1) This is definitely banana cake, not banana bread. However, you could easily leave the frosting off and enjoy the cake as is.
2) As I mentioned above, I made this for a potluck and wanted easy transport and serving, so I made a 9x13. However, the cake is moist and dense and could easily be made into a round cake with frosting on the top or made into two layers with frosting in between and and top/sides, with a myriad of decorative toppings (see suggestion #4 & 5).
3) This cake could also make yummy cupcakes.
4) Toppings: if cream cheese frosting isn't for you, think about one of the following~ chocolate ganache, fresh sliced bananas, whipped topping with Nilla Wafers, caramelized bananas with rum sauce, or strawberries.
5) The cake itself can also be decorated simply for a weekday dessert or much more fancy. If you choose to make a round and frosted cake, chopped walnuts covering the side, spiral bananas on tops, and even fondant would all make for a beautiful presentation.
Adapted from Rhonda J.
1 1/2 cups ripe bananas, mashed
2 teaspoons lemon juice
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 3/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
1 1/2 cups light buttermilk
1/2 cup light butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package 1/3 less fat cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan or line pan with parchment paper and spray lightly with cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix mashed banana with lemon juice. In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda, and salt. In a large bowl, cream 3/4 cup butter and 1 3/4 cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time and then add vanilla. Beat in the flour mixture alternating with buttermilk. Stir in banana mixture. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for one hour ten minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from oven and place directly into freezer for 45 minutes.*
For the frosting, cream the butter and cream cheese until smooth. Beat in vanilla. Add sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating on low speed until combined. Beat on high speed until frosting is smooth. Spread on cooled cake. Garnish as desired.
*I did this with this cake. However, the next time I make it, if I use circular pans, I plan to alter my approach slightly. The idea behind "freezing" the cake to keep it moist it that steam escapes from the cake while it is cooling on the wire rack. Placing it in the freezer traps the steam and keeps the cake moist. However, it is difficult to cover a cake and pan that just came out of the oven prior to putting it in the freezer, so some steam will still be escaping. You an also try removing your cake from the pan as soon as you can without burning your fingers, wrapping it in plastic wrap and then putting it in the freezer. This may be easier if you use parchment paper to line your pan. If you are using a metal pan, wait 5-10 minutes, remove the cake, wrap, and freeze.
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (printable link)