Bavarian Banana Cake For You

A Bavarian Banana Cake or Boozy Booster Banana Cake as we lovingly call it!
I grew up four blocks, a short walk, from Kienow’s Bohemian Bakery.  Whenever we needed a last minute dessert, we’d pick up one of their Bavarian Banana Cakes and our guests would fuss over it with a big smile.  I even bought our wedding cake from them.  But, by the time our first wedding anniversary came around, Kienow’s doors were closed.  Permanently. 

Fortunately, the Oregonian soothed the angry community clamor by printing Kienow’s recipe for their Bavarian Banana Cake.  But, I never thought to make it until last March when My Pirate requested a Bavarian Banana Cake for his 40th birthday party.  I was determined to figure out my own version.

I started with Kienow’s recipe and played with it, using inspiration from New Season’s version, until I had a nice prototype down.  Then I shared it with my friends, the morning of a big fundraiser that we were throwing. We leaned against the kitchen counters sipping coffee and talked cake.   My friend Jill brilliantly suggested adding banana rum syrup to the cooling cake.  And it was the finishing touch that I was looking for.  Thanks Jill!

I made this cake for four events this past year.  And then this past Friday, I baked another one for Maya’s vet, Dr. Hill and the staff, at Companion Pet Clinic.  I wanted to say thank you for all the care that they gave Maya and me during her illness, when I went to go pick up her ashes.  So, I gave them a cake made with love and care.  They hugged me and a stranger held my hand while I waited for them to bring Maya’s ashes to me.   And through my tears, I remembered how Maya used to come running at the snap of a banana peel and how she loved sampling my Bavarian Banana Cake. 

Bavarian Banana Cake 
Or Boozy Booster Banana Cake as we all lovingly call it.  
Based on Kienows cake with inspirational touches from Jill and New Seasons 
Cook: 17-20 minutes     Oven:  350 degree  

Stage 1:  The Cake

Banana Cake
2 cups cake flour, sifted
1 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
½ cup corn oil
1 cup ripe bananas, mashed (approximately 3 bananas)
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 egg yolks

In a large bowl, whisk together sifted cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add corn oil, mashed bananas and vanilla.  Beat 1 minute in mixer.  Add buttermilk and egg yolks and beat another minute. Then make the meringue.

2 egg whites
1 teaspoon cream of tartar
½ cup granulated sugar

In a separate bowl, with clean beaters, beat egg whites on medium.  Add cream of tartar and while continuing to beat, add sugar gradually.   Then beat on high until a stiff meringue forms.  Fold the meringue gently into the cake batter until streaks just fade.

Pour cake batter into a jelly cake pan (large baking sheet with a high edge) that is buttered with the bottom lined with parchment paper and then floured.  Bake in a 350 degree oven until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean, about 17-20 minutes.  It takes 17 minutes in my oven.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pan on a cooling rack.  Then, flip it out onto a cutting board. Stab the cake with a toothpick or bamboo skewer and brush and spoon banana rum syrup over the surface of the cake.  Let cake cool for one hour.

Variation--for a subtle candy crunch, place the cake in the fridge after spooning on the syrup to allow the syrup to harden.

Stage 2: The syrup 

Banana rum syrup
¼ cup banana rum or another kind of rum
¼ granulated sugar

Pour sugar and rum into a small saucepan over medium heat.  Stir and simmer until it thickens. Then spoon onto cooling cake.

Stage 3:  Assembling the Cake

Whipped cream frosting--this is my knock off recipe based on New Seasons' banana cake
2 cups whipping cream--use pasteurized not ultra pasteurized for the best flavor
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup powdered sugar--sifted first to prevent lumps
1/3 to ½ cup mascarpone or 4 T. crème fraiche--my tasters preferred the mascarpone

Sift powdered sugar into a bowl and set aside.  In a large chilled bowl, whip cream and mascarpone gradually adding the powdered sugar and vanilla. Whip ingredients together to firm peaks.  

Banana filling
3 bananas, thinly sliced

Putting it together
Cut the outside edges off of the cake to clean it up.  Then cut the cake into thirds and then those thirds into half.  Makes two cakes with three layers.

Place one layer on a plate. Fill a pastry bag with a large star tip with frosting and pipe frosting onto flat surface of cake and top it with a single layer of banana slices.  Place another layer of cake on top and repeat.  Place the third layer of cake on top and pipe frosting into straight lines or stars. Refrigerate.  It tastes best when it rests in the fridge for a few hours up to overnight. Then serve.

Tip:  I deliver my cakes in cake boxes that I get at New Seasons grocery store for fifty cents and sometimes for free.