This luscious cake is from the original Silver Palate Cookbook by Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins. The cake was recreated for an Island gathering, chronicled in The Dinner Party.

10 to 12 portions

• 1/2 pound (2 sticks) sweet butter, at room temperature
• 1 cup sugar
• 2 eggs
• 1 cup ripe bananas, mashed
• 1 3/4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 2/3 teaspoon baking soda
• 5 tablespoons buttermilk
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Cream cheese frosting (see below)
• 1 1/2 to 2 medium-size firm but ripe bananas, sliced
• 1 1/2 cups chopped walnuts

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch layer cake pans.

2. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add mashed bananas, mixing thoroughly.

3. Sift dry ingredients and add to butter 
and egg mixture. Stir until flour has been incorporated completely. Add buttermilk and vanilla. Mix for 1 minute.

4. Pour batter into prepared pans. Set on 
the middle rack of the oven and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until a cake tester 
inserted into the center comes out clean.

5. Cool in pans on a rack for 10 minutes. 
Unmold and cool on rack for 2 hours.

6. When cooled, place one layer on a serving plate and frost with cream-cheese frosting. Arrange slices of banana over frosting; cover with second layer and frost top and sides of cake.

7. Cover sides of cake with chopped nuts, holding nuts in palm and pressing firmly to sides of cake. Dust top of cake with confectioners’ sugar.


Cream cheese frosting

Makes enough for a two-layer cake 

• 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
• 6 tablespoons sweet butter, at room temperature
• 3 cups confectioners’ sugar
• 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
• Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)

1. Cream together cream cheese and 
butter in a mixing bowl.

2. Slowly sift in 
confectioners’ sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated. Mixture should 
be free of lumps.

3. Stir in vanilla, and lemon juice, if using.