Friday, October 24, 2008

My favorite Banana Cake

banana cake copy

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. :)

banana cake3

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.

banana cake2

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.


Kannada Cuisine said...

Looks fabulous and yummy. Will bookmark it and give it a try!

Debbie said...

Banana bread is one of my favorites and I love trying different variations of it. I will definitely try this!!!

Anonymous said...

What a fun tradition. When we road trip we stop to get coffee and the rest just unfolds. I like your idea of road trip banana cake very much.

The Food Librarian said...

Oh, these look just wonderful! Great food and great memories!

Growing Ames said...

yummy Mandy!
My fave is actually banana cake. I love cos its Banana... Do i get one when you are back? Else you may want to think of durian cake for me too?
1 question: Who's helping you to finish up all the food?

Manggy said...

I haven't tried frozen banana cake before, but I do love eating Sara Lee poundcake from the freezer :) Maybe it could have an application as a frozen dessert component :) In any case, I've no doubt it tastes really good. That noisella looks like the most decadent thing ever!

Irene said...

Looks fantastic, especially with the idea of swirling the chocolate into it -- mmmmmm! That part just got straight to me, and now, I must try it for a friend whose birthday is coming up and who loves banana bread. Rose Levy's recipes never disappoint.

Snooky doodle said...

Yummy I m always searching new banana cake recipes. This looks awesome. I love hazelnut spread ahhh

thecoffeesnob said...

That banana cake was the first thing i ever made from the Cake Bible- one forkful and i was in love :D

Can i just say how cute that mini loaf pan is and i loved that you made the loaves all different. How much fun is that.

By the way, have you tried the chocolate fudge cake from the same book? It's incredible- especially paired with the silk meringue frosting. Mmm.

Helene said...

I love all your banana bread recipes but this one sure is perfect!

Clumbsy Cookie said...

I totally get what you mean by emotionally connoted cake. For me is a chocolate cake that is present in a lot of situations. i really love your cute pan and the fun additions! I think I would have loved the chocolate spread one as well! Have to try this recipe!

Manuela © said...

When we do a recipe too often it's because it's really good :)

It looks great!

Patsyk said...

Looks absolutely wonderful! I love how you change up what is inside it!

Unknown said...

Looks just gorgeous..

Anonymous said...

oh..mandy...i just gave it a try..and the end product tastes really really really good...thanks for sharing~~

Anonymous said...

your photos are so cute; i love the little breads! i just made banana cake recently myself. i definitely want to try yours!

Anonymous said...

I love banana bread and this looks delicious. I will definitely come back to this recipe.

Anne said...

I have tried this recipe a year ago...and yes..I love it too :)

Patricia Scarpin said...

Oh, I'm glad you shared it with us - what a delicious looking cake! And I love each and every addition to them. Can't even pick a favorite!

Maria said...

I think this will be my new favorite!!

Deborah said...

I'm always looking for new things to do with bananas, and these little loaves sound fantastic!

Anonymous said...

What a coincidence, we both posted a banana bread, sort of:) mine is chocolate banana:) Your cake looks soooo good! I loved the story behind it too:) Bookmarking the recipe!

PS: Your pictures are so beautiful.

Y said...

Note to self : Buy bananas! Love that chocolate hazelnut spread too... mmm!

Unknown said...

looks like a great recipe... thanks for sharing... :)

Eileen said...

I will have to try this. My family loves anything banana (even my French Bulldog!)

javapot said...

Since I had some bananas lying around, tried and it was good, tks for sharing your recipe. *something wrong with my PC so can't view any of yr pix - hope I made it right*

Zo-Ya said...

Hi -Was trying to locate what to do with 3 over-ripe bananas and I chanced upon this recipe-just baked them and its really nice..The best of the few I have so far tried out with bananas:) Am a complete novice at baking and am really thankful for this wonderful post!Thanks!

cindy said...

I made this last night and it was really good. It was light and fluffy. Definitely going to make it again

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