Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Banana cake with dark chocolate ganache

I went grocery shopping yesterday and found OCT favorite fruit- banana on sale! Usually, it's selling at 59 cent/lb. But I got a full bag of almost 6 lbs bananas for $1.99. The bananas are all in good condition, except a few with dark spots on the skin. A hint of ripeness. For some reason, people here don't like their bananas with spots. But you know what? I like that! Afterall very ripe bananas are what I need to make banana cake / bread!

There are of course other fruits like strawberries, mango, grapes etc going on sale. I picked some seedless grapes for OCT's committee meeting tomorrow. Afterall, that's the main purpose for me to go grocery shopping yesterday. After picking up the 6 lb bananas, 2 lb grapes and 2 gallons of milk, I have reached my weight limit and it's time to go. I guess I have to go back sometime later for the red wine that "has a hint of chocolate". I saw that on my way to the cashier.

After home, I searched through the piles of cookbooks I have for the perfect banana cake recipe. I kind of like the one I made sometime ago, but I didn't jot down the recipe....So, I got to hunt for another recipe again. The one from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook seems nice, but it requires 16 oz of mascarpone cheese. I only have 8 oz left. I flipped through Nigella Lawson's "How to be a Domestic Goddess". Her version requires rum, which I don't have either.....

The search continued for hours until I settled for Rose Levy Beranbaum's version from The Cake Bible. The same one I made sometime ago. The next question, is whether to frost the cake or not. It isn't an easy one for me. Weighing between health and taste.. In the end, taste won. I decided to make a frosting. With dark chocolate!

The end result is pretty sinful. I think I will just have a piece and pass the rest to OCT's labmates....

Banana Cake with Dark Chocolate Ganache

For the cake:
2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup plus 2 Tbs sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 large ripe bananas
1/2 cup sour cream
2 large eggs
1.5 tsp pure vanilla extract
10 Tbs unsalted butter, at room temperature

For the ganache:
1/3 cup (3 oz) heavy cream
4 ounces best-quality bittersweet/dark chocolate

Preheat the oven to 350F. Spray a 9-inch round springform pan with cooking spray, line the base with a round of parchment paper, and spray the parchment paper.

In a large bowl, stir together the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt.

In a medium bowl, mash the banana,and add in sour cream, eggs, and vanilla. Stir them until they are all well mixed together.

Add the softened butter and about 2/3 of the banana mixture to the dry ingredients in the bowl. Beat to combine. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula; then add the rest of the banana mixture, beating just to combine.

Pour and scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes, until the cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and dry. Remove the cake from the oven, let cool for 10 minutes, and then remove the other rim of the pan. Invert the cake onto a wire rack, and carefully remove the base of the pan and the parchment paper. Allow the cake to cool completely.

For the frosting:
Bring 1/3 cup of heavy cream to a near boil in a small saucepan.When it is steaming well, remove it from heat and pour over the chopped chocolate. Stir or whisk until the chocolate is melted. The mixture should be smooth. Let stand until the ganache is warm enough to be poured over the cake.

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