What’s Cooking Wednesday: Louise’s Banana Cake (Moistest Banana Cake Ever)

Since March has again turned colder and since I just happened to have some overripe bananas laying around, I decided to do some baking yesterday.

Wait, are you suggesting that I purposely didn’t eat those bananas the past few days just so I could make Louise’s Banana Cake?

Oh, dear blog readers, you know me too well.

So, as mentioned, this week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday is Louise’s Banana Cake. Perhaps you remember that my mom’s name is Mary, and my grandmother was Paulina/Pauline; if so, maybe you’re wondering who this Louise character is.

Louise was my grandmother’s neighbor and “good buddy,” as she always said, whose family surely has no idea that her legacy lives on in my family in the form of an old, tattered recipe.

Louise's Banana Cake Original Recipe

Yes, it’s that good. In fact, it’s my second favorite cake of all time, after only the chocolate one I shared with you last month.

When writing this post, I remembered that I actually have some old family photos in an album here, and lo and behold, there is one of my grandmother (left) and Louise lounging about in what was at the time our half of the backyard; my family now has the whole thing (without the dividing fence) because after the whole row of houses burned down in 1971–stopping at our house–Louise’s family chose not to rebuild on the same spot; my grandparents bought the entire lot and built the house that I and my brother grew up in and where my father now lives. Check out that car in the background y’all!

My grandmother and Louise of Banana Cake fame in our backyard

Ahem, right. The recipe.

It’s for an ordinary 13 x 9 pan, but this time I made muffins and a loaf (looks like bread but tastes like cake!).

My mom does a fabulous thing with this cake for special occasions–makes a whipped cream icing (recipe also below) and then does a layer cake, putting the whipped cream and fresh banana slices in the middle and then whipped cream, banana slices, and maraschino cherries on top with a sprinkling of walnut shavings. Yum!

For those of you in Italy, you can safely make the following substitutions: (1) 225 grams of butter instead of shortening; and (2) one teaspoon of “lievito vaniglinato per dolci” in place of the baking powder and vanilla extract.

Louise’s Banana Cake

Banana cupcake waiting for its espresso

1 c mashed bananas (2 medium, overripe)

1 1/2 c sugar
1 c vegetable shortening

3 eggs

3 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 c sour milk (add 2 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar to sour it)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 c chopped nuts (optional)

1. Mash bananas and set aside.

2. Mix together sugar and shortening, and then add eggs and beat until pale yellow.

3. Mix together the dry ingredients, and then add them to the sugar/shortening mixture, alternating with sour milk and vanilla. Batter will be thick.

4. Add bananas and the nuts if you’re using them, and beat until blended.

5. Pour or spoon into your baking vessel of choice and bake at 325°F (162°C). If baking a 13 x9 cake, it should take about 45 minutes, but check progress after a half hour or so. Muffins and loaf pans will take less time, so remove when the tops springs back from the touch and/or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Whipped Cream Icing

1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla

Whip (on high speed) until stiff peaks form.

Banana cupcake: Nom nom nom

Buon appetito!

28 Beans of Wisdom to “What’s Cooking Wednesday: Louise’s Banana Cake (Moistest Banana Cake Ever)”
  1. Ms Adventures in Italy
    03.21.2007

    I love the old pictures…there’s a sort of innocence in them that I feel modern cameras can’t capture – maybe they “see” too much in color?

    That cake is making me hungry.

  2. Susan in Italy
    03.21.2007

    Pretty picture! I love those old recipes hand-written and dog-eared. My mother-in-law has a book full of recipes hand-written in Greek! I won’t be cooking from that very soon.

  3. The Daily Rant
    03.21.2007

    Thank you for recently stopping by my blog and thanks for this fantastic recipe!! I love banana bread, so banana cake has got to be delish!!! The best part for me, was the story behind the recipe and the cool picture of your Grandmother hangin’ out with Louise. Can’t wait to get somewhere that I can bake this!! (no stove in the truck! lol)

  4. Fran
    03.21.2007

    I am wanting me some Banana Cake now!!! Thank you for the background information and the pictures. I am going to print out the post and put the whole thing in my recipe book so I can always remember Louise!

  5. Wendy
    03.21.2007

    Reading your blog almost always makes me hungry! Love that old photo!

  6. Giulia
    03.21.2007

    I love banana flavored anything! One of my favorites is banana nut bread. I see you made the nuts optional in your recipe. Makes sense with so many more people having allergies to nuts these days! Is there any way you can post a conversion to grams for this recipe, so that I can make it here? Ummm, just thinking about making it, I can almost smell it baking in the oven…

  7. Judith in Umbria
    03.21.2007

    Great photos! I never seem to have enough ovverripe banananaananas, but I blow my neighbors away with zucchini bread when the gardens are spewing them out so fast they are dropping them on the doorstep at night. I even showed them how to grate and freeze them to make it all winter.
    Hope the SO is properly grateful for this talent of yours.

  8. Sharon
    03.21.2007

    Studebaker??

  9. nyc/caribbean ragazza
    03.21.2007

    Thank you for the great recipe. I loooove bananas.

    I enjoy making old family recipes. Good food and nice memories.

  10. goodthomas
    03.21.2007

    Boy, I am a sucker for those old black and white images. What a wonderful shot, the two women, in skirts, sitting on the ground, the beauty in their sun-kissed faces, the light, the fence, the car, the grass.

    Oh and the recipe looks amazing as well. Can you start doing “scratch and sniff” posts on Wednesdays?

  11. Kristen
    03.21.2007

    What a fantastic photo. Those were the good old days!
    The banana cake looks amazing as well. Great post!

  12. Rose
    03.21.2007

    That looks all sorts of moist and yummy and delicious.
    I’m going to be thinking of this cake all day! I might have to hide a couple bananas from C and M so I can make it!

  13. Michelle
    03.21.2007

    Thank you so much for posting this. I absolutely must make the banana cake for my husband. Banana type breads and cakes are his favorites. :)

  14. Shan
    03.21.2007

    I’m adding a copy of this to my recipe book. I love banana cake.

  15. Bongga Mom
    03.22.2007

    Yum, I love banana breads/cakes/muffins! And the “special” version with the whipped cream sounds even better…

  16. Nadine
    03.22.2007

    That looks yummy…I love all things banana. I love the picture of your grandmother and Louise what fun to have that to include in your post.

  17. anna
    03.22.2007

    That sounds and looks yummy. I wonder if there’s a banana cake recipe out there that includes nutella.

    My sister-in-law freezes her ripe bananas so she always has some on hand for banana cake.

  18. cheeky
    03.22.2007

    i’ll be over tomorrow afternoon, hope you have some cake waiting for me?
    looks “yummilicious” and i like the whipped cream idea.
    you’ve also made me go all sappy. i’m conjuring up old memories of my gran, old photos and old houses. ohhh, i love this stuff, it makes my heart grow. i live in a house that’s 100 yrs old, and there is a lot of history here, and memories galore.
    ciao bella . . .

  19. cheeky
    03.22.2007

    oh and i saw giulia asked for a conversion. i like this site. it’s rather straight forward, hope it helps.
    http://www.worldwidemetric.com/metcal.htm

  20. sognatrice
    03.22.2007

    Glad everyone enjoyed not only the recipe but the story (and photo) behind it; I couldn’t believe that I actually have a photo of the infamous Louise here with me when I really didn’t bring very much from home at all. Fran, I love that now you’ll always remember Louise as well!

    Ms A, you’re so right. I can’t really pinpoint it either, but it just may have something to do with being able to see too much, shots being too exacting (and exact). Old black and whites are the best.
    Giulia, I can’t imagine that I’ll be so inspired to convert everything to grams (sorry!)–I brought all my measuring stuff from America ;) BUT, I see that Cheeky has provided a link, and remember that Cristina of Expats has also put up a great conversion chart that’s really helpful.

    Judith, well, if you’re talking about my baking skills, those are completely lost on P, unfortunately. That along with my vast knowledge of American sports. Figures.

    Sharon, I have no idea what kind of car that is, although I’m sure my dad would if I remember to ask…for now, I’ll take your word for it!

    Anna, yes, I’ve heard of the frozen banana trick. Actually I have two in there now, but I haven’t actually used any from the freezer yet (obviously we need to eat more fresh bananas!). Thanks for the great tip!

  21. Peabody
    03.22.2007

    Banana cake and whipped cream frosting…yum. I almost always have cream cheese frosting to that would be a nice change of pace.

  22. tongue in cheek
    03.22.2007

    Your photos are good enough to eat! I can taste the banana cake with each of your words!

  23. Giulia
    03.23.2007

    “I brought all my measuring stuff from America ;)”

    You’re so smart for doing that. I’m still kicking myself in the a$$ for not doing that myself! :(

    Oh, and Cheeky, thank you so much for that link! It looks like a very handy site. It has now gone into my favorites! ;)

  24. Anonymous
    03.24.2007

    ..I made the Banana Cake recipe with chopped pecans…it was so delish that my husband had it for dinner..I also enjoy your blog and pictures…MAE in Tucson, Arizona

  25. sognatrice
    03.24.2007

    Peabody, thanks so much for stopping by! For those of you who don’t know about Peabody, if you like baking even a little bit, get over to her site STAT!

    TICheek, thank you much; your photos are always so lovely (as are Peabody’s), I’ve been inspired. For those who haven’t seen it, this is another site you *must* visit.

    MAE, thanks for coming back to say how the cake turned out; I’ve been known to substitute a big piece of this for a meal as well…and then go back for more ;)

  26. 09.17.2008

    is banana cake the same as banana bread…what is the difference. :)

    lucy’s last blog post..Hump Day

    The only difference I draw is the shape of the pan, but others might have a more exacting answer? Perhaps something in the texture? Personally, I use them interchangeably…so if I put this in a loaf pan, I’d call it banana bread (and I often do). YUM!

  27. 01.18.2011

    Yum! This recipe looks like another keeper….love the photo of your family. Hugs!

    Pam, I can’t describe how much I love this cake…hope you like it too!

  1. [...] something this year but I still love that banana and Nutella combination, so I turned to my trusty Louis... bleedingespresso.com/2008/01/banana-nutella-cake-for-world-nutella-day-2008.html

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