I'm not usually a fan of the group dessert thing. I think birthdays and other big events are just too personal. I've always tried to make something special, catered specifically for the person for which I'm celebrating. However I bent this rule when I made this cake for two very lovely brides, Courtney and Amy. Both of these wonderful women work on my team and are getting married within a month of each other. (Congrats to Courtney who just tied the note in Italy a few weeks ago!!)
Last month I, along with a few others, hosted a little bachelorette party for them at my house. Since every bride is always watching their waste line, I thought it best not to create a big spread of desserts but instead opted to make just one decadent treat. This wasn't my my original plan but when Courtney said she wanted something with Butterfinger or banana and Amy wanted something with peanut butter, I gasped out loud when I found this recipe. It could not have been more perfect!
The cake itself was really yummy, even without any frosting. It could be baked in a loaf pan as a sweet banana bread. However, with the peanut butter cream cheese frosting, this cake was the hit of the party. I recommend making it at least one day in advance so it can sit in the fridge and all the favors can get to know each other.
I've included steps for using simple syrup to help moisten the cake. This step is optional but I think it makes the cake that much better.
Butterfinger Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Yield:15+ servings, depending on how big you cut the slices
adapted from RecipeZaar.com
1/2 cup of sugar
1/2 cup of water
5 (2 1/8 ounce) Butterfinger candy bars
1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 3/4 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs, at room temperature
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon banana extract, optional (I like that extra punch of banana flavor)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup full-fat buttermilk, at room temperature
12 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
6 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter (Skippy or Jiff) - avoid the all-natural kind.
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the sugar and water together. Stir until the sugar dissolves. Bring to a full boil for about 3 minutes. Turn off the heat and move the pot away from the burner to cool for at least an hour. Cover and store in the fridge.
Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour two 9" cake pans. In the food processor, coarsely chop the candy bars; set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer until light and fluffy - about 5 minutes. Beat in the eggs one at a time, for one minute each, scraping down the sides of the bowl after each addition. Mix in the mashed bananas, vanilla, and banana extracts.
In a separate bowl, combine the flour, soda and salt and mix together with a wire whisk until well combined. Add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk alternately to the egg mixture (in two to three additions each) and incorporate thoroughly. Reserve 1/2 cup of the chopped Butterfinger candy bars and fold the rest into the batter. Divide the batter between the cake pans and bake for 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool the cakes on wire racks for 10 minutes. Invert onto a rack and cool completely before frosting.
In a large mixing bowl, blend the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl. Add the powdered sugar and peanut butter and mix until smooth.
Inspect the cakes and cut the tops to even them out, if necessary. To frost the cake, place one layer on a serving plate. Using a pastry brush, generously "paint" the surface and sides of the cake with the simple syrup. Don't be afraid to really get the cake wet. Spread 1/4 of the frosting over the top and place it back in the fridge to firm up for about 15 to 20 minutes. Place the second layer on top and paint the cake with the simple syrup (you'll have syrup left over). Spread the remaining frosting over top and sides of the cake. Sprinkle the reserved crushed Butterfingers over the top of the cake (optional). Store in the fridge, covered until you're ready to serve.