Friday, September 7, 2007

Banana Destiny

What do you call it when you have a convergence of 3 things? From 3 separate directions you are pushed to one inescapable conclusion. Fate? Karma? The Bermuda Triangle? No, It's Banana Bundt Cake!

Recently I was going to visit a friend and needed to take along a pre-birthday cake. I could have done my "ole reliable," (a cake I could make in my sleep, which I will someday get around to posting), but frankly, I get a little bored with it. I was prowling the kitchen mulling over the possibilities when I spied the four browning bananas on the counter. Wait just a horse-drawn buggy minute! Hadn't the amazing Brilynn at Jumbo Empanadas recently raved about Dorie's banana cake? I thumbed through my copy of Baking and found it, Eureka! It called for 4 bananas! I was set!

This cake is moist and delicious, like banana bread grown up and dressed for the prom. My friend was initially downcast that I failed to bring chocolate, but the banana cake won her over. I think it's especially toothsome with caramel sauce on top, but if you really need a chocolate fix, some chocolate syrup or frosting could fix that.

Classic Banana Bundt Cake
adapted from Dorie Greenspan's Baking

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsps baking soda
1/2 tsp Kosher salt
2 sticks (8 oz) unsalted butter at room temperature
2 cups sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
About 4 very ripe bananas, mashed ( 1-1/2 to 1-3/4 cups)
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt*

Center a rack in the oven and preheat it to 350 deg. F. Generously butter a 9 to 10 inch (12 cup) Bundt pan. (I have a seasoned stoneware pan that has an 11 cup capacity and it wasn't a problem.) Don't place the pan on a baking sheet as you want the heat to circulate all the way around the pan.

If you're in a rush to make this and just realized your butter and eggs aren't at room temperature, there's a secret quick fix for this. Armpits. Enlist two warm-bodied helpers and have them each put an egg or wrapped stick of butter under each armpit while you measure out the rest of the ingredients. Do not ask someone to help who isn't wearing a shirt, smells bad or is sweaty. You can figure out why. Five minutes tucked under a warm arm will take the chill of your ingredients. And if you never want to eat at my house again, fair enough.

Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl.

In the large bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the bananas. Finally, mix in half the dry ingredients (the batter might curdle, don't fret, it'll be OK), all the sour cream and then the rest of the flour mixture. Scrape the batter into the pan, rap the pan on the counter to de-bubble the batter and smooth the top. (Since I use stoneware, I rap it on a cookbook, not wanting to shatter my pan.)

Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check the cake after about 30 minutes - if it's browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool to room temperature.

This cake improves with age. If you've got the time, wrap the cooled cake in plastic and let it sit on the counter overnight.

* I've made it both with sour cream and plan yogurt. If you want to trim a few calories, go ahead and use the yogurt. It's fabulous and bursting with flavor either way.


caitlyn said...

I've made this banana bundt cake, and it's wonderful! Very moist and tasty. I brought some to work, and my colleagues thought it came from a bakery.
I've never tried the armpit method before...I'll have to see if my husband is willing to help me with that next time. ;)

Belinda said...

It looks delicious, Lynn! And with the caramel on top, and my favorite bundt shape, this cake is calling my name. :-) I just bought one of those rose petal bundt pans that I've been eyeing forever, so this is a good incentive to actually put it to use!

Mandy said...

the cake looks good! I would love to have that for breakfast with a cup of coffee on weekend morning!

Maria said...

I always end up with brown bananas because I buy a huge bundle at Costco! I always know they will go bad, but they are so cheap I can't resisit! I will have to try this cake next time. It looks great!

Cookie baker Lynn said...

Caitlyn - Isn't it great to be your own bakery?

Belinda - Ooh, lucky you! I bet this would be just gorgeous in your new pan.

Mandy - I like your idea of breakfast.

Maria - That's exactly why I had 4 bananas going bad on my counter.

Ellie said...

Aww heck. Now see - this isn't fair! Bananas are almost worth their weight in gold round here (we've been in drought conditions almost all year) so I haven't been able to have anything banany...I'd just tried not to think about it and I was doing well too! But then you had to go and post this utterly droolworthy cake (>_<)

It's just not fair, I tells ya! I want some of this too - with an extra helping of caramel sauce, if you don't mind! :)

Dee Light said...

I love Banana cake, my grandmother always seemed to have some on hand!! Thanks for sharing your recipe.

Kelly-Jane said...

I like banana cake too and that caramel dripping, gorgeous!

VeggieGirl said...

what a lovely little bundt cake! :0)

Anne said...

I love banana cakes because they are so homey and not too fussy.

Your banana cake came out lovely and those caramel sauce even made it more inviting :)

Melinda said...

Agree with the others that the caramel topping was a fine choice. I just always seem to do banana bread but need to change my repertoire a bit too!
My old stand by cake is the chocolate chiffon one. It is a cake not really made here in England (angel food cake tube pans hard to find) so they think I am very clever! But I get tired of making it too.

eatme_delicious said...

Ohh yum. I just got Dorie's Baking book! I can't wait to try a recipe from it. This one looks great! And the caramel sauce dripping off the top... perfect. Maybe I would add some chocolate chips too. I always feel guilty for adding chocolate to banana bread (though this is a cake not a bread) because in my head, banana bread is healthy.

Brilynn said...

Chocolate sauce is good, but I think caramel pairs especially well with this cake!

Rose&Thorn said...

I love armpit trick. The only person in my house who would help is my son of 13. The only thing is, he is really a hyper-active boy, and I just know exactly what will happen to my eggs and his armpits...

Destiny said...

it luks so goooooooood