My friends, this is the final weekend of this particular May, and so tomorrow will mark the end of my Food Friendly May posts. That means it’s definitely time to roll out the desserts! I’ve had cake on my mind a lot of late, so I thought today I’d share one of my favorite cake recipes from one of my favorite cookbooks: The Cake Bible by Rose Levy Beranbaum. This is the recipe that makes me dance gleefully in the fruit and vegetable aisle of my friendly neighborhood grocery store when really, really ripe bananas go on mega-sale. In fact, it’s been known to produce drooling of a Pavlovian nature when I tell friends ‘bananas were on sale today,’ because they know what wonders lie in wait when they come to visit.
Cordon Rose Banana Cake:
(all ingredients should be at room temperature before you start)
2 large, ripe bananas (approximately 1 Cup, mashed)
2Tablespoons sour cream (for extra moistness, you can actually use as much as 1/2 Cup, and I tend to be generous on this because I like my cake moist)
2 Large eggs
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 Cups sifted cake flour
3/4 Cup + 2 Tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
Preheat oven to 350F
Combine banana and sour cream until smooth (Beranbaum specifies using a food processor, but I don’t have one. I’ve found that simply using a fork or even a hand held potato masher produces perfectly good – nay, excellent – results). Add eggs, lemon zest and vanilla and blend gently.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds just to blend. Add the butter and 1/2 the banana mixture. Mix on low speed just until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and strengthen the cake’s structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining banana mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. Scrape down the sides.
Scrape the mixture into a prepared 9 inch by 2 inch baking pan or 9 inch springform pan (greased, bottom lined with parchment or waxed paper, greased again and dusted lightly with flour) and smooth surface with a spatula. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes or until a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should only start to shrink from the sides of the pan after it’s removed from the oven.
Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes on a wire rack. Then using a small, metal spatula, loosen the sides and unmold or remove the sides of the springform pan. If freezing, allow cake to cool completely before wrapping airtight. May be frozen for up to two months.
Of course, most of us – being of sound mind and eager taste buds – will probably want to frost and serve this one right away. Luckily, the very same book contains a recipe for the world’s easiest frosting, which just happens to compliment the banana cake above perfectly.
Sour Cream Ganache:
(ingredients should be room temperature before you begin)
12 ounces bittersweet chocolate
1 2/3 Cups sour cream
Melt chocolate in a double boiler or (easier and a lot less fussy) in the microwave. Remove from heat, add sour cream. Stir with a rubber spatula until uniform in color. If the mixture feels warm, transfer to cooler bowl. Frost cake…though this frosting can be kept for 3 days at room temperature, 3 weeks refrigerated, or up to 6 months in the freezer.
Serve on pretty plates like these I found over at cooking.com: