This banana cake was sooooo good! I usually make banana bread from overripe bananas, but this time I wanted to try something a little more special. But first, let me tell you a little bit about where my inspiration came from.
Last year I took a Momofuku cake-making class at their bakery in Brooklyn, so I was not too daunted by the prospect of making my own.
When you arrive at the class, the cake is already baked for you and the instructor shows you the proper method and techniques for assembly. The bottom two cake layers are soaked in milk, then topped with filling, crunch, and frosting. I made the chocolate malt cake that day and it was freaking amazing. The best part is that they tell you to “try” all the ingredients as you go….did I eat a spoonful of frosting crammed with milk crumbs? Yes, yes I did.
I piled as many marshmallows, chocolate “crumbs” and fudge sauce on top as I possibly could! I think I even took another container home with more marshmallows and crumbs….
A few years ago, my cousin gave me the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook. There is a banana layer cake in the book, which incorporates banana cream, hazelnut crunch, and hazelnut frosting. I knew I wanted to use cream cheese frosting, and I didn’t have hazelnuts on hand, so I did some improvising.
I did use the banana cake recipe from the book, but I omitted the banana extract. If I’ve learned anything from the Great British Bake Off, it’s never to use banana extract! Luckily my bananas were very brown and overripe so the flavor still came through.
I made walnut brittle by using the Momofuku book method. Essentially, you melt a cup of sugar, mix it with walnuts (or any nut of your choice), and let the mixture cool on a silpat sheet. Once it had hardened, I broke it into chunks and blended it in my mini food processor.
I also had leftover graham crust from when I made the Momofuku Carrot Layer Cake the week before. Can you tell I was going through a cake phase?
Here is the carrot cake by the way:
For the cream cheese frosting, I used my go-to recipe. It’s stiff enough to keep it’s shape but not overly sweet.
When it came time to assemble, I used a 6-inch cake ring to cut 2 full circles out of the cake. For the bottom layer, you take the cake scraps and mash them all together. Using a pastry brush, I soaked the bottom cake layer in milk. I dropped a huge dollop of cream cheese frosting on top and spread it out with the back of a spoon. On top of this I sprinkled the crushed walnut brittle and graham crust. Repeat with cake layer 2. The top layer (the prettiest one) I topped with the remaining cream cheese frosting and sprinkled the brittle and graham crust.
The instructions in the book tell you to freeze the cake for 12 hours…..but I couldn’t wait. I did leave it in for about 3 hours before sneaking a slice, but I do think it would benefit from the full freeze.
This cake was awesome. The brittle had this kind of burnt sugar flavor that added depth to the overall sweet cake. I also love me some graham cracker crust, so the sprinkling of it throughout the cake was really yummy. The cake itself was super moist. Everything just came together so nicely and I was very happy with the final result.
- 85 grams butter room temperature
- 200 grams sugar (1 cup)
- 110 grams buttermilk (1/2 cup)
- 20 grams grapeseed oil (2 Tbs)
- 225 grams very ripe bananas 2
- 225 grams flour (1 1/3 cups)
- 3 grams baking powder (3/4 tsp)
- 3 grams baking soda (1/2 tsp)
- 2 grams kosher salt (1/2 tsp)
- 4 oz butter room temperature
- 4 oz cream cheese room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups powdered sugar
- 1 Tbs vanilla extract
- 190 grams graham cracker crumbs (1 1/2 cups)
- 20 grams milk powder (1/4 cup)
- 25 grams sugar (2 Tbs)
- 3 grams kosher salt (3/4 tsp)
- 55 grams butter melted (4 Tbs, or 1/2 stick)
- 55 grams heavy cream (1/4 cup)
Cream Cheese Frosting
- Heat oven to 325 F.
- Mix butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium-high for 2-3 minutes. Add the egg and mix on med-high for 2-3 minutes.
- Stream in the buttermilk and oil on low speed. Increase the mixer to med-high for 5-6 minutes until the batter is completely homogeneous.
- On low speed, add the bananas and mix for 45-60 seconds.
- Still on low speed, add flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix for 45-60 seconds until the batter just comes together.
- Spread the batter in a quarter sheet pan lined with parchment paper and bake for 25-30 minutes. The cake is done when it bounces back when you gently poke it. The center should no longer be jiggly. Cool on a wire rack.
- Mix butter and cream cheese until completely mixed. Add vanilla and beat to incorporate. Slowly add powdered sugar.
- Toss graham crumbs, milk powder, sugar and salt in a medium bowl to evenly distribute.
- Whisk butter and heavy cream together. Add to the dry ingredients and toss to evenly distribute. It should turn into a bunch of small clusters. Store in an airtight container. It will keep for 1 week at room temperature or 1 month in the fridge or freezer.
- Melt sugar over low heat until it turns an amber brown color. Pour over walnuts on a silpat lined cookie sheet and let cool. Once cool, break into pieces and pulse in a food processor.
- Line a sheet pan with parchment or silpat. Using a 6-inch cake ring, cut 2 circles from the cooled cake. Clean the cake ring and place on sheet pan. Line the inside of the cake ring with a strip of acetate.
- Use the cake scraps to fill in the cake ring to create the bottom layer of cake. Using a pastry brush, soak the cake layer with milk.
- Divide frosting into thirds. Spread one third of the frosting onto the cake. Top with graham cracker crumbs and walnut brittle.
- Place another cut round of cake on top. Repeat frosting, crust and brittle layer. Top with final round (use the best looking one) and spread remaining frosting on top.
- Freeze for 12 hours. Remove from freezer 2-3 hours before you want to enjoy it.