It's not often that we have leftover bananas in our house, but when we do, I typically reach for my trusty Cream Cheese-Banana-Nut Bread recipe. It's quick, it's delicious, and the crowd always goes wild for it. But a few weekends ago I saw a few almost-too-ripe bananas sitting on the counter and decided to switch things up. I knew our old-fashioned Hummingbird Cake called for bananas, but I wasn't quite in the mood for layers, crumb coatings, and cake plates, so I decided to give it a go in my trusty 9x13 cake pan. Let me tell you, trying to convert a layer cake to a sheet cake couldn't have been easier, and now I'll never look at a layer cake recipe the same way again.
So often I'll see a layer cake recipe that looks oh-so-delicious, but can't quite get myself to commit to baking it unless we're celebrating a special occasion. The average Sunday night dinner in our house doesn't usually call for Swiss meringue and white chocolate Magnolia blooms, but a sweet end-of-meal finish of some sort is almost always hoped for. Brown Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies are a favorite, as is our Key Lime Slab Pie but, every once in a while, a no-frills cake is absolutely in order.
To convert our layered Hummingbird Cake batter into a sheet cake, I didn't change anything other than the bake time, increasing it from 25 to 30 minutes to 40 minutes. Depending on how your oven is calibrated, your bake time could increase or decrease. Just check with a wooden stick to ensure it's done. Once the stick came out clean, I let the cake cool for about 15 minutes before removing it from the pan and letting it cool completely on a wire baking rack.
The only change I made to the recipe aside from the cake cook time was when it came to the icing. Knowing I would just need to cover the top of the cake (I prefer not to ice the sides of a sheet cake, just to keep things a little rustic looking), it was clear I wouldn't need quite so much of the Cream Cheese Frosting. Luckily, the ingredients are easily halved—no tricky math needed here. It was the perfect amount for a thick layer to perfectly coat the top. I skipped the garnish of toasted pecan halves due to house preference, but it would certainly make the ideal no-fuss flourish.
I served the Hummingbird Sheet Cake on a basic melamine platter and, once I started slicing it up, you would have thought I had worked away for hours. The oohs and aahs around the table catapulted me to super mom status in mere minutes. Whether you're looking for a good way to put ripe bananas to use, or are in the mood to impress your dinnertime crowd, serving up our Hummingbird Cake in sheet-cake form is the lickety-split update you need to try.