Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Layered Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Chocolate Ganache

182This banana bread is a recipe that’s a tradition in the Jackson family, although there’s some disagreement among the kids as to which parent made the bread, often, from the bananas sitting too long on the countertop. Everyone agrees that credit for the recipe goes to an unnamed old friend, but the making of it is the important part. The re-told and confused lore attached to this recipe is probably the second best reason to keep it around. 098

The first being its true banana flavor.096

Stories from my husband’s childhood on Moana Street have a similar feel to the vintage-colored photographs of kids with bowl cuts and chubby faces and smiles that have half-given up on the moment and say “Last picture, Mom.” Even the Hawaiian foliage in the background takes on an orange tone, emphasizing its surreal quality.

I like the version of the story that says that Jake’s dad made this banana bread. In the short time I had knowing him I saw the matter-of-factness he took on when tackling a cooking assignment. He was as equally interested in following the right of the recipe as he was in spicing it up. If the recipe turned out well due to exactness or experimentation he would be pleased with his result and excitedly offer a piece to every person at the table, proving his usefulness in the kitchen. He was definitely one that would see the recipe as a story rather than his own. I can easily insert a piece of banana bread into this memory. So for me, it is his, and I will stick with that memory. Maybe now that it has been 6 years since his passing that thinking of him is similar to paging through those orange tinted photographs. A feeling of simpler times. A time when coming home from school meant a slice of banana bread. 099

I went ahead and reinvented the wheel, because the second my sis-in-law introduced me to this moist, chewy, banana-laden quick bread, I saw its true intention:


This should have been the cake at our wedding. It should have been an heirloom recipe rather than a fondant-covered, dry-crumbed centerpiece. Not as pretty, but definitely the kind of cake you would want smashed in your face. Definitely the kind of cake you would hang on to in your memory. Definitely the kind of cake you can pass on to your kids.

Because tasty doesn’t go out of style. No matter who cooks it up. 177191

Best Banana Bread made into a cake

  • 1 C butter
  • 1 C sugar
  • 1 C brown sugar
  • 12 bananas (mashed if not using a kitchen aid) (the riper the better)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 C flour (Jill said she loves half wheat here)
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • Optional: 3/4 C walnuts
  1. Preheat the oven to 325 degrees. Cream sugars and butter. Add eggs and mix again. Add in bananas and mix thoroughly. Add in dry ingredients and mix until thoroughly incorporated.
  2. If making a cake, divide batter between two prepared cake pans. Bake for 55 minutes.
  3. Cool cake completely on a rack. With a sharp serrated knife, cut each layer into two (creating 4 layers).

Peanut Butter Ganache

Heat 2 cups chocolate chips (dark or milk as desired), 1/4 Cup milk or cream, and 2/3 Cup peanut butter (natural) over a double boiler. Mix until combined and chocolate is melted. Remove from heat. Pour ganache in a thin layer on each section of cake as you assemble. It is not necessary to cover the whole cake with the ganache as it is strong tasting. This ganache is not stiff—just slightly fudgy to lend flavor to the rest of the cake. The cake is really delicious on its own, however, and maybe you’ll be glad to pretend it’s a healthy snack as banana bread.



Please Do Not Feed The Animals. said...

Mmmm, that looks wonderful. I have bookmarked it - my kids (and me) will love it.

Maryea {Happy Healthy Mama} said...

Wow, this looks amazing. I have always thought that the best banana bread was more cake-like.

Mariko said...

Animals: I hope so!
Maryea: It is. :) Regular banana bread is too dry. This won't disappoint.

Sandy - Everyday Southwest said...

OMG! This looks fabulous! You found the delicate balance of homey and perfection. Did you save me a piece?

Steph said...

I love your picture of the banana peels, I don't know why but it amde me smile. This cake has my name written all over it!!

Bekah said...

It looks delish. Ron would be proud.

Cakewhiz said...

The look of this cake with that chcocolatey, peanut buttery ganache has me drooling on my Saving this to try as soon as i can...hehhe :)

Belinda @zomppa said...

A multilayered cake of wonder!! I could eat the whole cake.

sara @ CaffeIna said...

That cake looks fantastic. I just make a banana bread. I should have instead tried this one!

ちびか〜ちゃん said...



Kate @ said...

Banana bread as a cake and then ganache of chocolate and PB?!? That's genius - I'm in love with this cake.

Torviewtoronto said...

delicious cake looks really good

briarrose said...

Yum....chocolate and bananas...always a wonderful combination.

lynn said...

i haven't even tried this and i think it'd be my favorite cake ever.

Mariko said...

Sandy: I definitely ate most of it myself. Whoops!
Steph: Thank you. I guess I'm into piles. That's what my house looks like anyway!
Sara: Save your bananas! Make excuses for repeats! I always repeat foods close together for some reason.

Meg Luby said...



this is, just automatically, my new favorite dessert. awesome! AWESOME!

thanks for posting!

Anonymous said...

I really like bananas, esp after they have been heated to the point they release their goody sugariness. But them in a dessert.. all the better.

= )

Damaris @Kitchen Corners said...

If tastespotting doesn't accept this post than they are ridiculous in every way shape and form. This cake looks perfect.

I wish I had met Ron. I wish I had met Jake as a kid and Chris and everyone else. I love good memories even when they are not my own.

Smiths said...

Love this post. There's not any left, is there? If it was your wedding cake you would have frozen a slice. Maybe I'll look through your freezer next time I'm there just in case :)

Jun Belen said...

My mouth waters as I read your post. Banana bread is good by itself but when you layer it with peanut butter and chocolate ganache you just took it to an entirely different level. I have to try this soon! And I'm looking forward to the banana bread in the Hilo Farmers Market when we visit the Big Isalnd in two weeks. Can't wait!!

Kristen said...

Oh. Yes. Definately. Yup. And I love the pic of the banana peels. You should make a print.

Lisa said...

Yum, bananas, chocolate, and peanut butter together as one in a cake. I like the way you think. I'm starting a new linky on my blog this Saturday called "Sweets for a Saturday," and I'd like to invite you to stop by if you have a chance and link this up.

Kurk said...

Sounds great. Maybe pair it with the new Banana Caramel Cinnamon rolls I made and breakfast is served.?.?

Tanvi@Sinfully Spicy said...

Some people do not like bananas in baking but me & my husband totally love it.Thanks for this recipe..I m gonna make this for my hubby nxt time I have stale bananas!You are a lovely baker Mariko! I just found your blog via twitter.So happy to follow you.

Prerna@IndianSimmer said...

Gosh this looks DIVINE!! The shot with the ganache dripping from the sides is Ah, SO yummy!! :-)

Mariko said...

Hmmm. 40min is not enough time, you're right. I stated 55 minutes although I just cook until done because I am incapable of setting a timer. I just check the middle. I cooked mine in 9 inch pans although it's possible my oven is hot. The recipe has no baking powder but there's no way that 2 tsp baking soda would cause that flavor.
I'm willing to test out the recipe again, but I did follow the directions. I certainly feel badly that yours turned out poorly when this recipe has been used many times by my in-laws with good results! I'm surprised by the problems you're describing.

chow and chatter said...

yum love all the bananas in this do you have a link for the eggplant recipe?

Marla said...

See you have proven that banana bread is indeed a cake! Wow, this is my kinda thing big time. Let's just say that layer cakes are the toughest food to keep my hands off of. Gorgeous with the ganache :)

Nippon Nin said...

Great job! It looks great!
I wish someone give me comment on my banana sticky buns too. Yet again it is not my recipe and I didn't even make it.

saltyseattle said...

extremely interesting technique! getting ideas...

Joyti said...

Definitely a keeper. A luxurious, comforting, decadent keeper. YUM!

Nammi said...

yumm, that looks delicious. Hi, came across your blog and found it quite interesting. am a mother of 1 who is getting a little fussy over food and also love tips on parenting and all. look forward to checking out your blog. :)

Maria B said...

Oh okay, I hate Banana with a passion but this looks delish, even to me...
Maybe, if I am extremely nice and can hold my breath for long enough to not smell the banana, I will make it for my friends during exam period. I think it would elevate me to godess status in their world :)

Brian Samuels Photography said...

I'm going to put my tongue back into my mouth now. Thanks for making me drool! ;-)

Jeanne said...

Wow! This looks so perfect! Peanut butter, banana, and chocolate are 3 of my favorite things. And with such beautiful memories, this recipe has got to be good. :)

Sips and Spoonfuls said...

Oh my gos...where have I been all these years....this banana cake looks divine divine divine....bookmarked for sure!! Love the site!

Eliana said...

This cake could seriously not look more gorgeous or delicious.

Kelly @ View along the way said...

I know I'm SO late to the game, but I bookmarked this page forever ago and finally made this cake tonight. AMAZING. I made it for my husband's birthday and he LOVED it. I'm pretty sure I just gained about 10 pounds, but it was worth every bite. :)

Mariko said...

I'm glad you made it. You're always welcome to the party. :)
Oh, come on. It's practically health food! Bananas!
Ha ha.
I know. It's not. But you're right. It's worth every bite. Lots of 'em.

Bakedit said...

Ok I agree with everyone that the photo looks awesome and the combination of flavours sounds great.
But... 12 bananas??
Wouldn't it just bake into a wet chewy pancake texture?
Also here in Australia we have plain flour or self raising flour. I never know which one to use when it comes to recipes from other countries. Surely a cake with 12 bananas would need a fair amount of raising agent. I'm a little confused on this one, but feel I need to try it out. Thanks for your help

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