Tuesday, July 20, 2010

TWD - Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake

It’s my turn to pick the TWD recipe! Yeah me! I feel like I get to be princess for a day! Many of the bakers in our group wait until the last minute to carefully make their pick. Me? I’ve had my eye on this recipe for months! Each time a new round of picks was announced, I would cross my fingers and whisper “please, please, please no one pick the banana cake”. When I saw the email asking for my choice, I jumped on it in about two seconds. No joke. I’ve made this cake a bunch of times in lots of ways. I love this cake so much that I wanted to share it with everyone. I hope you love it as much as I do!
This weekend, I made the cake as written and frosted and filled the cake with brown sugar cream cheese frosting but more often, I’ve used this recipe to make cupcakes. I get about 36 regular sized cupcakes which are super moist and full of banana flavor.

I vary the basic recipe for the cake and some of my favorite toppings are Cashew and Coconut Frosting (German Chocolate Cake-like Frosting), Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting and a Banana Slice with a Caramel Drizzle, and Cream Cheese Icing and Toasted Coconut.

But my all-time favorite is this one…

Caramelized Banana Cake with Brown Sugar Cream Cheese Frosting and Toasted Coconut
I used some of the brown sugar and the rum from the recipe along with an extra tablespoon of butter to caramelize three and a half ripe bananas. I let them cool a bit and added them to the batter as the recipe directs. I made sure to scrape up some of the caramelized sugar from the skillet – you can see them in the batter …
This cupcake was banana-y and caramel-y and yummy. Over the top delicious. No joke. One of the great advantages of cooking the banana before had is that you can use ripe bananas! No need to wait around waiting for brown spots to appear on your prized fruit.

Here’s the recipe, which can also be found on pages 204-205 of Dorie Greenspan’s “Baking: From My Home to Yours”.

Lots-of-Ways Banana Cake

The inspiration to bake a banana cake always seems to strike when a bunch of bananas are mottling on the counter. But just because you’ve got the fruit doesn’t mean you have all the other stuff you need, which is why I created this amazingly flexible cake. No coconut? Skip it. No brown sugar? Use white. No coconut milk? Use milk, buttermilk, sour cream or yogurt. You can serve the cake as a single layer or a double (the recipe makes two layers, plain, frosted, filled or frosted and filled. Take a look at Playing Around for some ideas.

If you make the cake with the ingredients listed first below, you’ll get a consistency that isn’t heavy but not featherweight either. It has enough substance to chew on, but its light enough to entice you to go back for a second serving … or a third.
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup (packed) light brown sugar (or granulated sugar)
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 tablespoons dark rum or Malibu coconut rum (optional)
About 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (you should have 1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups)
½ cup canned unsweetened coconut milk, regular (stir well before measuring) or “lite” (or whole milk, buttermilk, sour cream, or plain yogurt)
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut, preferably toasted (or an equal amount of moist, plump dried fruit, such as currants, raisings, chopped apricots, cranberries, blueberries, or halved cherries, or a combination of coconut and dried fruit)

Getting Ready: Center a rack in the oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Butter two 9x2-inch round cake pans, dust the insides with flour and tap out the excess. Put the pans on a baking sheet.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together. Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat at medium speed for a couple of minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the vanilla and rum. You’ll have a beautiful satiny batter. Now lower the speed and add the bananas-the batter will curdle, but that’s fine; it will come together as you add the remaining ingredients. Still on low speed, add the dry and liquid ingredients alternately, adding the flour mixture in three portions and the coconut milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). Mix just until everything is incorporated. Switch to a rubber spatula and gently stir in the coconut. Divide the batter evenly between the two pans. Bake for about 45 minutes, or until the cakes are a deep golden brown. They should start to pull away from the sides of the pans and a thin knife inserted into their centers will come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a cooling rack and cool for 5 minutes, then unmold and invert onto another rack to cool to room temperature right side up.

Playing Around
Frosting:
To frost one layer or to fill and frost both layers, consider Sweetened whipped cream to which you’ve added vanilla, a splash of dark rum or Malibu coconut rum and toasted coconut, Marshmallow frosting (p. 247), Chocolate Whipped Cream (page 457) and just for fun, a crown of chocolate shavings (p. 471) or Bittersweet Ganache (p. 453).

Rum Syrup: If you like the flavor of rum, you can douse the cakes with rum syrup as soon as they come out of the oven (see page 226 for the syrup recipe-give these cakes the same treatment you’d give the Rum-Drenched Vanilla Cakes).

One-Layer Cake: Serve just one layer, lightly sprinkled with confectioners’ sugar or cocoa powder, and accompany it with lightly whipped cream and/or ice cream (chocolate, coconut, vanilla, or coffee) and/or Hot Fudge Sauce (page 465).

Grand Banana Sundae: You can cut one cake into small cubes and make a sundae. Toss the pieces of cake with some cubes of fresh banana and a little rum and top with ice cream, hot fudge sauce and whipped cream. Why not go all the way and add some toasted coconut too?

Thank you for visiting my blog today (please come back soon) and be sure to visit the rest of the TWD bakers to see lots-of-versions of this fantastic cake!

59 comments:

Cakelaw said...

Hi there, thanks for being our host this week. Your cake looks super dooper, and I love the sound of all your creative versions - especially the caramelised banana one.

Amanda said...

Thanks for coming by and bidding me farewell Kimberly :) It's ideal that my final TWD post would be of the cake I would have chosen! :) You beat me to it, but I'm glad you did. This is a fabulous cake and I'm happy to see someone appreciate it as much as me! :)

FireintheBreeze (Brittany) said...

Amazing cake, i love the sound of the caramalized banana frosting. Thanks for the inspiration, and well done on choosing a great recipe

jaysfavoritefoods said...

This was a fabulous recipe and your cake looks so incredible!!! Thanks for the pick!

Charli said...

Great pick this week! I love all of your options--the caramelized banana option does sound divine.

Amber Marie said...

Great pick this week - it is definitely a hit! The brown sugar cream cheese frosting sounds so good! I want to experiment more with this one :)

Paula said...

The brown sugar cream cheese frosting sounds like the perfect fit for this cake. Thanks for hosting this week.

The Food Librarian said...

Yummmmmmy selection! Thanks...I can't wait to make it again. Love all your variations too!

Cristine said...

Thanks for hosting! I loved this cake and can't wait to try your variations!

Valerie said...

So many options ergo so many excuses to make this several times. I love your variations! Thank you for an amazing pick. :D

steph- whisk/spoon said...

thanks for picking a delicious and flexible recipe! love all the "lots of ways" you've made it!

Flourchild said...

Girl you did goood! Thanks for the excellent choice! I loved this cake and you are a great hostess!!

Peggy said...

Oh wow- yours is nothing short of spectacular! Thanks for choosing this. I love the toasted coconut on yours. Thanks for dropping by my blog this morning too!

dharmagirl said...

your cake is simply gorgeous! thanks for sharing your variations--i'm going to try them next time. i loved this recipe:)

Stephanie said...

Yummm caramelized banana! GREAT selection!

Monica said...

I love the choice this week (so did my family!) and I made a note on the book about your idea of the caramilized banana.

Thanks for visiting my blog as well...

Tia said...

great pic kimberly~ and i love the great job you did on the frosting :) Tia

Jessica of My Baking Heart said...

Beautiful photos, Kimberly! And such a great pick - thanks!! :)

Jacque said...

How exciting that you got to chose this cake after all of your variations. They look fantastic!

stacey said...

I love your variations! I think I'll have to give the cupcakes a try next time I've got some mottled bananas around... :) Thanks for a great pick this week!

LDH said...

Great pick ~ I really enjoyed this recipe! I just love the cupcakes you made and think I will try this next time! So nice stopping by to visit with you and see just how delicious your baking turned out!

Kindly, ldh

The Food Hunter said...

I like the cup cake version. they look really cute and delicious.

Heather Davis said...

Wow all your variations look great! Thanks for choosing this recipe I loved it.

Pamela said...

Thanks for choosing this recipe this week. It's neat that it's a true favorite of yours and it's cool to see all of your variations. Caramelizing bananas sounds heavenly!

Clivia said...

Thanks for hosting this great recipe! Next time, I'll try it with the carmelized bananas and your icing.

Jules Someone said...

Ok, WOW! Those are some amazing cakes. Nice job!

Nicole said...

Wow, that last variation looks incredible! I'm not much of a banana fan but I just may try that. Thanks for picking such a great recipe.

cindy said...

Great pick! I can see myself making this over and over! Great ideas and photos!

Rachel said...

Nice job on the cupcakes!

Paula said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
sarahe said...

thanks for the pick! this was perfect, and your cake looks so fancy!

dorie said...

I was wondering when this cake would turn up and here it is in such beautiful variations. I love that you caramelized the bananas -- a great idea!

Mary said...

Thank you for being a hostess with the mostess. I love all the varieties you made...you did a fabulous job and I can't wait to try the caramelized banana version soon.

Nancy/n.o.e said...

Oh, snap! Caramelized bananas!!! I've never done that but now I can't wait until I can bake another banana cake to try the technique. Thanks for choosing this recipe; it's a classic. Beautiful variations.

Jennifer said...

I ADORE this cake-thanks SO much for this selection!!!!!!

Carol said...

Your cake is beautiful! I love the idea of caramelizing the bananas.

Mary Ann said...

Great pick! I love this cake. All of your variations look amazing!

TeaLady said...

GREAT pick. This is a wonderfully moist and very tasty cake. Wish I had made the whole recipe now. But it's not like I can't make it over and over and over and...

Anyway. all of yours are so luscious looking.

Karen said...

Oh my goodness Kimberly! Caramelized bananas! Yum! This was a delicious pick and I am glad no one picked it before you!

Meg said...

Loved this pick--thanks! I love all of the different ways and frosting's you did!

Judy said...

This cake was such a terrific choice with all the variations. I now like banana cake better than banana bread, which has always been one of my favorite treats. Thanks!

Mary said...

Great pick this week, and all your varieties sound wonderful! I'll have to try that coconut-cashew frosting!

Criollobylisa said...

You did a fabulous job and have completely convinced me to try this recipe again with some of your ideas!!!

Piggy said...

Thanks for choosing this recipe, love it!!

margot said...

Oh, wow, your cake looks amazing! The caramelized banana version sounds heavenly. I'm glad your first choice was still available when it was your turn!

AmyRuth said...

Wow Kimberly, you have just rivaled the original variations with your caramelized banana addition. I really learned something I plan on utilizing. I loved baking along this week and thanks for a great pick!
AmyRuth

Sweet and Savory said...

Thanks for selecting this recipe. I see it disappearing, every time, I turn my back.

I can't get over all the ways you presented it. You are talented.

Nickki said...

Thanks for picking this brilliant recipe! I love all of your variations and will try them all
:-) Your cupcakes look gorgeous! I bet the caramelised banana would be so delicious!

jillbert said...

Thank you for the great pick this week! My cake was pretty basic, and it was delicious. Your versions with the caramelized banana and the different frostings sound wonderful!

spike. said...

I can see why you wanted this one as your pick- it is an amazing recipe. Your versions look AMAZING!

Danica's Daily said...

OMG ~ WOW!!!! I think the caramel brown sugar frosting would be my favorite, but, really, I'd take any of them....great job!!!

Fantastic job and beautiful pix/presentation

Beth said...

I can't wait to try one or more variations of this recipe. Just wondering -- how long did you bake the cupcakes?

Jaime said...

great pick, i loved it! the way you did the caramelized bananas is how i do my bananas foster w/ice cream :) YUM. i like the idea of the caramel drizzle...may do that w/what i have left!

The Mrs. said...

Wow, Your cakes look so lovely! Thanks for choosing such a delicious recipe! I enjoyed baking along with you! :o)

SweetsSuccessBaking said...

Love the way you can alter this recipe and still come out great. Thanks!

Mary at
http://sweetssuccessbaking.blogspot.com/

Kayte said...

Dear Princess for a Day...thank you for choosing this as my husband enjoyed every last bit of it. He took it for lunch dessert for a week as the rest of us are little pills about bananas IN things. Your cake looks amazing, but I am thinking that little cupcake might have sold more shares in the banana cake around here, it looks really wonderful!! Have a great weekend!

Katrina said...

Hey, I missed getting over here last week, still trying to catch up on my ever behind reader.
Fabulous cake! Love it. Can't wait to play around with it in many more ways! Your cake looks fantastic.

Katrina said...

Hey, I missed getting over here last week, still trying to catch up on my ever behind reader.
Fabulous cake! Love it. Can't wait to play around with it in many more ways! Your cake looks fantastic.

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