I don't remember how it begins. I bake the same banana cake for all the short and long trips we take. Of all the recipes I have, I alway bring this banana cake on board. Sometime, I bake it for friends who are travelling too. Ask my friends G and M who have since moved back to Singapore. I baked this cake when they drove down to Memphis for a marathon, and when they flew back to Singapore for good. It's funny, because I have emotionally connoted this banana cake with travel, love and well wishes.
This is also the cake I baked for my friend ST when we met in NYC. She was surprised when I took out a cold brick, covered with aluminium foil from my luggage, and presented it to her. I kept it in the freezer, I told her. She was mildly amused, but accepted it politely. After our 5 days getaway, she brought the said cake back to London. How it survived the long journey with luggages packed full with new shoes and clothes perplexed me. But ST told me it survived. And she exclaimed that the banana cake tasted different when it was at room temperature. To that, I nodded knowingly. Isn't it wonderful? A cake that can either be eaten straight from the freezer, or at room temperature. Personally, I like it at room temperature though. :)
I have been wanting to share this moist and light cake with you for a long time. Perhaps you have made it or heard about it already. Or maybe it's also your go-to banana cake recipe? The recipe comes from Rose Levy Beranbaum. The author of "The Cake Bible","The Pie and Pastry Bible" and "The Bread Bible". I love the simplicity of the recipe, and the method of beating softenend butter into dry ingredients yield a light and moist cake everytime.
Recently, I snatched a pan with 4 mini loaf cakes capacity at a bargain price. It gives me an excuse to make my favorite banana cake again with some personalization. I make a batch of batter, and divide it evenly. The first one, I sprinkle walnut on top, chocolate chips are added to another, dollop of milk chocolate hazelnut spread is swirled to the next and the last one - with a bit of everything. It's a lot of fun! Although I kind of guessed which one OCT will pick. And he confirms it later, when he asks for the one with everything! For me, I like the loaf with milk chocolate hazelnut spread. ST lugged 2 jars of it to NYC, along with other goodies that she knew I'd enjoy. Biting into the loaf with my friend hand carry chocolate spread makes me feel so loved.
The cake can also be made in muffin pan or the normal loaf pan. The time for doneness will varies, so check your cake when the smell of banana cake first hits you. Often time, it's an indication that the cake is almost ready. Don't wait until you smell burnt, which I don't have to tell you what has transpired. :p
Have a good weekend everyone!
My Favorite Banana Cake
adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum's "The Bread Bible"
2 very ripe banana, peeled and lightly mashed (1 cup, 8 oz)
1/2 cup sour cream (~4 oz)
2 large eggs
grated lemon zest from 1 lemon
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups (scant) bleached cake flour Or 1 1/2 cups bleached all-purpose flour (7 oz)
10 tablespoons granulated sugar(5 oz)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened (5 oz)
a handful of chopped walnut and chocolate chips (optional)
Nutella or other chocolate spread (optional)
Heat oven to 350 F. In the bowl, combine the mashed banana and sour cream until smooth. Add egg, lemon zest, and vanilla, mix well. In a mixer bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt on low speed for 1 min. Add in all the butter and half of the banana mixture, beat on low until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase mixer speed to medium, beat for another 1 1/2 minutes, then add the remaining banana mix in 2 parts, beating well after each addition.
Pour the batter into a greased pan (you can use muffin pan or a loaf pan). Sprinkle your choice of toppings on the cake. As the cake bakes, most of the topping will sink. Bake for 20-35 minutes, if you are using the muffin pan, and 40-50 minutes for a loaf pan or until a knife inserted into the center comes out clean.