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Banana Bourbon Layer Cake

Prepare the sliced-banana topping just before serving.

  • Servings: 10
Banana Bourbon Layer Cake

Source: Martha Stewart Living, August/September 1993


  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for pans
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for pans
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
  • 3 large eggs, separated
  • 2 to 3 ripe bananas, enough to make 1 cup mashed
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
  • 3/4 cup sour cream
  • 3 bananas, not too ripe
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup bourbon


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 8-inch round cake pans. In a bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.

  2. Cream together butter and sugar. Add egg yolks one at a time. In another bowl, mash bananas, and combine with buttermilk and vanilla. Add alternately to butter mixture with flour mixture, beginning and ending with flour.

  3. Beat egg whites until stiff; fold into batter.

  4. Divide batter between prepared pans. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes. Let cool in pans for 5 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool completely.

  5. When cake layers are cool, whip cream with confectioners’ sugar until stiff. Fold in sour cream. Place a cake layer on a plate, and spread with filling to within 1 inch of edge. Place other layer on top, and press down lightly. Chill for 1 hour.

  6. Slice bananas 1/2 inch thick. Melt butter in a large saute pan over medium heat. When it sizzles, add slices in a single layer. Sprinkle with sugar. When golden brown, turn slices; cook until brown on other side.

  7. Carefully pour in bourbon (using a measuring cup, never the bottle) and ignite with a match. Cook until flames die down, shaking the pan to toss bananas in syrup. Remove from heat.

  8. Arrange banana slices on top of cake. Pour remaining syrup over cake, letting it drip down sides. Serve immediately.

Reviews (4)

  • gracemliu 29 Sep, 2011

    The cake was moist and had a strong banana presence. The whipped cream filling was pretty bland though. I subbed yogurt for the sour cream. The bourbon caramelized bananas were nice. I only used 2 bananas and 1/2 cup of bourbon. Should've gone with the full recipe.

  • rachaelchan 15 Mar, 2009

    I made the cake without the caramelized bananas

  • rachaelchan 15 Mar, 2009

    I made the cake without the caramelized bananas

  • woodensandals 24 Dec, 2007

    Flambn n n n is really great in theory, but may not be a good idea for those of us in home kitchens, depending on your setup. (Also, people freak out when they see flames.)
    That aside, the topping is delicious. The cake was a little too heavy when I made it, but other people may have more success.

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