Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Sam's Baking Success: Banana Cake

So, my friend Sam Whitaker has recently been inspired to bake (maybe I'm rubbing off on her...hehe). Past baking experiences had left her with a bad taste in her mouth, literally, but her will is strong. The woman can cook you some vegetarian soul food that'll really stick to your bones. She is an amazing cook (you've never had mashed potatoes until you've had hers), but was an intimidated baker. Well, today was a triumphant success in the Whitaker Kitchen! Just Look:

She made the Decadent Banana Cake inspired by Southern Living: Our Best-Ever Cakes & Pies. Although she did not follow the recipe step by step, the result was one tasty banana loaf and one tasty banana short cake (not shortcake, but a short cake).

2 1/2 cups plus 5 1/2 tbsp cake flour
1 tbsp baking soda
pinch of salt
1/2 unsalted butter, softened
1 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
4-5 large, very ripe (like stinky brown) bananas
2/3 cup buttermilk

Preheat oven to 350. Sift flour, baking soda and salt (this is an unecessary step, you can simply wisk it. Most flours come pre-sifted these days). Beat butter with an electric mixer on medium until smooth. Add sugars and mix on medium until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating mixture until blended after each egg. Add bananas and mix on low speed. Add 1/3 flour mixture and 1/3 buttermilk, mix on med-low until just blended (do not over mix). Add another 1/3 of flour mixture and 1/3 of buttermilk, mix on med-low until just blended (do not over mix). Add the remaining flour mixture and buttermilk and mix on med-low until just blended (do not over mix). Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 10 minutes and then transfer to wire racks to cool for about an hour. Ice (or not) and eat.

Brooke Hint: Every time you add another ingredient, stop your mixer. And when a recipe says not to "over mix" or to "mix until just blended", this means that you mix the ingredients just barely. If you over mix a cake or a loaf, they will be dense and a little hard. If you want the cake/loaf to be moist and soft, you want to have little flour balls in your dough. These flour balls are your friends, they create air pockets and fluff!

For this cake, Sam used a standard Butter Cream icing. I don't feel like icing is necessary with this cake, the flavors are wonderful without the sugar additive. In fact, they would make delicious morning muffins. However, the Cream Cheese frosting on the Carrot Cake below would be a good match.

P.S. Other things Sam makes well...babies!


Jeris said...

can u PLEASE tell me if the quarterly Our best ever Cakes and Pies has the recipe towards the back of the issue that has the cheesecake with sundried tomatoes, etc., but is decorated with eatable flowers...i have been trying to locate that issue from last april or so...i would love a copy of the recipe or the exact publisher so i can contact them.

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