I call this a moist banana cake recipe because that is exactly what this banana cake recipe yields - a superbly moist and delicious banana cake.
I paired the cake with cream cheese frosting and used fresh ripe banana slices to decorate. The banana slices were dipped in lemon juice before they were arranged on the cake so that they do not turn color. The last thing you want to happen to the cake is for it to look unpleasant with banana slices that has changed color, so dipping them in lemon juice helps to keep them in their fresh state. Plus lemon juice goes pretty well with cream cheese frosting as they are both on the tangy taste side, so its quite a plus point.
In case you are wondering what is it about this recipe that makes it so moist, well, the answer lies in the extra step I take after baking the cake that is to refrigerate the cake while it is still warm for a good 12 hours before frosting it. So the trick to the moistness of this cake, other than the buttermilk and generous amount of mashed bananas I add to the batter is the refrigeration while the cake is still warm.
Refrigeration does not mean you can just toss the layers into the fridge and take them out 12 hours later. The cakes need to be wrapped tightly in cling wrap so that they do not dry out in the fridge. Place them without proper wrapping and you will end up with very dry banana cake.
As for the ingredients, I used self raising flour and added both baking powder and baking soda to help the cake rise well. I also added a pinch of salt to the cake as I do for all my cakes and cookies. The salt really makes a difference to the cake, so its really a must in my cakes.
Other than the common ingredients typically used for cakes, this cake being a banana cake has bananas as one of its main ingredients. For best results, choose bananas that are fully ripe. Not only are they easier to be mashed, they taste so much better too. The other point I wish to mention about the bananas in this recipe is the fact that bananas can vary quite substantially in size - at least where I come from. I live in Malaysia and here, we get a lot of varieties of bananas. And with each variety, the taste differs slightly and some differ significantly in sizes, sometimes up to 3 times in size. Which is why, in my recipe below, instead of mentioning the amount of bananas to be used by the number of the fruit, I chose to mention by their weight. That way, the amount of banana that gets added to the cake can be kept to a perfect consistency every single time.
The other point about this cake is that while most banana cakes use plain white castor sugar, I have chosen to use brown sugar. Brown sugar gives the cake a tinge of molasses like taste that adds more depth in flavor to the cake and is definitely a better choice compared to plain white castor sugar.
Banana cakes go really well with cream cheese frosting and that is exactly what I chose to pair my cake with. I made the cream cheese frosting with 300 grams of icing sugar and 120 grams of both cream cheese and shortening, the exact same quantity I have listed in my cream cheese frosting recipe page here. I used this quantity to sandwich 3 layers of 5-inches round cakes and also to cover the top and sides of the cake. The amount of icing I used in between the cake layers was pretty thin (we love it that way) and so were the sides. So the frosting made in the quantity I mentioned above was just nice for me to fill and cover my cake. If you prefer a more generous amount of icing for your cake, you would need to increase the quantity accordingly.
And I chose to use a very simple palette knife swirl pattern to decorate my banana cake and added lemon juice dipped banana slices randomly on the cake for deco. This was the first time I tried using fresh bananas to decorate a cake and the lemon juice really helped the slices keep their pretty yellow shades without turning brown at all. Since the cake had fresh banana slices on it, I kept the left overs in the fridge and 2 days later, the banana slices were still yellow and fresh albeit slightly drier. And cake off course, remained moist and delicious.
Here is the full recipe for my moist banana cake:
170g self raising flour
140g soft brown sugar
1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
200g ripe bananas (mashed)
1/2 tsp vanilla essence
Fresh banana slices
Happy baking :)
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