Thursday, February 22, 2024

Banana Layer Cake


My husband chose this cake for his birthday this year, and since he normally says "whatever you want" when I ask what HE wants for his birthday dessert, I figured I better make exactly what he picked out! 

And I'm glad he did. This is banana bread on steroids - a delicious layer cake with cream cheese frosting. 

This is a nice change of pace from heavy chocolate cakes or the like - but is still completely substantial. 

The cream cheese frosting adds a delicious richness to the cake - when I make this again, I might be tempted to double the frosting! If you need an easy, delicious cake for the weekend, or for any celebration, and you love banana bread - this is the winner!

Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting

3/4 cup butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs
1 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 tsp. banana extract, optional
3 cups flour
1/2 tsp salt
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed

8 ounces cream cheese, softened
½ cup butter, softened
3 tsp. milk or cream
1 tsp. banana extract (use vanilla if you don't have banana)
1½ cup powdered sugar

For the cake, in a large mixing bowl, beat sugar and butter until smooth and creamy. Add buttermilk and vanilla, and banana extract (if you have it). Mix until combined. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing after each addition until combined.

In a separate bowl, combine flour, baking soda and salt. Add the dry mixture gradually, beating until combined. Fold in mashed bananas.

Pour into greased 8 or 9 inch round cake pans and bake at 350 on center rack of oven for 30-40 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. (Time will vary based on your pan size.) Remove to wire rack to cool, then remove from pan.

For the frosting, mix together the cream cheese, butter, milk and extract until light and fluffy. Slowly add powdered sugar, a little at a time, mixing until smooth and creamy.

Generously frost bottom layer of cake, stopping at the edge. Place top layer on frosted bottom layer, then frost top layer generously, then frost the sides. (If you prefer, you can leave the sides "plain" and just frost the middle and top. Up to you!) Chill until frosting is firmed up before slicing.  Store leftovers in the refrigerator.

Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Banh Mi Turkey Burgers

Do you need to shake up your dinner routine a bit? Are you in a menu rotation rut? Do you love trying new flavors and experimenting with "fusion"? Then this recipe is for you!! This got two thumbs up from everyone at our dinner table, and the leftovers were great, too.

This recipe does require a little planning ahead, because the vegetables need time to pickle. You can get those ready the night before, the morning of, or even a day before. After that, this comes together really quickly - whip up the burgers, mix up a spicy sauce (only 2 ingredients!) and quickly toast the buns, and you are ready to go.

My family loves traditional banh mi (made with pork) but we really enjoyed this turkey burger version. It's a great way to get lots of veggies ON your burger, and a wonderful combination of flavors. Fusion away, baby!

Banh Mi Turkey Burgers

  • 1 

    carrot, sliced into matchsticks

  • 1 

    cucumber, sliced into matchsticks

  • 1 

    jalapeño, thinly sliced

  • 1/4 cup 

    rice vinegar

  • 1/4 cup 


  • 1 Tbsp. salt

  • 1 Tbsp. 

    plus 1 tsp. sugar (divided)

  • 1/4 c. 


  • 2 Tbsp. 

    sriracha, divided

  • 2 lb. 

    ground turkey

  • 1 Tbsp. 

    fish sauce

  • 2 

    cloves garlic, finely chopped

  • 2 

    green onions, thinly sliced

  • 1 1/2 tsp. 


  • 2 Tbsp. 

    toasted sesame oil or vegetable oil

  • 6 

    brioche hamburger buns

  • Fresh cilantro leaves 

  • In a medium bowl, combine cucumber, carrot, jalapeño slices and salt. Add vinegar, water, and 1 Tbsp. sugar. Mix until combined and chill for at least 6 hours to meld the flavors and perfectly pickle the vegetables. (You can also do this a day or two ahead of time.) 

  • For the spicy mayo, mix together mayonnaise and 1 Tbsp. Sriracha, adding more hot sauce if desired. 

  • For the burgers, in a medium bowl combine the turkey, remaining 1 tablespoon of Sriracha, cornstarch, fish sauce, remaining 1 tsp. sugar, garlic and green onions. Mix with your hands just until all combined, and be careful not to overmix. Season meat with salt and pepper. Divide the mixture into six equal patties. Heat sesame oil (or vegetable oil) in a large skillet over medium heat. Cook the burgers, flipping once, until cooked through, about 4 to 5 minutes per side. As the burgers begin to brown, add about 1/2 cup water to the pan and cover. Cook for a few minutes or until the internal temperature is 165 degrees F. 

  • To serve, top each brioche bun with a burger patty, a generous slathering of spicy mayo and a scoopful of pickled vegetables. Garnish with cilantro leaves. (I like to lightly toast the buns first - just on a dry skillet over medium low heat - do watch them carefully so they don't burn.)
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