Serious Eats: Recipes

Peanut Butter-Banana Cake

[Photograph: Anna Markow]

If you like sticky sweet all-American flavors, this is the dessert for you. It's a little bit of work to put together but it will definitely impress and it makes a great birthday cake.

If you're not a pro at cake decorating (I'm a pastry professional but cake decorating is far from my forte), feel free to frost loose and messy. There's nothing wrong with this cake coming out looking more like a baked Alaska.

Note: I know some people think using a sheet pan for a layer cake is a hassle, but this cake overbakes easily and cannot be baked in a tall single cake pan (trust me, I tried). You'll have a lot of scraps but I've never had a problem finding people to make them disappear. You should also wait until as close to serving time as possible to frost the cake and add the brittle, if using. The frosting has the potential to weep if kept too long in the refrigerator and the brittle will become sticky and lose its crunchiness. Cooked cake can be made ahead and stored tightly wrapped in the refrigerator for up to a day before frosting.

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About the Author: Anna Markow is a pastry chef obsessed with doing things that no one else does and giving unusual ingredients their time to shine. You can follow her sometimes-pastry-related thoughts on Twitter @VerySmallAnna.

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