Banana Layer Cake

This is another recipe with little information, and does not include a baking temperature or time. I believe this falls back again on a cook’s knowledge. So often I find vintage recipes that don’t include these pieces of information and I think women just knew based on their experience. Of course, modern women are not full time housewives for the most part, so we don’t bake cakes every day or even every week. We have modern conveniences like cake mixes to rely on and we don’t have to remember optimal baking temperatures because for the most part recipes and mixes have the information printed out for us. I suppose a time when girls attended trade school and home economics was a popular class in school, the knowledge such as the optimal temperature to bake a round cake vs a loaf cake might have been easily accessible or just known. (By the way, I don’t know either so don’t worry!)

Banana Layer Cake

Cream 1/2 cup butter, add 1 1/2 cups sugar, mix well, stir in 2 egg yolks. Sift 2 cups of cake flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon salt three times. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon soda in 1/2 cup sour milk, add alternately to mixture. Add 1 cup mashed bananas and lastly fold in 2 stiffly beaten egg whites.


There’s a lot to unpack there! Let’s reframe it.

Banana Layer Cake

1/2 cup butter

1 1/2 cup sugar

2 eggs, separated, whites stiffly beaten

2 cups cake flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 cup sour milk

1 cup mashed bananas

Cream butter and sugar well. Stir in egg yolks. Sift flour, baking powder and salt. (Modern flour is less likely to clump, so you don’t have to do it three times) Dissolve baking soda in sour milk. Add flour and milk mixtures to butter mixture a little bit at a time, alternating between flour and milk. Make sure it is all combined well. Add the mashed bananas. Finally add the stiffly beaten egg whites and gently combine, being careful not to knock out any loft.

Pour into two greased 8″ round cake pans. (Or more depending on how much batter, I have not made this yet! Fill them half full.) Bake at 350º 30-35 minutes, checking for doneness with a toothpick. When the toothpick comes out clean the cake is done. Set on racks to cool, and turn out of the pans after 10-15 minutes. Allow to cool completely before moving on.

Make a filling – vanilla icing or even a cream cheese icing would be nice

When cakes are completely cool, split them in half to make four layers. Put a dab of icing on the cake plate, then a layer of cake, then a layer of icing, then a layer of cake, etc. until all layers are stacked. Ice the top and sides if enough icing remains. Bonus points, add some chopped nuts on top.

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