Banana Cream Cake

Some things:

1. No one has sent me my business cards with “Hannah Lust, 1/2M.D.” yet.  I thought they were supposed to come in the mail?  Is there someone I can speak to about this?

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2. Last night the Weatherman (yes, I’m outing him) and I watched the Bachelorette premier(e?) with some friends.  I know people watch this as a real thing, but…I just…I can’t be serious about it.  The awkwardness was hurting my teeth.  One guy was wearing a suit of armor.  Also, that girl gets to drive a Bentley!  This is not real life.  Obvs, because it’s TV.  I maaaaaay have to watch next week.  photo 3-1

3. I may or may not have made a small card with the Step 1 score I want painted in….pink glitter.  Can anyone tell me with CERTAINTY that this will not help?  No.  Thus, I did it.  Now is not the time to be picky.  Keep all judgments to yourself.

4. Sometimes, my engagement ring means “whoa buddy, I’m taken.”  Ok, rarely it means that.  Most days though, especially now as I get deeper and deeper into study territory, it means more, “Yes, there is a boy who actually wants to be with this.  Just so EVERYONE KNOWS.”

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Speaking of the boy who gave me that ring, it was his birthday on Sunday!  So happy!  In a long-distance relationship miracle, we got to be together both on his birthday AND to celebrate for a whole day the day after.  So…I made him this cake.  The history of this cake (it’s fascinating, read on) goes like this: the Weatherman said he wanted something banana cream for his birthday cake.  Then every night I envisioned a perfect banana cream layer cake, with cool pastry cream and sliced bananas between layers of yellow cake, all covered in whipped frosting.  Then, as is bound to happen when you try to bake and memorize anti-arrhythmia drugs at the same time, the pastry cream didn’t quite hold up enough.

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But I didn’t find this out until I was trying to assemble the cake…and it was ever so slowly sliding around and basically falling apart in front of me.  So instead of freaking out TOO much, I just put it all in casserole dish.  Same layers – yellow cake, pastry cream, bananas – just contained.  We served it with fresh whipped cream and Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Brittle ice cream, and I think the birthday boy was happy 🙂

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Banana Cream Cake

Serves 10-12

3/4 cup (= 1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 cup whole milk
1 cup plus 2 TBS unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup plus 2 TBS cake flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt

For pastry cream
4 large egg yolks
3 cups whole milk
2/3 cup granulated sugar
5 TBS cornstarch
1/4 tsp salt

1 cup whipping cream
5 ripe (but firm) bananas
ice cream – we loved Ben & Jerry’s Peanut Brittle!

1. For cake – Preheat over to 350F with a rack in the middle position.  Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans, and fit the bottoms with parchment paper.  Butter the parchment, and flour the pans.  Set aside.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flours, baking powder, and salt.  Set aside.
3. In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar on medium high speed until fluffy, about 3 minutes.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl.  Beat in the eggs, 1 at a time, then beat in the vanilla.  With the mixer on low, beat in about 1/3 of the flour mixture until combined.  Beat in half of the 1 cup of milk.  Continue alternating with the flour and milk, beating after each addition.
4. Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and bake for 25-30 minutes, until the cake bounces back when pressed lightly.  Let the cakes cool for 15 minutes in the pans on wire racks, then turn them out to cool completely on wire racks.
5. For pastry cream – Lightly whisk the egg yolks in a medium bowl and set aside.  In a medium saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the 3 cups of milk, 2/3 cup sugar, cornstarch, and salt.  Bring to a simmer, whisking constantly, and simmer for 4 minutes.
6. Quickly whisk about 1/4 of the hot milk into the egg yolks.  Add the rest of the milk mixture and whisk until combined.  Pour the mixture through a sieve to strain back into the saucepan.  Whisk constantly and cook over medium-high heat until you see big, lava-like bubbles and the custard is thick, about 3-4 minutes.  Pour the custard into a clean bowl, and cover with plastic wrap, pressing it down against the custard to keep a skin from forming.  Chill the custard in an ice bath or the fridge until completely cooled.  (You can prepare it a day ahead.)
7. Assemble – Trim the tops of the cake layers so that they’re mostly flat on top (we still can’t have bananas sliding around everywhere!).  Cut one of the cake layers to fit into your favorite casserole dish (mine fit nicely into an oval Le Creuset) and place it in the bottom.  Spread half of the cooled pastry cream over the cake layer.  Peel the bananas and slice into 1/4″ slices.  Spread the banana slices in a single layer over the pastry cream.  Cut the other cake layer to fit and place it on top of the bananas, pressing down slightly.  Spread the remaining pastry cream over the top layer, and place the remaining bananas in a layer on top.  Cover tightly with plastic wrap and keep in the fridge until ready to serve.
8. Beat the whipping cream on high speed in a large bowl until soft peaks form.  Serve the cake with a scoop of ice cream and a scoop of whipped cream.  Be happy that you don’t have to deal with slicing a giant layer cake!

Recipe for pastry cream adapted from Martha Stewart’s Baking Handbook

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Thanks for reading, happy baking!



  1. LOVE IT! You can 1/2 diagnose the reality TV cavity just reading this gave me. Happy birthday to the weatherdude and good luck on your studies…

    PS – That dish is arrhythmia inducing
    PPS – Get into Frank. when you both are in town (see FB for why)

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