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Bananas and... 1st birthday cake

Planning my grandson's 1st birthday cake.

As much as I crave the pic of chocolate frosting smeared all over his face and through his hair, bananas are what he really loves. This is the recipe I have in mind http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... but I'm not fond of cream cheese frosting so I'm thinking an Italian Meringue Buttercream. The question is, should I stick to a plain vanilla buttercream or am I missing an opportunity to flavor the buttercream and, perhaps, add something sexy to the filling?

My first thought was a tropical explosion with the buttercream pineapple flavored and fresh mango sliced into the filling. But that might just be over the top and mess with the flavor I know he really loves. An alternative might be this Caramel Cream http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/foo... for the filling and a chocolate butttercream icing.

I"d love some thoughts, recipes and links to do-able 1st birthday cake decorating pix. I've still got 3 weeks to figure it all out.

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  1. i don't know much about 1 year-olds, but why not just do a chocolate frosting? pineapple and mango may well be over the top for a baby, but i'm guessing this party is more for the grown-ups anyway?

    last time i made banana cake, i added chocolate chunks to the batter, put raspberry jam in between the layers and just did a simple whipped cream topping. it was major deliciousness.

    2 Replies
    1. re: hotoynoodle

      Can I have the recipe you used, please? It does sound delicious.

      1. re: hotoynoodle

        I'm with you. Chocolate and banana are a classic combination. This way you get the banana AND the chocolate smeared face.

      2. If he's only 1 maybe make a simpler smash cake for him (i.e. banana with a plain-ish frosting and fruit decorations) and something more elaborate for the grown-ups?

        2 Replies
        1. re: Xantha

          Yes, I was thinking of doing a cupcake variation for him after "he" blows out the candle on the full-sized cake.

          1. re: rainey

            I might do that the other way around (blow out the candle on the cupcake). Have you seen all the "funny" videos of kids spitting/sneezing/vomiting/etc. on cakes while blowing out candles?

            I would make yellow cake layers, fill with caramelized bananas, and top with a chocolate glaze (let the sides show, mostly) This was a Martha Stewart recipe I made in the past, i can't seem to find it for you know. When they re-jiggered the site a few years ago, they DESTROYED the search function.

        2. How about Hummingbird Cake, a Southern favorite? If not for the birthday boy, then for the older guests. It has a cream cheese frosting that would complement the cake well if you spike either with rum.

          2 Replies
          1. re: greygarious

            Sorry. Not a fan of cream cheese frosting or rum.

            I really want to stick to banana for the birthday boy but also because I think we'd all enjoy it. I guess a Hummingbird Cake is banana and pineapple but I'd still be looking for alternatives for filling and icing.

            1. re: rainey

              "I really want to stick to banana for the birthday boy but also because I think we'd all enjoy it"

              Maybe you could co-ordinate with parent/mom, will she be making the main cake?

              If there are a lot of people a variety would be nice. Too much banana seems a problem, not like too much chocolate, not a problem.

              With banana, I like strawberry. It's southern cooking, I think, that would put fresh bananas between the layers, sliced in half the long way.

          2. To me, banana goes really well with a strong vanilla flavor (like in bananas foster)... what about doing banana cake with layers of buttercream with a good strong hit of vanilla bean? topped with some slices of carmelized banana... and maybe some vanilla ice cream with it?

            4 Replies
            1. re: Adrienne

              Oooooo! Caramelized bananas sounds GOOD!

              1. re: rainey

                If the top layer were a banana upside-down cake, it would carmelize the top.

                1. re: BangorDin

                  That sounds amazing! And beautiful :)

              2. Thanks for all the great ideas.

                I think I'm up for the banana layers I originally posted. The Caramel Cream filling also still sounds good especially with the prospect of caramelized bananas sandwiched in there too. Then the chocolate Italian Meringue Buttercream will give us the photo op AND the yummy finish.

                But I've still got a couple weeks to go so more ideas -- decorating ideas as well -- are very welcome!

                1 Reply
                1. re: rainey

                  Not sure this is what you're looking for, but a friend made monkey-face banana/chocolate cupcakes for her daughter's 2nd birthday, using vanilla wafer cookies - they were cute and delicious. I remember them being a bit like the cupcakes surrounding this cake, although she didn't use the star tip to pipe the icing for the monkey fur. I know you're thinking about a layer cake but maybe you could still use the monkey-face idea somehow.

                  http://www.coolest-birthday-cakes.com...