I’ve been looking for a nice wooden pallet to use as a background for some photos for a few weeks now. Everything was either too expensive or just not what I was looking for – it’s hard to simultaneously be overly picky and operating on a tight budget.
After a month of search, I decided to take a leaf out of my mom’s book and do it myself. I entered Home Depot like a DIY-pro on Sunday afternoon and spent a solid 10 minutes walking around convinced I was expert enough to figure out this project on my own before I caved and called my mom for help. After 20 minutes talking to her, checking out some handy DIY pins and talking to two different Home Depot associates, I left with 2 pieces of perfectly-sized wood, two cans of ultra matte spray paint, and some sanding blocks.
Less than 2 hours later, I had two magnificent wooden boards perfect for photo ops! You can see my favorite above. They’re still a work in progress – I think I need to take the sanding blocks to them again, but I’m pretty proud that I accomplished it all myself and for less than $25!
Anyways, I thought the wood was the perfect background for this All-American Red, White & Blue Cake just in time for the 4th of July! My family is huge on banana cake – this recipe is a popular request when birthday season rolls around. I’ll be heading home for the first time in a few months this weekend, so I figured a patriotic banana cake was the best thing to make in honor of my ‘homecoming.’
Now, to be honest, this cake will never make it home. My coworkers are going to love chowing down on this tomorrow at work though! This banana cake is ridiculously soft and the cream cheese frosting with a hint of cinnamon is the perfect topping. The M&M’s don’t do too much for the cake, but they do make it a heck of a lot more patriotic! No matter what cake you decide to make to celebrate the Fourth, these red, white and blue M&Ms are the perfect way to add a festive kick.
Whether you make it for the Fourth or for a fun summer afternoon at home, be sure to let me know how much you love it! I could eat this cake for breakfast, lunch, and dinner if it wasn’t frowned upon.
Patriotic M&M Banana Cake
- 1/2 cup butter, room temp
- 2/3 cup brown sugar
- 2/3 cup sugar
- 2 eggs, room temp
- 1 tbsp. vanilla ex
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 2 cups flour
- 1 cup buttermilk
- 3 extra ripe bananas, mashed
Cream Cheese Frosting
- 12 oz. cream cheese, room temp
- 3/4 cup butter, room temp
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 2 tsp. vanilla
- pinch of salt
- 1-2 tsp. cinnamon, depending on your preference
- 1 bag Red, White & Blue M&Ms, if desired
DirectionsPreheat the oven to 325 degrees and grease (2) 8-inch rounds. Cut parchment paper into circles and line the pans to ensure the cakes don’t stick!
In the bowl of your stand mixer, beat together the softened butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add in eggs, one at a time followed by vanilla.
In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda. Slowly add the dry mix into your wet mix with the mixer on a low speed. Alternate adding in the buttermilk but be sure to begin and end with the flour! Once the mix is just combined, fold in the mashed bananas. Divide the batter between the two baking pans and bake for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.
Set the cakes on a cooling rack and prepare your frosting!
To make the frosting, beat together your butter and cream cheese until smooth. Slowly incorporate the powdered sugar until smooth. Add the pinch of salt, cinnamon, and vanilla. Scrape the sides of the bowls well and scoop into a piping bag to decorate your cake.
To get the fun pattern, I lined the bottom of the cake alternating 5 M&Ms of each color. When you start the next row, start the color over one M&M to create the twisty pattern on the outside! Get creative with your pattern & have fun!