Layers of incredibly moist banana cake with creamy peanut butter butter cream, filled with fried bananas and topped with candied bacon. Plus, a splash of bourbon, too.
By Michelle McVeigh
I love Elvis Presley, and although his habits definitely contributed towards his death, you can’t deny his good taste! There’s a place I love to eat in Atlanta called The Vortex and they do this burger called The Fat Elvis – it’s a beef burger topped with peanut butter, fried bananas and bacon, most people think it sounds disgusting but it’s honestly amazing. I’m definitely not the first person to put this combination in a cake, it already has a name after all, but I thought these flavours would be just delicious in a cake and perhaps a little more appealing to those turned off by the burger!
In this cake we have an incredibly moist banana sponge, which also has bourbon in it. I adapted the sponge recipe from My Baking Addiction and it has an unusual baking method, you bake it on a low heat and then when it’s done you immediately stick it in the freezer. Sounded weird to me, but it’s apparently what makes the cake so moist and I can’t argue with the results! I guess sticking it in the freezer stops it baking any further.
We then have peanut butter swiss meringue buttercream, and lots of it! SMBC is my absolute favourite frosting, it’s creamy and delicious without being overly sweet like regular buttercream. It takes a bit longer to put together, but it’s worth it, and as long as you have a stand mixer it’s pretty easy.
In the middle we also have fried bananas, amazing! They’re fried in brown sugar, bourbon and a little bacon grease and honey. Then right on top we have the bacon, candied in brown sugar, bourbon and honey – it’s just the right amount of salty sweet to push this cake over the delicious edge. I also have some roasted peanuts that are lightly glazed in bacon grease, bourbon and brown sugar – to add a little crunch!
- 4 very ripe bananas
- 100ml (3.38 fluid ounces) bourbon whiskey
- 375g (13 ounces) plain flour (all purpose)
- 1½ tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp ground cinnamon
- ¼ tsp salt
- 170g (6 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 200g (7 ounces) caster sugar (super fine granulated sugar)
- 200g (7 ounces) brown sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
- 350ml (11.8 fluid ounces) buttermilk
- 6 rashers streaky bacon
- 3 tbsp brown sugar
- 3 tbsp bourbon whiskey
- 1 tbsp honey
- 4 bananas, ripe but firm still
- Reserved liquid from candied bacon
- 1 tbsp bourbon whiskey
- 25g (0.88 ounces) unsalted butter
- 2 tsp caster sugar
- 100g (3.5 ounces) roasted peanuts
- Reserved liquid from fried bananas
- 1 tsp bourbon whiskey
- 6 large egg whites
- 250g (8.8 ounces) caster sugar
- 50g (1.7 ounces) brown sugar
- 400g (14.1 ounces) unsalted butter, room temperature, cut into small cubes
- 550g (19.4 ounces) creamy peanut butter
- Preheat the oven to 150C/300F. Grease an 8" round cake tin, line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Put the bananas in a blender with the bourbon and blend until smooth. Set aside.
- Whisk together the flour, bicarb, baking powder, cinnamon and salt, set aside.
- Cream the butter and sugars together until light and fluffy, add the eggs one at a time and beat until combined between each addition. Stir in the vanilla extract.
- Alternate gently beating in the flour mixture and the buttermilk, starting and ending with the flour.
- Add the banana mixture and stir to evenly disperse.
- Bake for 1 hour 30 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Remove from the oven and immediately place in the freeze for 45 minutes. Then remove from tin, and leave to cool completely on a wire rack.
- Fry the bacon in a frying pan until done, but not crispy. Remove from pan and pat dry with paper towel to remove excess grease.
- Keep the grease in the pan and add the brown sugar and bourbon, return to a medium low heat and when mixture starts to bubble add the bacon back in. Spoon mixture over bacon to make sure all is coated. Drizzle the honey over the top. Cook until bacon has a shine to it, about 5 minutes.
- Remove from pan and place on a chopping board to cool. Reserve all the liquid in the pan.
- Slice the bananas evenly.
- Add the reserved bacon liquid to your frying pan with the butter and whiskey, heat on medium low until it starts to bubble.
- Add bananas in one layer and sprinkle with caster sugar. Cook both sides, about 2 minutes each side, until they're a deep caramel colour and softened. Remove from pan and leave to cool. Reserve any liquid in the pan.
- Place the peanuts in a food processor and blitz 1-2 times to roughly chop. Add the chopped peanuts to your frying pan with the reserved banana/bacon liquid and 1tsp of bourbon. Stir to coat all the peanuts and cook for 3 minutes. Spread out on a piece of parchment paper and leave to cool.
- Wait until the cake is cooled before you start on the buttercream.
- Add the egg whites and sugars to the mixing bowl of your mixer and whisk together. Place bowl over a pan of simmering water and heat eggs to 70C/160F, whisking all the time. If you don't have a candy thermometer, test the eggs by taking a little between your fingers - they're done when they're hot (but not too hot to touch) and you can't feel any sugar when you rub them between your fingers.
- Attach bowl to your mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and whip the egg whites on a high speed until stiff, glossy peaks form and the outside of the bowl is cool to touch. The egg whites may be ready before they've cooled down, if that's the case just turn the mixer down to low and let it run until the outside of the bowl is cool to touch (the sugar will stabilize the whites so you don't have to worry about over whipping here).
- Turn the mixer down to low and add the butter one piece at a time (leave about 3 seconds between each addition), until all is added.
- Turn the mixer up to medium and whip until smooth, the mixture may curdle at one point but keep whipping and it'll come back together. Once smooth, beat on high for 1 minute.
- Add the peanut butter and beat on medium high speed until evenly combined.
- Use buttercream immediately.
- Cut the banana cake in half and place the bottom half on your serving plate. Spread generously with the buttercream, then place fried bananas in one layer over the top. Sprinkle a few of the peanuts over too. Spread over more buttercream.
- Place the top layer of cake over the top, then cover the top and sides with a crumb coat (a thin layer of buttercream all over). Leave in the fridge or cold place at least 30 minutes.
- Spread the rest of the buttercream all over the cake, saving some for piping if you wish.
- Chop up the candied bacon into small pieces and sprinkle over the top, along with the peanuts.
- Store in fridge.
Some people say you can store SMBC in the fridge for a few days, but I find the consistency is never as good. I like to use it the same day it's made.
If you're working in a warm kitchen and the buttercream becomes too soft to work with, just chill in the fridge for 30 minutes and rewhip for a couple seconds when you take it out.
Michelle is a self taught home baker who loves to experiment with flavours and teach herself new skills in the kitchen. She is based in the UK but travels to Atlanta, GA often and bakes wherever she goes!