Thursday, August 27, 2009

This S**t is Bananas, B-A-N-A-N-A-S

You might think that being unemployed would give me more time to bake. On the one hand, you're right - it does. On the other hand, my husband says i'm making him fat and spending too much money on groceries. So, if you're wondering why I only post about once a week, that's why. Here's the thing. I could start making more, but only if people want to eat what i make. Therefore (thence? thus?), I'll make you an offer: I will share my confections with those who are willing to come pick them up from me, because lets face it, i shouldn't have to do all the work AND deliver! It won't solve the grocery bill problem, but at least I won't be making my husband fat.

This Banana cake completely makes up for my semi-failure with the yellow cake. It was awesome, though not soul saving. And what made it even better, was the delightful almond butter cream icing. mmmmm.

For the Banana Cake (from the complete Baking cookbook):

Preheat the Oven to 325 and spray two 9" round pans with nonstick spray.

you'll need:
3 cups cake flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (about 4 large ones)
6 tbsp buttermilk (you can make this by mixing vinegar with regular milk - look online to find the proportions, i can't remember)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup chopped pecans (it says so in the book, but i didn't have any, so i left them out)

Of course, I didn't have any butter milk (well actually, i did but it was like 2 weeks past its expiration date, so that doesn't count), so of course I had to call Justin to go to the store for me on his way home. This is why the first requirement for any place I live is that it be really, really, really near a grocery store. I NEVER remember to make sure i have all my ingredients before I start.

Start by whisking together the flour, baking soda, salt, and baking powder. Don't confuse the baking soda and baking powder measurements, i've done this before and it never ends well.

In a mixer bowl fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar till creamy. Then beat in the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Next add the bananas, buttermilk and vanilla and mix until blended. I was worried because it looked a little curdled, but i guess it's supposed to look like that, because it turned out great!

Using a wooden spoon gradually stir flour mixture just until incorporated and fold in pecans. Okay - why always a wooden spoon? I don't think it makes a difference... Can anyone explain to me how a WOODEN spoon is different from a plastic spatula? Does the wood make the cake taste better?

Divide batter evenly between prepared pans and bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. About 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool in pans on a wire rack for 10 minutes before transferring to rack to cool completely.

Icing next:

all you need is
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened, cut into cubes
3 1/2 cups confectioner's sugar
1/4 cup milk, preferably whole
2 tsp almond extract.

Like when making the cake, I neglected to make sure I had all my ingredients before starting to make the icing. Turns out I didn't have any whole milk, only skim. So, I asked my dear husband, and he said I could mix the skim milk with just a little heavy cream, which I did have. So, if you have heavy cream by some odd circumstance, you can mix it with your skim milk and it works.

Also, the recipe for the icing says to use a food processor, which I have but for which I have no room. I used my mixer.

Mix/process butter until smooth, about 30 seconds (probably more in a mixer), scrape down the bowl and add confectioners sugar. Mix/process until it just begins to gather then with motor/blade running, drizzle milk and almond extract in and mix or process until smooth. I made a really big mess doing this.

I thought the icing recipe made a little less than I would've liked since I used it as a layer between my two cakes and on the top, but I made it work. However, I suggest that if you plan on serving this as a birthday cake or something, you make at least 1 1/2 times the recipe just to have plenty for decorating.


As Julia Child would say (and Julie from the movie Julie & Julia) - Bon Apitiet! (How do i spell that?)

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