This is a quick Espresso Buttercream Banana Cake post in response to all the requests for the recipe in the Coffee Laughs & Giggles Facebook group I belong to. I posted “Husbands” Espresso Buttercream Banana cake last night and within minutes I had recipe requests. I’ve never had so many recipe requests!
I hope you enjoy this as much as my family does! It originated with Grandma, who probably had a banana getting ripe and some extra coffee in the bottom of the pot. It’s been a family favorite for decades! I’ve switched it up some to really amp up the coffee and banana flavors! I love it so much that I’ve turned the coffee/banana flavor combo into these scones. Anyone who knows me knows that I’ve been a coffee connoisseur since I was a child as mentioned here!
Espresso Buttercream Banana Cake
- 1 large mixing bowl
- standing mixer preferred, but hand mixer is fine
- rubber spatula, measuring spoons and cups
- 2 8" round cake pans
- cake strips optional, but I find they make the cakes bake more evenly and level
- parchment paper not necessary but helpful
- cooling racks
- long serrated knife to make the cake tops completely even/flat. optional
- lazy Susan or cake turntable, not necessary but it can make frosting easier.
- offset spatula I've used the flat side of a large chef knife before.
- cake board optional, but very helpful
- cake plate or stand
*Ingredients Listed Separately Below for Cake, Frosting and Banana Layer
- 1 box yellow cake mix Any boxed mix is fine, or you can use your favorite yellow cake recipe. I've even used French vanilla cake mix.
- ½ banana Medium – Large ripe, but firm, not overly ripened. (Full recipe will require 2 full bananas)
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup milk Substitute with half & half, yogurt, buttermilk, etc.
- ⅓ cup vegetable oil *Tip: for more yellow color, try adding a tbsp of red palm oil!
- 2 sticks butter *Room temperature. I use one stick salted, and one unsalted.
TIP: If you are new to frosting layer cakes, try increasing the recipe by half so you have more to work with.
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 1½ tbsp espresso powder *Caffeine Free? Use decaf instant coffee or instant chicory like this. Add more or less to taste. You can also substitute with strong (cool) coffee and reduce the amount of cream.
- 3 tbsp half & half Cream or milk. May need a few additional tbsps.
- 1½ bananas Medium – Large, firm but ripe. When ready to frost, slice in thin disks, under ¼"
- Preheat oven to 350°F and soak the cake strips if you are using them, in cold water.
- Cut two 8" circles of parchment to fit the bottoms of the cake pans.
- Place the parchment circles in the bottoms of the pans and spray the sides and parchment with a light coating of oil. (or grease and flour the pans)
- Wrap the soaked cake strips around the pans and fasten in place.
- Add half a banana in the large mixing bowl, add 1 tsp vanilla and mix until smooth.
- Add three eggs and mix enough to break up the eggs.
- Add the yellow cake mix, all of the oil and mix until the lumps are gone, about a minute on medium.
- Pour the cake mixture evenly into both cake pans.
- Bake in a 350°F oven for approximately 25-35 minutes, rotating the pans halfway through. Follow the baking directions on the cake mix box. The cake strips may add a few additional minutes to the baking time. Cakes are done when they are lightly browned on top and spring back when lightly tapped or a toothpick comes out clean.
- Allow cakes to cool in the pans for 15 minutes, before removing from pans to cooling racks.
Prepare the Espresso Buttercream
- Warm the cream just enough to dissolve the espresso powder. Set the mixture aside to cool. It should be very strong! Or brew a little very strong coffee, try for at least twice as strong as directed. Allow it to cool completely.
- Cream the butter for at least three minutes on medium or until fluffy.
- Add half of the powdered sugar and mix on low until stirred in, then whip on medium high for a minute.
- Add vanilla and remaining powdered sugar. Mix on low until stirred in then whip on medium high for a minute.
- Mix in about half of the espresso cream and whip on medium for a minute. Scrape the bowl down and mix again on high.
- Taste and add more of the espresso cream, or plain cream depending on your preference. Continue whipping on high speed and adding the espresso cream until its smooth and fluffy.
Assemble the Banana Filled Cake
- Cake Top: Decide if you want a flat top on your cake, or slightly rounded. If you want it flat, use a serrated knife to trim off any cake that may have mounded on top. Flip it over cut side down and set aside.
- Cake Bottom: You want a very flat bottom layer to lay the bananas on. If the bottom layer is not completely flat on it's top and bottom, the bananas will slip out of the cake! Trim it so that the top is completely flat.
- Place your bottom layer cake, trimmed side down on the cake board or plate/stand. If it's not completely flat, trim it some more!
- Add about ⅓ of the frosting and smooth it over the top to make the filling. Allow it to be a bit thick around the edges. For easy frosting, use a lazy Susan like this, turning it while you use the offset spatula to spread the frosting evenly.
- Peel and slice the bananas into thin, less than ¼" rounds so about ½ cm. Arrange the slices on top of the buttercream leaving about ½" around the perimeter. If they are too close to the edge they will slide out of the side of the cake.
- Gently lay the flat top layer onto the banana layer.
- Add about ⅔ of the remaining frosting to the top, and smooth it into an even layer, allowing the excess to run down the sides. Smooth the sides with the offset spatula.
- Add the remaining frosting to the sides of the cake, using the offset spatula to smooth it out.
- No decoration is really needed for this light coffee colored cake. I have used drizzled chocolate, and Ghiradelli white chocolate dipped raspberries, but strawberries, or a light dusting of cocoa powder or espresso powder would be nice too.
I hope you try this cake, and even experiment with the flavors! I’ve used French vanilla cake mix, butter cake mix, used leftover coffee and tried adding more banana to the cake mixture. I’d love to hear what you do to the recipe, or photos of your cakes!