The 70’s were a wild time, especially culinary speaking where it was adding the weird and wonderful (mainly into a jelly mould and calling it a day) presented on our tables. When I was deciding what decades-old dining experience to share with you all, I wasn’t sure what to make until I saw the Banana Spook Cake brought to you by the National Banana Association. As soon as I saw the banana ghosts I knew this recipe was this year’s winner so here we are, ready to go for another vintage cooking adventure with a Halloween twist.
Despite much research, I couldn’t find the exact source of this recipe and the exact year it came out in. I found this recipe on Pinterest and found that there were a few other blogs who have made this cake before me but I couldn’t figure out who posted the original images. Regardless, I am guessing that this recipe came out in the 70s judging on the cake style and decorations. From my research, the National Banana Association released recipes that came from Banana company’s advertisements and sponsored cook books. It is likely that this recipe was either in a magazine or perhaps released by Banana companies marketing booklets. If you do happen to know where this recipe came from, please let me know.
- White cake mix
- 6 Yellow bananas, ( 2 are used for decoration)
- 1 cup Sugar
- 1/4 cup Lemon juice, plus 1 teaspoon
- 1 cup Heavy cream, whipped
- 1/4 cup Butter/Margarine
- 1/2 cup Semi-sweet chocolate pieces,(Plus 8 Pieces For Decoration)
- 1 Egg
- 4 Licorice strips
- 4 Marshmallows ,(for Cat Faces)
1. Follow the instructions given in the package and bake the cake in 2 layer pans. Allow to cool.
2. Take a saucepan, add 4 bananas and mash. Stir in ¼ cup of lemon juice and sugar. Stirring continuously, allow to cook till mixture starts boiling fully. Allow to chill and fold whipped cream into the cooked mixture.
3. In a saucepan, prepare a mixture of butter and ½ cup of chocolate pieces that are semi sweet and stirring continuously, cook on low heat to a smooth mixture.
4. Beat the eggs to foamy and slowly add chocolate mixture. Beat to a smooth mixture and allow to chill to a spread consistency.
5. Take 1/3rd banana cream and spread between the cake layers. Top with chocolate glaze. Use rest of the banana cream to frost the sides of the cake.
6. Slice 2 bananas into halves, using lemon juice brush the halves and place chocolate pieces as eyes and licorice as mouths.
7. Hold the spooks in place by inserting toothpicks in cut portions of the bananas and secure marshmallows around the sides of the cake using toothpicks or use toothpicks to secure marshmallows around the cake.
8. Slice and serve.
I didn’t quite anticipate this cake being quite the adventure it turned out to be. I wish I had a smaller cake tin as by the time I poured my cake mixture into it’s tray, it was spread quite thin which resulted in the cake being very flat and sad looking. Originally the recipe said that one cake was supposed to be split into two cake halves but because mine was so thin, I actually made two cakes and decided to stack them. It resulted in a bigger cake than what was pictured and my cake was a touch on the dry side.
I also had an issue with the bananas I used. It’s not banana season meaning that most bananas in the shops are underripe and a touch on the green side. I forgot to plan for this and bought my bananas too late and they were still on the firm side and not very sweet. This meant that when I was mashing them with my sugar and lemon juice, they didn’t fully mash down and the resulting banana cream was lumpy and not the greatest tasting. My banana cream had a stronger lemon flavour than it did banana flavour as my lemon was definitely ripe. This was a touch disappointing but it’s something I will note for next time.
Putting the cake together was quite fun and easy once I had all my elements ready to go. I was definitely very tired by the time I got about to decorate (I’m still recovering health-wise so I’m very slow, and lethargic and it takes me a while to finish tasks. I started this cake around 12 noon and finished it at quarter to 8 in the evening, I was very tired). This meant that I read but didn’t full grasp what the recipe was asking me to do. I should have poured the chocolate glaze first and then decorated the edge of the cake with the banana cream. I definitely should have poked a stick into my banana ghosts before I decorated them and I should have thought of a better way to adhere sugar eye balls onto a banana. I used the chocolate glaze thinking it was sticky enough but it just melted and dribbled everywhere. It made my ghosts look like they were crying brown ooze. Yum.
Speaking of yum, how does the cake taste after all that? Quite yummy! My cake was a touch dry but I liked the banana and chocolate flavours mixing together. My banana cream had a stronger lemon flavour than banana flavour but this is all because the banana’s were not ripe enough. I’d definitely recommend using ripe and even slightly overripe bananas. I would give this cake 3 out of 5 bats and my husband gave it the same score. He enjoyed the flavours but also said the lemon was stronger than the banana flavour which was a shame.
I think this cake was super cute but also hilariously silly to look at. There’s something about sugar eyeballs that when stuck onto things just makes them ridiculously funner than it should be, evidence of such can be found here. I didn’t end up giving my ghosts a mouth which I was supposed to do using liquorice, I decided to use just plain black icing but in the end, opted for no mouth much like the cute bed sheet ghost trend going around social media.
I don’t think I will be remaking this recipe anytime soon. I like the individual elements but would change the recipe quite a bit to better suit my tastes. I would love to make a banana cake or even a banana bread and then incorporate the banana cream and chocolate glaze as a topping on the loaf of something inside the cake. I think out of all the Halloween recipes we’ve made, I would still make the Jack O Lantern Cake the fastest out of them all because that cake is delicious.
This isn’t a quick and easy cake recipe; I was surprised by all the things I had to make to put this cake together. It’s certainly a recipe you want to be organised for because everything must be chilled to be used. If I could do this recipe again, I would make a white cake from scratch, I would purchase and use a smaller cake pan so the cakes would be thicker, I would make this recipe when bananas were in season or make sure I could let my bananas ripen better in the fruit bowl, and I would figure out a better way to adhere sugar eyeballs to a banana. This cake came out cute despite being a little sad looking; I wish the chocolate wouldn’t have dripped over the edge so much and that the banana cream was more creamy as it just sort of looked chunky and awkward.
Halloween recipes have a soft spot in my heart; it was a different Halloween cake that started my love of making vintage recipes which has continued to this day. Although our skills haven’t really gotten much better, I love the chance to create something odd and hopefully delicious. I’m hoping to create more vintage cooking adventures next year and even start a mini Jelly series because let’s face it, the weirdest vintage recipes all contain gelatine. If you have a weird and wonderful vintage recipe you’d love me to try, please let me know by either leaving a comment or leaving a comment on one of my Instagram posts. If you’d like to see more vintage Halloween recipes, check out my links below:
Halloween Vintage Recipes:
1970’s Jack o Lantern Cake
1960’s Jack O Lantern Salad
1946’s Pumpkin Soup
Note: This is not a sponsored post. All opinions and thoughts expressed are solely my own and not influenced in any way. There are no affiliate links and I do not benefit from any link clicks or purchases made.