I know Thanksgiving is all about the turkey and the stuffing...and the pie. But if there was ever a time to consider a Thanksgiving CAKE, it's now and this is the one. It has everything goin' on, from the whipped cream topping to the custard filling to the pudding-like cake layers to the last fork-full that has to make room in an already stuffed stomach - this will be the one dessert your dinner guests remember.
From the very first banana-y bite to the last, it's refreshing without one itsy-bitsy hint of cinnamon, ginger, cloves or nutmeg...those holiday spices can reign supreme in pumpkin pie where they belong, but this cake, full of banana flavor and vanilla custard is the yin to the pumpkin pie yang.
Bananas, duh. Vanilla wafers, double duh. Those go into the best banana pudding on the planet...so a banana pudding cake had to have both of them in the mix! Basically the Vanilla Wafers become the flour...a rich, flavorful flour...in a word? Dewishish.
The cake layers are dense and moist - think bread-pudding - and they won't rise very much so if you bake them in 9-inch pans, they will look like those on the left above. If you bake in 8-inch pans, the baking time is increased just a bit and they will be thicker and look like those on the right above. Either way, they will be dang good! This one screams at the top of the Dang Meter, it's dang, dang, dang, dang, dang good. Make this one for your family and friends...make it for Thanksgiving or Christmas or Easter or anytime you just want something yummy in your tummy.
(I did not use Trisha's filling recipe - it just wasn't rich enough so instead I used my all-time favorite custard recipe from Baking Illustrated...it truly is the best! Sorry Trisha!)
For the Cake:
Non-stick cooking spray for baking pans
3 ripe bananas
2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
3/4 cup butter, softened (1 1/2 sticks)
2 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 box (11 oz.) Vanilla Wafers, crushed (crush them in a food processor or put in a plastic bag and use a rolling pin to crush them.)
1 cup buttermilk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a small bowl, mash the bananas and then stir in the lemon juice. Set aside. Using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Add the crushed vanilla wafers in 3 additions and the buttermilk in 2 additions, beginning and ending with the wafers. Beat until combined, then add the mashed bananas and vanilla and beat until fully incorporated. Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes before turning out onto racks to cool completely.