Sunday, June 13, 2010

A two-fer

Another cruddy day outside means you get two blog posts in one weekend!  Well, that and the fact that I had bananas that were on their way out.

I searched a few cookbooks for a good banana recipe.  I found what I was looking for in my Better Homes & Gardens New Cookbook, edited by Jennifer Dorland Darling.  I think my good friends Scott & Sarah Patton gave me this many years ago.

Banana Cake
2 eggs
2-1/4 cups all purpose flour
1-1/2 cups sugar
1-1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. mashed ripe bananas (about 3)
3/4 cup buttermilk or sour milk
1/2 cup shortening
1 tsp vanilla

1. Allow eggs to stand at room temperature for 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, grease and flour two 8" or 9" round cake pans, or one 13x9 oblong pan. Set aside

2. In a large mixing bowl, stir together flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt.  Add bananas, buttermilk, shortening, and vanilla.  Beat on low speed until combined.  Add eggs; beat on medium speed for 2 minutes.  Pour batter into prepared pan(s).

3. Bake in a 350 oven for 25 - 30 minutes for round pans, about 30 minutes for oblong pan, or until a wooden toothpick inserted near centers out clean.  Cool cake layers in pans on wire racks about 10 minutes.  Remove cake layers from pans; cool thoroughly on racks.  Or, place 13x9 pan on a wire rack; cool thoroughly.  Frost with desired frosting.

There's a note at the top of the recipe that says, "For the purist, only Cream Cheese Frosting will do on this cake."  Far be it from me to go against the purists.  So, I frosted with this recipe, out of the same book:

Cream Cheese Frosting
1 8-ounce package cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 tsp. vanilla
5-3/4 to 6-1/4 sifted powdered sugar

Beat cream cheese, butter, and vanilla until light and fluffy.  Gradually add 2 cups of the powdered sugar, beating well.  Gradually beat in additional powdered sugar to reach spreading consistency.  Cover and store frosted cake in the refrigerator.

A couple of things.  First off, I did not have any buttermilk, so I had to make 'sour milk'.  I felt a bit like a mad scientist.  I think I may have even cackled like one, for the benefit of my 14 year old baby brother who's staying with me this weekend.  The cookbook says to measure out 1 TBSP of lemon juice or vinegar per 1 cup of sour milk needed.  Put the vinegar in the measuring cup, then measure out the milk to equal 1 cup of liquid.  Since I needed only 3/4 c., I had to do some math...(carry the 1...).  I needed 2 1/4 tsp.  The result looked like normal milk, but 'gritty'.  It was weird.

The kids also had great fun poking at the gross bananas (they're sooo squishy!!).  If I have bananas that no one wants to eat, and I don't feel like baking, I throw them in the freezer.  I take them out the night before I am going to bake.  The result is a banana that is completely black on the outside, slimy on the inside.  You can't imagine that we live in a world where you could cook with these things and have the result be something tasty.  But it works!  The batter for this cake was the consistency you expect from a cake batter, quite runny.

I think the cook time is off on the recipe.  At 30 minutes, the top was not brown, and the middle of the cake still jiggled.  I cooked for about 42 minutes.  The result is to your left.

To your right, you'll observe the frosting.  This recipe is superb, and I think it will be my go to for future cream cheese frosting needs.  I used toward the low end of the measurement indicated for the confectioners sugar.  I also added a couple of splashes of milk to make it a little easier to spread.

Below is the frosted cake (I'm starting to feel like a tour guide).  I used the 13x9 pan because I'm lazy.  What can I say?  Our favorite neighborhood watering hole was very generous with their pours last night.

If you love banana bread, you will love this cake.  It is delicious.  It is moist and flavorful.  The only tweak I might make is to add some cinnamon.  I think it would be a great addition to the flavor profile (la-dee-dah).  The cream cheese icing is the perfect compliment.  Here's what a piece looks like:

On to the next baking adventure........

xo, Shell

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