In my youth when I was in the cub scouts we used to have a special ritual at our monthly pack meetings.  Each month one of the mothers was asked to bake a cake and one of the fathers was designated as Mr. X.  During the social period before the meeting the cub scouts of the pack were supposed to go around and shake everyone’s hand and talk to them.  It was all designed to teach us social skills and politeness.  During the meeting, the identity of Mr. X was revealed and he would announce who was the person who had shaken his hand the nth time.  The lucky cub scout who shook Mr. X’s hand the correct time won the cake.  I will never forget the first time I was the lucky winner.  That month, the special cub scout mom had baked a banana cake.  It was a marvelous affair to my young eyes.   The cake seemed enormous.  It was three layers of lucious banana cake filled and frosted with soft rich chocolate frosting.  I couldn’t wait to get it home and have a piece after the meeting.  I was smitten with that cake and begged my own mother to make it all the time after that.  Thus began my love affair with banana cake.  Imagine my excitement when I saw this weeks recipe.  I couldn’t wait to get started.

This is a much more sophisticated recipe than the old fashioned banana cake from my childhood but it is every bit as delicious and oh what memories it brought back.  The recipe is not very complicated.  Bananas and creme fraiche are mixed in a food processor until smooth and then eggs, lemon zest and vanilla are added and processed until smooth.  I do have to admit that I found using the food processor a little unnecessary.  This could easily have been done in the mixer and saved the step of having to drag out and then clean the food processor.

Flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt are whisked together and set aside.  The banana mixture is put into the work bowl of a stand mixer and sugar is beaten in and then vegetable oil.  The flour mixture is then sifted over the egg mixture and beaten in until combined.  The batter is scraped into a prepared pan and baked.  Mine baked for 30 minutes at 325 degress in my convection oven.

The baked cake is then cooled on a rack for 10 minutes and then unmolded and cooled completely. 

The frosting is delicious and very easy to prepare.  White chocolate is melted and then left to cool.  Cream cheese, butter and creme fraiche are mixed in the food processor.  Then the melted white chocolate and almond extract are added and processed until smooth.  Again, this could easily be done with the electric mixer.  The recipe calls for just swirling the frosting on top of the layer and leaving the sides unadored but I chose to spruce it up just a bit by frosting the entire layer and adding sliced bananas and sliced almonds to the top.  I have often complained that I found Rose’s frostings too soft and this is no exception.  It was very soft and I had a difficult time icing the cake as you can see from the pictures it didn’t want to stay on or cover the sides of the cake.  I did a crumb coat and chilled it first and still had difficulty frosting and piping this icing.  That being said, the instructions did say to just swirl it on the top so I will say that it is my fault for not following the directions.  This frosting is delicious and certainly worth making again and following the directions.

Here’s to those fond childhood memories.

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