Banana Sheet Cake

Since this is my favorite banana cake, I make it a lot. For a simple dessert, make this cake in an 8-inch round pan and serve it with strawberries and lightly whipped cream. The subtle tang of the strawberries offsets the natural sweetness of the banana.

A lemon buttercream (or any other made with a citrus fruit) also complements the banana cake’s flavor and texture nicely.

Banana Sheet Cake is the foundation for Americana Banana Roll.

Ingredients

  • 1 cup (100 grams) sifted cake flour
  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • teaspoon baking powder
  • teaspoon salt
  • 1 large egg, room temperature
  • ½ cup (1 large) mashed ripe banana
  • 1 tablespoon sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • tablespoons ( ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • ½ cup (100 grams) granulated sugar

Baking Equipment

One 12-x-15½-x-½-inch baking sheet

Method

Baking Preparations

Position rack in lower third of oven; preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Using a paper towel, lightly grease a small area in the center of the baking sheet with solid shortening and line the pan with foil, leaving a 2-inch overhang at each short end (the dab of shortening holds the foil in place). Lightly grease the foil with shortening and sprinkle with all-purpose flour. Shake the pan to distribute flour and tap out excess.

Ingredient Preparations

Pour the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt in that order into a triple sifter. Sift onto a sheet of waxed paper to distribute the ingredients; set aside.

Crack the egg into a small bowl, and whisk briefly just to combine the yolk and white. Combine the mashed banana, sour cream and lemon zest in a small bowl; set aside.

Place the butter in the bowl of a heavy-duty mixer.

Making the Cake

With the flat beater (paddle), cream the butter on medium speed (#5) for 30 to 45 seconds, or until it is smooth and lighter in color. (This is a small amount in a large bowl, but you can adjust most heavy-duty machines so the attachment reaches lower in the bowl.)

Maintaining the same speed, add the sugar in a steady stream. Then stop the mixer, and scrape the mixture clinging to the sides into the center of the bowl. Continue to cream at the same speed until the mixture is light in color and fluffy in appearance (about 3 to 4 minutes).

With the mixer still on medium speed, pour in the egg, very cautiously at first, as if you were adding oil when making mayonnaise. Continue to cream for 1 to 2 more minutes, scraping the sides of the bowl at least once. When the mixture is quite fluffy and has increased in volume, detach the beater and bowl. Tap the beater against the edge of the bowl to free the excess.

With the aid of a metal spatula, lift half the flour mixture and sprinkle it over the creamed mixture. Stir it in with a rubber spatula. Then add the mashed banana mixture, stirring to blend. Scrape the sides of the bowl with each addition. Add the remaining flour mixture and stir until smooth.

Baking the Cake

Scoop the thick batter onto five different areas over two-thirds of the prepared baking sheet. With a metal spatula, spread and coax the batter to cover the two-thirds of the sheet. Now extend it to the rest of the sheet in as even a layer as possible. (At first you will not believe it will cover the entire sheet, but it will. Don’t rush. The layer will be very thin, but that is just the way it should be. It will increase in volume in the oven.)

Bake for 8 to 10 minutes, or until the cake is light golden brown, the sides are beginning to contract from the metal, and the cake springs back when lightly touched in the center.

Cooling the Cake

Remove the pan from the oven. Using a thin-bladed knife, gently release any portion of the cake sticking to the long sides of the pan. Pull up on the foil overhangs, one at a time, to release foil from the pan’s edges. Finally, loosen foil from the bottom of the pan by gently lifting up on the flaps, and transfer it to a large rack to cool.

Place a sheet of foil over the cake and manipulate the foil in a tent fashion (this holds in the moisture as it cools, but prevents sticking to the cake). Cool for 30 minutes. Then proceed to assemble it into a dessert, such as Americana Banana Roll.

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