I want to tell you a little about John and Stiney (pronounced stee-nee) Robertson. Before Stiney married John, she was Mary Christine Michaelson from Gladsaxe Denmark. She came to America in 1900 with a big wooden trunk that her dad made for her – this trunk sits in my living room today – with all her worldly belongings including the following recipe. She married John in New Mexico in 1903 where he was a pharmacist, owning the only pharmacy in town as well as being the official artist of the Alamogordo newspaper. Apparently, he was able to write in Olde English style free-hand so he prepared the newspaper banner (that’s the title) each week. Stiney owned and ran several boarding houses. After several failed attempts, Stiney carried baby John to term in 1918. On June 30th that year he was born, grew up, went to college and married a woman named Velma for 25 years until her death from cancer. They never had children. When he was about 50, he met a woman who, like him was widowed and she had a little girl. They married; eventually the little girl was adopted. The girl had a storybook like childhood, grew up and although she took a few turns, repeated the process started by Stiney and baby John. Now, that little girl is a grandmother and writes this blog.
I never met Stiney or John because they had passed away by the time I came along but I do have a few remnants of their existence. I have John’s R Ph license – it’s very large and beautiful compared to the ones my uncle and cousin (on my mom’s side) have, I have the wooden trunk, a gold inlaid hot chocolate set John and Stiney received as a wedding present and a few recipes. The first I shared was for Aebleskivers and another is this banana sour cream cake. I don’t know exactly how old this recipe is or if she made any changes over the years, especially when she came to America but I have made no changes so it is in its original state as far as I know.
Banana Sour Cream Cake is an old fashioned, tangy and sweet treat to share with family and friends.
Banana Sour Cream Cake
Ingredients for cake:
4 Cups sifted Cake Flour
4 Bananas – large, very ripe and mashed up
2 Cups packed brown sugar
1 Cup of Sour Cream
1 Cup Butter
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1/8 teaspoon salt
Cream together brown sugar and butter.
Add eggs one at a time beating well in between.
Add mashed bananas, then flour, baking soda and salt.
Spoon in sour cream.
Drizzle in vanilla.
Pour batter into two 9-inch cake pans and bake in a 350F pre-heated oven for about 45 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.
Allow cooling in pan for about 15 minutes then turn out on wire racks and allow cooling completely.
Once cooled, using a serrated knife, slice each cake in half.
**I put the cake halves in the freezer while I make the frosting – it helps with keeping cake crumbs to a minimum when frosting the cake***
Ingredients for frosting:
½ Cup Butter
4 Cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
Put it all in a bowl and beat until fluffy.
Place a dollop of frosting on the bottom of a plate or cake server and secure one layer of cake then frost on top.
Add another layer of cake on top and repeat the process not worrying about how “perfect” the frosting looks or goes down – this is a very rustic cake.
I added a few white cherries because I love them and we had some in the fridge. You can also add 1 cup walnuts to the cake batter and a few on top of the cake but we do not care for walnuts so I left them out.
I hope you enjoy it!
Thank you for the wonderful history behind this cake and the recipe. I’m definitely going to try it.
You are welcome and you will love it!
You have known/known of the most interesting people and I love the way you tell your stories about them! So, StIney was your Grandmother, right? The cake sounds really good, too. Seems like I always have ripe bananas around here, so I will be giving this cake a try real soon. Thanks, Kelli!
ps-we don’t care for walnuts, either. 😉
I’ve always said there is no reason to have uninteresting friends! 🙂 Haha! Yes, she was – but I never met her and when you do not ever meet anyone, it is difficult to conjur up the feelings people who have known them feel. That’s always been the hard part of being me. I bet you love the cake – let me know!
Fun story behind the recipe. Thanks for sharing it and giving us a glimpse into your heritage. I bet your family is glad you have a cooking blog! This cake looks scrumptious!
I really don’t think many family members besides my daughter read my blog. I have 2 cousins who regularly read it, Debbie and Teresa, but no one else that I know of. I’m glad you enjoyed the story!
love how the frosting spills over the sides. Swooning here 🙂 Thanks for sharing your stories. Fun to see them connect with food.
Thank you Liz!
Heirloom recipes are the, especial ones tied to stories like this. Greatest, Kelli.
Oops, I hate word completion. Let’s try this again. “I love heirloom recipes like this, especially ones tied to family stories. Great post, Kelli.”
Thank you! I was reading between the lines and figured out what you meant. 🙂
Choc Chip Uru
I love how majority of your dishes and bakes have history 😀
This sour cream cake looks addictive and moist!
Choc Chip Uru
Thank you CCU – I’m afraid I will run out of stories soon though – a person only has so many recipes with stories behind them! 🙂
Wow – that icing looks like a lot more than just icing sugar, butter and vanilla. Looks so fluffy! Does it taste like buttercream?
Yes, it is very very sweet – but the cake is not all that sweet so it’s a nice combo. I give my Kitchaide all the credit for the fluffiness!
Thanks for this. I copied it. I have and old recipe for banana bread that I have made for years.
This kind of cake was easy to make in an old oven that did not have temperature control. Banana bread and cakes didn’t dry out so bad while baking in a wood oven. I am looking forward to making this. Old fashion butter cream frosting. I will post it on my blog so you can see my results.
Oh I’m so glad you are back to blogging! I have missed you – better get over there and read!!
Mary @ place4papers
Yummy. So appetizing and it doesn’t sound any difficult. I think it’s a perferct recipe for a beginner in baking, like me.
It is and you will love it!!
What a beautiful story, Kelli! This blog will be such a wonderful source of your family’s history for all of your grandchildren and their grandchildren and beyond. Stiney’s cake looks delicious but, you, my friend, you are the treasure!
Awww…thank you! You are such a sweet friend. Love you!!
Anita at Hungry Couple
You know I love these stories of yours. And I love banana cake!
This is really a great cake – AND I’m glad you like the stories, because I’m full of them! 🙂