Fresh banana layer in a chocolate cake?

Would like to create a variation on strawberry shortcake, using chocolate cake, whipped cream frosting, and a layer of fresh banana slices and whipped cream in the middle. My sister's wedding cake was a version of this, from a commercial bakery. Am concerned, based on reviews of similar recipes, that the bananas will shed water and cause the layers to slip. Or, that the whipped cream in the center will just "melt" into the cake. Alternative could be to keep the whipped cream frosting on the outside, but put the sliced bananas in the center with a ganache layer (instead of more whipped cream). Am also concerned about the banana slices browning, which perhaps is inevitable. Any advice is much appreciated! This will be for the shower of a banana-loving friend. Looked at recipes for banana cakes, but they mostly seemed like banana bread in cake form - not very tempting, really. Thanks in advance for any input!

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14 Comments

Lind June 10, 2018
I am writing because I came across you while I was searching for a cake that I ordered for my sons birthdays when he was a child. I wanted to re-create it because this bakery that my mother took me to as a kid, and then i continued on as an adult going there. International Bakery in Hawthorne. NJ. My faithful bakery to order a birthday cake and potato bread. Out of no where they closed down. I remember every year, i ordered chocolate cake, I asked for fresh fruit which I made it bananas and she always asked me what kind of filling. I repeated myself...bananas. She said, yes, but you need something to hold the bananas in to stop them from slipping. I asked whats my choices. She said anything I want. Vanilla, chocolate, plain custard. SO that was the day that started this 15 year trip to Hawthorne to order just that for my son. I never did ask him if he liked it...lol. It was my favorite cake so pood Chad , he had to have the same cake every year. But its amazing flavors. So use custard and slice bananas or vanilla pudding. They work.
 
Butternut September 25, 2011
Thanks, Chef Lydon. Great advice.
The cake was a hit! Used this recipe for the cake itself, and doubled it to get three layers:
http://allrecipes.com/recipe/chocolate-cupcakes-with-caramel-frosting/detail.aspx
Love this one because it's really a wacky cake/ "dump" cake (no creaming the butter and sugar, no eggs and super easy. Came out extremely moist.
Whipped cream went on beautifully; put on a crumb layer, then put the cake in the freezer for 20 minutes, then put on the rest of the frosting.
Thanks again to all of you: this great cake was really your idea!
 
Shuna L. September 25, 2011
For the future-- if one is not going to eat/serve a cake on the day or 12ish hours after one makes a cake with bananas one should "cook" said bananas beforehand. I like to saute bananas in a little brown sugar and butter to create banana layers in cakes. If one banana slice goes off, it will make whole cake go off. But pre-cooking insures more stability.
 
creamtea September 24, 2011
Wow, that's beautiful! I'm so glad the whipped cream recipe worked out for you.
 
drbabs September 24, 2011
gorgeous!
 
Butternut September 24, 2011
Thanks to everyone's great suggestions, used the Food 52 banana pudding above as a filling between three layers of chocolate cake, with the stabilized whipped cream frosting courtesy of Creamtea. Made a shelf in the top of each cake layer for the pudding to go into (wasn't too hard using a serrated edge knife) and it worked like a charm: no ooze out of the sides. Went with the raspberries on top to add some tart to all that sweet. Calling this the Alana Banana cake, after my friend who is the guest of honor!
Answer image
 
Sadassa_Ulna September 10, 2011
I found the tip for stabilizing whipped cream very interesting, and then I remembered another tip from thirshfeld in his recipe http://www.food52.com/recipes/5281_cherry_chocolate_malt_pudding_cups
I haven't tried either method but thought I would mention it since it popped into my brain. Your caked sounds great, good luck!
 
Butternut September 9, 2011
Thank you, Creamtea! SO helpful! The shower is at the end of this month. Will update with how the experiment(s) turned out!
 
creamtea September 9, 2011
Butternut:
to stabilize with cornstarch, from Susan G. Purdy, A Piece of Cake:
"For every 1 cup of chilled heavy cream to be whipped, add 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar and 1 teaspoon cornstarch. Combine the sugar and cornstarch in a small saucepan and gradually stir in 1/4 cup of heavy cream. Bring it to a boil, stirring constantly, and simmer for a few seconds until thickened. Remove from the heat and cool to room temperature. Whip remaining cream until it begins to thicken, just when the beater marks begin to show. Hand-whisk in the thickened cream mixture and whisk until stiff peaks form. "(based on an article by Rose Levy Beranbaum). She notes that cream approximately doubles in volume when whipped. She also states that it will hold its shape 24 hours and can be piped into shapes. I have used the method in the past; I may have piped it, but don't recall! These days I keep things simpler!

P.S. You may still be able to use the banana slices together with the pudding as the filler, since that recipe states that it can be made a few days in advance and there are banana slices in it. I have not tried the recipe personally, but I bet it would be great with the whipped cream and incorporating the cookie crumb garnish before serving.
 
Butternut September 9, 2011
AND, thank you for the wonderful recipe links. Both banana puddings sound pretty fabulous!
 
Butternut September 9, 2011
Thank you all SO much! All excellent suggestions, and clearly from bakers who know what they are doing. I so appreciate your thoughtfulness. If I can arrange the time, will make samples trying out your ideas: pudding layer instead of fresh bananas, anchoring fresh bananas in a ganache layer, etc. And Creamtea, thank you for your offer of the recipe for stabilized whipped cream. Have always wondered how the commercial bakeries get away with long-lasting whipped cream frosting!
 
creamtea September 9, 2011
What about putting a layer of banana pudding between the layers? This recipe seems to have garnered good reviews, and the directions mention that you can make it 3 days ahead: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Banana-Pudding-356830. Some reviewers have cut down on the sugar. If it were me, and I were including the fresh banana slices, I'd bake a sample well ahead of time (if you have time) to see how it works. You can spread whipped cream, fortified with cornstarch or gelatin, on the top and garnish with the wafer crumbs included in the recipe. I usually find that whipping the cream with confectioner's sugar is enough to stabilize it. If you like, I'll be happy to post instructions for cornstarch-stabilized whipped cream from Susan Purdy's A Piece of Cake, but am a bit pressed for time just now!
 
Esther P. September 9, 2011
Bananas seem to keep ok in the bottom of a banoffee pie... I think if you keep the air out you should be ok- it's the stability of the cake that seems the main issue to me. I think getting some ganache in somewhere would be a way to go- you could either put the bananas in the ganache to try and reduce slime based slippage, or maybe if you had sturdy ganache, you could frost the sides of the cake with it to hold everything in place? That way you could probably get away with a cream based filling. Another thought would somehow to take out part of the inner of the cake, bu still leave the rim so there's a small indented "shelf" for you to put the bananas and cream onto. I don't think you want to put a layer of cream, then bananas then more cream in the filling, as you'll run the risk of the weight of the banana slices sinking through the cream. Maybe ganache with the banana settled into it, and then cream on top?
 
drbabs September 9, 2011
Did your sister's cake actually have fresh banana slices? Because I agree--I think they would turn unappetizingly brown. What if you made a stiff banana pudding layer and put that between the two layers of chocolate cake? I'd frost it with chocolate ganache and serve whipped cream on the side. Here's an interesting-sounding banana pudding from Food52:
http://www.food52.com/recipes/9716_caramel_banana_pudding
 
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