Browned Butter Banana Layer Cake

My momma is a pro at making cakes. I, on the other hand, have never been that good. My mom’s cakes always rise beautifully, are cooked perfectly and taste delicious. Granted, sometimes my mom gets a little help from Betty Crocker, but I know for a fact that the woman can make a mean chocolate cake from scratch.

browned butter banana layer cake

My cakes, more often than not, are less than ideal. The edges get done before the middle, they’re gummy, or, my personal favorite, they get stuck in the pan. I still eat them (umm, hello? It’s cake.), and I’ve even figured out a way to make them passable for others.

browned butter banana layer cake

See, I’ve figured out an easy fix for a cake that’s a bit sunken in the middle. A generous layer of frosting along the entire cake to make it level! It disguises the small crater and is an excellent excuse to use extra frosting. Not that I’ve ever needed an excuse for that.

Would leveling the top off to the sunken part work too? Probably. But there’s no extra frosting involved in that. Go ahead, judge away.

browned butter banana layer cake

I did the exact same thing when I made this cake the first time. I used a springform pan for all the batter because I had yet to get 9-inch round cake pans. That one sure backfired. While the cake was delicious it was so sunken in the middle that there was easily an inch of height difference between the edge of the cake and the middle. That made for a lot of frosting. My recipe testers didn’t complain, but I knew I could do better.

And so this is better. This is a Browned Butter Banana Layer Cake. With Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting. It’s by no means perfect, but it doesn’t need to be. A moist (hate.that.word.eww) cake that’s a bit caramelly from a healthy dose of browned butter. It’s the heft of a good piece of banana bread that’s then smeared with a tangy and warm cream cheese frosting. Game changer. Game over.

browned butter banana layer cake

Browned Butter Banana Layer Cake 

2 1/2 cups flour

2 tsp. baking soda

1 tsp. baking powder

3/4 tsp. salt

1 tsp. cinnamon

1/4 tsp. nutmeg

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, browned and cooled

2 cups dark brown sugar

4 eggs, at room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla extract

1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 – 4)

1 recipe Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting, recipe follows

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour two 9-inch round cake pans and line with parchment paper, butter paper as well.

Whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, until thoroughly incorporated. Stir in vanilla. Add dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the sour cream, mixing thoroughly to combine. Gently stir in bananas.

Divide batter among pans and bake in preheated oven 30 – 35 minutes, or until cake just begins to pull away from the edge of the pan and a tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

Cool cakes on wire rack for 30 minutes before turning out and allowing to cool completely.

To frost: Level the top of one cake with a serated knife and spread with a thick layer of cream cheese frosting. Top with other cake layer. Coat entire cake in a light layer of frosting (this is what’s commonly known as a “crumb coat”), and put in fridge for 15 minutes to firm up. When cake has set, frost generously with remaining frosting.

Serve immediately or store cake lightly covered at room temperature for up to 3 days.

Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting 

3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter, softened to room temperature

1 8-oz. block cream cheese, softened to room temperature

2 tsp. vanilla extract

6 cups powdered sugar

large pinch salt

2 tsp. cinnamon

3 – 4 TBSP milk or heavy cream

Cream together butter and cream cheese until light. Add vanilla, powdered sugar, salt, and cinnamon and slowly begin to mix. Add in milk, one tablespoon at a time, until frosting is thick and creamy.

Leftover frosting can be stored in fridge for up to one week.

browned butter banana layer cake

Wait…can I play this game again?

Chocolate and Salted Caramel Sandwich Cookies

I have a bruise the size of a grapefruit on my shin. I’ve been bumping into the corners of walls. I missed a step going downstairs and felt like I was going to plummet to my doom for a split second.
Coming back home has thrown me a bit off kilter. I’m happy as can be to be back where I belong and away from school, but it’s taking some getting used to. My body is used to the dimensions of my apartment. It remembers the feel of the floors. The layout of my kitchen.

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Pecan Shortbread Crusted Browned Butter Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cinnamon Cream Cheese Frosting

I’m doing it. I’m getting one more pumpkin recipe in before it’s officially December, and therefore, officially wintertime.
I don’t know why there’s some kind of weird cultural taboo on pumpkin desserts after Thanksgiving, but I’m totally against it. I barely bake enough with pumpkin during autumn, to heck if I’m going to miss prime opportunities for treats that are warm and spicy and flavored with pumpkin.
I made these cupcakes a little more acceptable for this time of year. The “not quite winter but no longer fall” time. The “do I get a pumpkin spice or gingerbread latte?” time. The “my hands are too cold without gloves but too sweaty with them” time. You guys know what I’m talking about right? Anyone? Anyone? (“Bueller? Bueller?”)

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Peanut Butter S’mores Cups

This is it.

These s’mores cups are my last attempt to grasp hold of summer. To enjoy the fleeting heat and streaks of sun. To ignore the fact that it’s already September (woa) and already Labor Day (double woa).

I love fall. It is my favorite season. But I’m not quite ready for it. I want the boots and the sweaters and  the caramel spice and the falling leaves just as must as anyone else, but not right.this.minute.

I am done with work for the summer. I am putting offpacking for school. I am looking at reading lists and scavenging for used books. I am dragging my feet.

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Dark Chocolate Coffee Cupcakes with Marshmallow Coffee Buttercream

I get a lot of things from my dad. My brown eyes, olive skin, and “solid” build all come from him. My annoyingly obsessive attention to detail, dry sense of humor, and predisposition to mornings go to his credit too. While some of the traits I have gotten from him are genetic, I’ve also picked up a lot of learned behaviors from him over the years. Since I was a little girl I’ve been watching him and studying him and mimicking him – it’s only natural that some of his habits and traits would eventually become mine. For better or worse.
There’s one thing he does though that I will just not do. Never, ever will I be okay with doing this. Never, EVER. It is a habit so disgusting, so repulsive I can barely bring myself to write it (I’m really making you want one of those cupcakes up there, aren’t I?).
My father reuses day-old coffee.
There. I said it. And may have gotten a little queasy.

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Chocolate Barbecue Sauce Cupcakes with Browned Butter Brown Sugar Frosting…and Honey Cream Cheese Frosting…and Barbecue Chocolate Ganache

I was shopping the other day. As I am prone to do. I was just browsing, looking for a few things for my apartment for next year. Walking into the briskly air-conditioned store, seeking a soap dish and refuge from the 90+ degree heat and the inevitable thigh sweat it brings (there’s a mental image no one needed), I was flabbergasted by the sight of fall and even winter décor lining the aisles.

I stood there, upper lip glistening with sweat, wondering how people could be preparing for the winter months already. Wasn’t it just the 4th of July a few weeks ago? Aren’t we in the throes of our umpteenth heat wave this year? Aren’t there still beaches to go to and tan lines to acquire?
And the kicker? Majority of the summer items were marked down by 50%, if not 75% or more! While that enabled me to nab an adorable plate for mere pennies, it did leave me with a sinking feeling that the seasons will change, no matter how hard I will them not too. August will follow July and leaves will change from green to gold. The thermometer will plummet from 97 to -17 and we will all be complaining about how cold it is instead of how hot it is (part of the human condition, I suppose).

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Peanut Butter Cupcakes with White Chocolate and Pretzel Mousse

Ok, I know I’m a journalism major and all but, can I just say that writing is hard. Like, really hard. Coming up with something great and witty and inspiring? One of the most painstaking experiences ever. Not to mention the editing and rewriting and editing and rewriting. And making it coherent? Word putting together be hard stuff.
And, because I’m neurotic and can never make things easy on myself, I am also very particular about whereI write. I can’t write just anywhere, oh no, that is SO not going to fly. Like my room? Nope, not going to happen. Too cramped, too stuffy. The place where I set up my laptop has got to be perfect if I am going to attempt to write.

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Toffee Bars with Browned Butter Frosting

I like to think I’m somewhat up on trends. I love riding boots, long sweaters, and scarves. I get that. But sometimes I think I missed the boat on certain trends. Like furry vests (really?), platform heels (ouch!), or hipster anything (uhh, no thanks.). But, a trend I do get is browned butter. Oh man, do I get browned butter. 
Yes, there are food trends too. Think fad diets, the cupcake craze, and new-fangled kitchen gadgets. All trends. And so is sweet, nutty, and oh-so-addicting browned butter. I have seen it all over food blogs and Pinterest, from cookies to pasta.
Somewhere I didn’t expect to see it was my great grandma’s recipe notebook, but there it was! Some 70 plus years ahead of the times, my great grandma was putting browned butter in her desserts. So, it’s not surprising why I’m so drawn to browned butter. It’s in my blood!

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Puppy Chow Cupcakes and a Blogiversary!

366 days. That’s how long I’ve had this blog. One year and one day. That’s a long time.
I had initially wanted to do this post yesterday, on my actual blogiversary. But I just couldn’t get myself to sit down and right. I tried, as I’ve done so many times before, but the words just wouldn’t come. I wasn’t going to force them to, I know that doesn’t work.
We can just consider these cupcakes fashionably late – and completely delicious! I thought of them ages ago while I was sitting in class (my tuition money hard at work right there). I have always had a soft spot in my stomach heart for puppy chow. When my mom made it when my sisters and I were little it was like a holiday, a day that should have been nationally recognized! We would eat cup after cup of it, watching the layer of powdered sugar get thicker and thicker on our fingers, refusing to lick them clean until our mom cut us off from the goods.

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Chewy Ginger Cookies with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting

I know, I know another cookie post. Just who do I think I am? But, just go with me for a second on this, ok?
Think about it, warm, spicy cookies with just the right amount of chew. A little bit of heat from ginger and molasses that is mellowed out by creamy, cool lemon. Bliss. And festive for the holidays too! Are my not entirely necessary italics bothersome yet?
Cute, and tasty, but could be cuter, and tastier.
I made these little guys this weekend as some of the treats for my dorm’s Halloween party Saturday. I also made pumpkin bars, triple dark chocolate cupcakes, caramel corn, and these pumpkin pecan salted caramel blondies that were so good I couldn’t even snap pictures before they were all gone. 
Guess I’ll just have to make them again.

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