Banana Cake – 1929

This recipe called to me the minute that I read it.  I love banana bread, but sometimes banana bread can be… well, just kind of boring.  So when Pa gave me the Falconer Home Bureau Unit cookbook from 1929 and I saw the recipe for Banana Cake, I knew I’d  have to give it a shot.

My bananas were still a bit green, but I think that helped with the recipe.  Now the recipe calls for “sour milk”.  You do not have to leave a carton of milk in your fridge until a month after the expiration date.  Take a cup of milk and add about 1 tsp. of vinegar, stirring it together immediately.  Let it sit for about 2 or 3 minutes.  It will take on the consistency of buttermilk.  It adds a tang to the cake, and it’s easy!

Banana Cake

1 1/2 cup granulated sugar, 2 eggs well beaten, 1/2 cup butter softened, 2 bananas sliced thin, 2 cups flour, 1 teaspoon baking powder, 1 teaspoon soda, 1 cup sour milk, 1 teaspoon vanilla.  Cream together butter and sugar, add eggs and bananas.  Sift flour, soda and baking powder together and add alternately with sour milk; add vanilla. Bake 30 minutes in a moderate oven in a 9X12 shallow pan.  Cover with whipped cream and sliced bananas.

What I did!

As stated, I do not have sour milk just hanging around, so add a teaspoon of vinegar to a cup of  milk.  I creamed the butter and sugar with a mixer, added the eggs and the bananas and beat it with the mixer as well.  Add about half of the milk and mix, then half the flour mixture – mix.  Add the remaining milk and then mix, and finally the last of the flour, mixing it to just combine and remove lumps.  Do not forget to grease and flour your cake pan, otherwise you are up the creek with no paddle.

Spread your batter into the greased and floured pan.  The recipe states a “moderate” oven.  Pretty much any cake will bake properly at 375F, which is what I baked this at, and only for 25 minutes instead of the called for 30 minutes.  You know your cake is done when you can press on the top and it springs back slightly, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with some crumb.

I wrestled with the idea of just using the whipped cream and sliced bananas on top, but decided to go for a homemade cream cheese frosting.  It is very simple:  8 oz. package of cream cheese, 1/2 stick of butter softened, 1 1/2 cups of powdered sugar and a smidgeon of vanilla. Make sure your cream cheese and butter are VERY soft, otherwise you will end up with lumps in your frosting, like I did!  If it seems too stiff, add a tablespoon of milk and combine.  Frost the cake!

EAT THE CAKE!  It’s really, really, really good.


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