Don’t get me wrong, I love making Christmas cookies. I like making different kinds so there’s an assortment. I always think it’s fun for a group of people to try a selection of foods and talk about their favorite items and what they like about each one. I just went to Sidecar Doughnuts in LA with my friend and husband and had a great time ranking all of our favorites together. I could talk about food that I’m passionate about in great length!
Anyways, I’ve found that I’ve also enjoyed the aesthetic of a pretty Christmas cake so I made sure to find a time to bake one around the holidays the past couple of years. I love the festive but simple decorating ideas that you can do to them. I feel like it provoked a fun reaction from your hosts when you bring it to a gathering or from your guests if you’re hosting a party. People ooh and ah over the simplest things, like this cute gingerbread topper that I bought.
Since I created more a Christmas spice cake recipe last year, I wanted to do something a little different. I’ve made a bunch of cakes from scratch and some are worth it and some are really not because box cake mix for a funfetti cake, for example, is usually better and 1/102840th the work. However, this banana cake would be hard to find in a ‘cheat’ alternative so I think that it makes it worth the ‘from scratch’ elements. Plus, it was delicious!
1 1/2 cups whole milk
1 T lemon juice
3/4 cup butter, softened at room temperature (let it come to room temperature on its own)
1 cup light brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
1 T vanilla extract
1 t kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups flour
3 ripe bananas (approximately 1 1/2 cups), mashed
Preheat oven to 325°F
Coat 2 9-inch round cake pans (or 3 8-inch round cake pans) with nonstick coconut oil spray (or whatever nonstick spray you typically use). I used a foam-spring cake pan so that the cake would easily come out of the pan. Set aside.
If your bananas are not ripe enough, you can puncture some holes in the peel with a fork and then wrap them in a paper towel and microwave them for 30 seconds.
Mash the bananas with a fork on a cutting board until they are totally soft and slimy looking.
In a medium bowl, combine the milk and lemon juice and set it aside.
In your electric mixer with a large bowl and fitted paddle attachment (linked below), beat the butter and both types of sugar on medium speed. Beat for 2 minutes.
Add in the vanilla, salt, eggs, and baking soda. Mix on medium speed until smooth.
Alternate adding in the flour and milk on low speed a 1/2 cup at a time (make sure to start and end with flour).
Add in the bananas and mix on low speed.
Split the batter evenly between the cake pans.
Bake for 35 minutes or until it passes the toothpick test (you stick the cake with a toothpick and it comes out clean). Rotate the cakes in the oven halfway through baking them.
Let the cakes cool in the pan for 15 minutes and then place them on a cooling rack to cool completely.
1.5 cups unsalted butter
1/3 t salt
5.5 cups sifted powdered sugar
7.5 t whole milk
1.5 t vanilla extract
In a bowl with a mixer and paddle attachment, beat the butter and salt on medium speed for 2 minutes.
Lower the speed to low & add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time. Best until all powdered sugar is incorporated.
Raise the speed to medium and add in the milk and vanilla extract. Beat for another 2 minutes.
Make sure that the cakes are completely cool before frosting them. Add a frosting layer between the 2 (or 3) cakes.
Garnish the cake.
1/3 cup shredded coconut
Sprigs of rosemary
Mini gingerbread house
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