When I’m planning a summer party there are lots of things to consider, but food is typically what I think about first, more specifically dessert. It’s like in my DNA. I want the best dessert to impress and please my audience and fit in with the season.
But there are lots of other things to think about too. Music to keep the guests upbeat. Right now, I’m loving Katy Perry, Lady Gaga, and Ed Sheeran, but it’s fun to incorporate all genres, just make sure nothing is too slow or it seems to slow the party down with it.
A signature cocktail is always a hit too. While it’s necessary to have beer, wine, soft drinks, and water on hand, it’s better to choose one or two signature cocktails (even better if they can be prepped ahead) instead of having a fully stocked bar. This saves money too.
Of course, everyone needs a place to sit and hang out. Summer parties are my favorite because everyone can hang out outside as long as the weather is nice. It’s always good to have a contingency plan, but when the mess can stay outside, the party is that much more fun for me. And living in Michigan, I am taking every moment I can to enjoy the outdoors while the nice weather is here.
My deck with all the flowers in bloom is my favorite place to party, whether it’s just me, a few close friends, or a big shindig. I have loved our mosaic table since we first got it, and in case of rain, our indoor dining tables are ready and waiting.
Whatever table you happen to have, new or old, indoor or outdoor, this Strawberry Banana Shortcake Layer Cake will make it even better. It is so perfect for a party because all your guests will ooh and ahh at its beauty and it serves a serious crowd.
I took strawberry shortcake to the next level by making a sturdy yet moist cake loaded with bananas. Layering it with vanilla bean whipped cream and fresh, ripe sliced strawberries gives all these contrasting textures and flavors. I even made it with gluten free flour.
What is so surprising about this cake, is how light and almost refreshing it is, making it perfect for summer nights. Be sure to sweeten your summer parties with this cake!Print
- 5 ripe, mashed bananas
- ¾ cup granulated sugar
- ¾ cup packed light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs
- ¾ cup olive oil
- 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
- 3 ½ cups all-purpose or gluten free flour blend
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
- 2/3 cup milk (I used almond-coconut blend, use what you love)
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed orange juice
- 1 pint heavy whipping cream
- 2 teaspoons vanilla bean paste
- 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar
- 1 pound strawberries
- Make the cake. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Oil two 8 or 9 inch baking pans and line the bottom with parchment.
- In a large bowl, stir together mashed bananas, sugars, eggs, oil, and vanilla until well combined.
- In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking soda, and cinnamon. Combine the milk and orange juice in the measuring cup. Alternately add the flour mixture and milk mixture, beginning and ending with the flour and stirring between each addition. Once everything is added, stir just until combined and evenly divided among the two prepared pans.
- Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean or with a few moist crumbs. Cool cakes completely in pans.
- Once the cakes are cool and you are ready to assemble, whip the cream until stiff peaks form, but be sure not to make butter 🙂 I did this by hand, but a hand or stand mixer works perfectly. Add the vanilla bean paste and confectioners’ sugar and beat just until combined.
- Place one cake on a cake stand or serving plate. Spread a little less than half of the cream on the cake and top with sliced strawberries. Place the other cake on top and top with the remaining whipped cream and pretty, whole strawberries.
- Serve immediately or store cake in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days, though it may weep or wilt a little.
Additional chilling time is necessary