mix until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl.
- Add in the milk and flour mixture in alternating additions, beginning and ending with flour, mixing on low and scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Finally, mix in the mashed bananas until just incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly among the pans and bake for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Rotate the pans in the oven halfway through baking.
- Cool cakes in the pans for 15-20 minutes; then remove from the pans and place on a wire rack to cool completely.
- Using a hand mixer or a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment mix the butter and cream cheese together for 2 minutes until creamy. Mix in the maple syrup.
- Add in the vanilla and 1 tablespoon of milk.
- With the mixer on medium, blend until creamy, scraping the sides of the bowl as needed.
- Add remaining tablespoon of milk, if needed and mix until combined.
- Place the coconut in a nonstick skillet over medium-low heat, stirring gently but constantly. The coconut will start to turn light brown; watch carefully, because it burns quickly.
- Remove the pan from the heat and allow the coconut to cool completely. (I spread mine out on a paper plate so it won’t continue to brown in the warm pan and cools faster.)
- Sprinkle cake with the toasted coconut.
Preheat oven to 325°F