April 29, 2012

Banana Layer Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

banana birthday cake

As I mentioned in my recap of my birthday weekend, my twin sister Genevieve and I always look forward to making our own separate cakes for our shared birthday.  We each love choosing a recipe, making it our own, baking the cakes, and best of all, decorating them!  We also love that it's the only time of year when we can make a cake exactly designed for our own tastes (aka NO chocolate) without worrying about whether or not everyone else will like it!

This year, Gen made a delicious vegan pina colada cake, and I chose to make a banana layer cake with peanut butter cream cheese frosting on the inside and a whipped cream cheese frosting on the outside.

banana layer cake

Whenever the highly anticipated birthday-cake-choosing time of year rolls around, I always think that I want a banana cake but never have any bananas that could be ripe on time to bake it.  This year, I was well prepared ahead of time to ensure that I could finally make my banana birthday cake!

I wanted a three-layer banana cake (three seemed birthday-worthy) that somehow incorporated peanut butter, because peanut butter & banana sandwiches are one of my favourite things in the world.  I didn't want the peanut butter to be too overpowering though, so I chose to incorporate it into a cream cheese frosting that would go in between the cake layers.  I decided to frost the outside of the cake with a plain cream cheese frosting (because I hate buttercream frosting), then decorate it with the remaining peanut butter frosting and some banana chips.

banana layer cake

Cutting the first slice of a layer cake is always so nerve-wracking because you can't exactly take a sneak peek or taste before it's time to serve all your guests.  Fortunately, this cake not only looked impressive but tasted amazing too!

banana birthday cake 4

The cake itself had a very strong banana taste and was dense like banana bread, which is exactly what I wanted.  It's definitely not light and fluffy, so if that's what you're looking for then you might want to choose a different recipe!

The peanut butter taste was subtle but delicious whenever you got a bite of it.  It complemented the banana really nicely, as did the cream cheese frosting on the outside of the cake.  If you want a stronger peanut butter flavour, you might want to use the peanut butter frosting on the outside of the cake as well, or try adding peanut butter chips to the cake.

banana birthday cake

If you're a chocolate fan, you could try adding chocolate chips to the cake or even make it a peanut butter-chocolate-banana cake by adding a chocolate frosting to the inside of the cake and using the peanut butter frosting on the outside.  There are lots of variations you could try with this cake, but it's delicious as is too!

This served a lot of people and everyone who tried it really liked it.  I'm so happy I finally got to have my banana cake after all these years of wishing for it!  I don't want to have to wait another whole year before I can try another one, but since everyone else I make a cake for seems to request chocolate, it might be a while!  I'm actually baking a chocolate cake for my dad's birthday today, so I'll let you all know how that turns out!

banana birthday cake

Banana Layer Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Sour Cream Banana Cake Recipe

Adapted from Margaret Wehling via All Recipes and also seen on Food Mayhem

1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup packed brown sugar
1 cup granulated sugar
4 large eggs
4 large ripe bananas, mashed
1 cup sour cream (I used low-fat)
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 cups sifted cake flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350°F.  Spray three 9” round cake pans with non-stick baking spray and set aside.

Cream butter and sugars together with an electric mixer until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.  Add bananas, sour cream, and vanilla, and beat until just combined.

In a separate bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and salt.  Sift through a sieve at least once.  Add to the wet ingredients in three additions, folding with a spatula until just combined.

Pour the batter equally into the three prepared pans.  Weigh each pan to ensure that they are equal, and spread the batter in each pan as evenly as possible.  Bake in the preheated oven for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean, rotating pans halfway through.  Let cool in the pans for 10 minutes then invert onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.

Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from multiple sources

1 8-oz package cream cheese, at room temperature (I used reduced fat)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter
Pinch of salt
1 cup icing sugar

Beat the cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about one minute.  Add the butter and beat for another minute until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Add the peanut butter and pinch of salt and beat until combined.  Slowly add the icing sugar and mix on low until incorporated. Taste and add more icing sugar if it’s not sweet enough for your tastes.  Store in the refrigerator until ready to use, but remove from fridge at least 10 minutes before frosting so it is easier to spread.

Cream Cheese Frosting

Adapted from Bon Appetit via Epicurious

1 8-ounce package cream cheese, at room temperature (I used reduced fat)
1/3 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature 
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1-1/2 cups icing sugar, divided 
3/4 cup chilled heavy whipping cream

Beat cream cheese with an electric mixer until smooth, about one minute.  Add butter and beat for another minute until smooth.  Add vanilla and 3/4 cup icing sugar, and mix on low until smooth.

In a separate bowl, whisk whipping cream and remaining 3/4 cup icing sugar until medium-firm peaks form.  I did this by hand but you could use an electric mixer to make it easier.

Gently fold whipped cream into cream cheese mixture in 3 additions.  Cover and chill in the refrigerator for at least one hour.

Assembling the Cake
  1. Trim the tops of the cakes with a large serrated knife or cake leveler to level them, if necessary (I just took a bit off the top centers).  Place one cake layer on a cake stand or large plate and insert strips of wax paper or parchment paper underneath for easy clean-up later.
  2. Spread about 1 cup of peanut butter frosting over the cake.  Try to make it thicker around the edges.
  3. Top with second cake layer, then spread another 1 cup of peanut butter frosting on top, and top with third cake layer.  Make sure you're lining the cakes up evenly.  You should have a bit of leftover peanut butter cream cheese frosting which you can save for decorating the cake later.
  4. Spread a thin layer of cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of cake to form a crumb coat.  Refrigerate for at least 15 minutes. 
  5. Spread remaining cream cheese frosting over the top and sides of cake, smoothing it out as evenly as possible with a spatula.  Decorate with reserved peanut butter cream cheese frosting and banana chips, if desired.  Remove wax paper strips from base of cake.
making cake


  1. How lovely and unique. Glad to know I am not the only one who doesn't want chocolate cake! :)

  2. Really?  I'm glad my sister and I aren't the only ones either!  Everyone always thinks we're crazy!

  3. That is one impressive piece of cake! Thanks for the share, I love banana. 

  4. I loved every part of this - the extra banana-y cake, the peanut butter layer, and the cream cheese frosting (my favourite type of frosting too!) I'm glad we have similar tastes in cake so that I could enjoy two delicious cakes on our birthday :)

  5. This is so cool! I love that though you are twins you can still exhibit variety and what's the best of all, indirectly you always have 2 cakes for your every birthday, isn't that grand? ;) Looks like a really delightful recipe!

  6. Beautiful job!  I am not a big fan of bananas, but the peanut butter frosting sounds amazing.

  7. Haha yes, when we were little I didn't like having to always share presents, but having the same birthday does have its advantages, 2 cakes being one of them!

  8.  It is!  I'm sure it would be equally delicious on a piece of chocolate cake if you're a chocolate person :)

  9. Thank you, Tara!  Glad to find another banana lover, there don't seem to be as many out there as I thought!

  10. Wow. This looks insane! And I mean that in the best way possible. :D I love peanut butter and banana together, so putting them in a cake is perfect!

  11. Natalie, this cake is so amazing! You did a tremendous job on it. I could never craft something so beautiful! Thanks for sharing.

  12. Natalie, I love that you and your sister bake cakes for each other for your birthday.  That is so cute. Wish I had a twin to bake with! Your cake looks yummy!

  13. This cake looks so beautiful and delicious! I absolutely love your photographs. : )
    P.S. Looking forward to the vegetarian/vegan potluck. 

  14. I just read the title on tastespotting three times before I fully processed how incredible this was.

    Banana cake? With peanut butter? AND cream cheese frosting? It's too much for my brain to handle! I'm so making this!

  15. Okay so...for the record, I am inviting myself to your next birthday extravaganza. Because I'm SO not a chocolate cake lover either.  And if there's one thing better than a non-chocolate cake...it's TWO non-chocolate cakes.  And the only thing better than THAT...is if one of those non-chocolate cakes involves peanut butter.  Swoon!

  16. Banana cake with peanut butter cream cheese frosting? Sounds amazing!!! My birthday is in June if you'd like to send me a cake. *hehe*

  17.  Thanks so much!  I'm sure you could make something much more beautiful!

  18.  Thanks Kris!  We make separate cakes more for ourselves haha but we still share!

  19.  Thanks so much!  Unfortunately I won't be able to "attend" this potluck, but maybe the next one! :)

  20.  Haha thanks!  Let me know what you think if you make it!

  21. Haha you'd be very welcome as long as you bring one of your delicious looking desserts too!

  22. Haha I could barely carry this across the kitchen for fear of dropping it so not sure how well sending a cake would work out ;)


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