I'm choosing a layer cake to make for my sister's birthday. She's not into chocolate. At first I thought a banana cake with cream cheese frosting (from Fannie Farmer Baking Book---i've made this before and it was great), but my bananas are refusing the ripen (three days ago they were partly green, now they are about just ripe but not at all overripe and not very flavorful---I tried one) and I need to make the cake tonight. In the same Fannie Farmer Baking Book, I see a recipe for buttermilk spice cake that sounds good and I've got all the ingredients for it, but I've never made it. A friend suggested a frosting made from just a combination of mascarpone and lemon curd (equal parts, plus adding small amounts of lemon zest and juice). Another recipe (on epicurious) had a lemon-mascarpone frosting that had lemon curd, mascarpone, lemon juice and zest, plus sweetened whipped cream added to fluff it up. I'm not sure how the lemon would go with the clove/allspice/nutmeg combo in the cake. Alternatively, I could go with just a mascarpone frosting, which is made very much like a standard cream cheese frosting (cheese, confectioner's sugar, small amount of butter and possibly a little lemon juice).
Any thoughts, or other killer cake recipes that are not complicated?
Another aspect is that the cake needs to keep until Saturday (including a two-hour drive). This means I should probably just transport it unfrosted, make the frosting at my sister's place, then assemble cake there. Any tips on transporting unfrosted cake layers? Could I make the frosting ahead, bring it in the car, then assemble at the destination? I'm thinking it may not need to be chilled. Also, I don't have a cake carrier...