Tuesday, January 11, 2011

To Die for Banana Cake, Literally

We recently served this banana cake at a wedding and it was a hit. So much so, that a man came up to me afterward and said "I would kill you for that banana cake recipe." I'm sending him the recipe right away. And here it is for your enjoyment - a not-so-healthy treat. Please look into the fabulous cookbook, The Silver Palate, from which this and other recipes-so-good-someone-would-kill-you-for-them originate from.

Banana Cake
The Silver Palate Cookbook
Julee Rosso and Sheila Lukins

1/2 cup unsalted butter, plus more for greasing the pans
2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus extra for flouring the pans
1 cup granulated sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (we usually use a little more, about 3 medium bananas)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cream Cheese Frosting (see recipe below)
1/2 to 2 medium, firm, but ripe bananas, sliced (only use if you are serving immediately and not freezing)
1 1/2 cups shelled chopped walnuts (optional, as always)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting the top

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour two 9-inch layer cake pans.
2. Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixing bowl. Add the egg yolks and beat well. Add the mashed bananas.
3. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and add them to the butter mixture. Stir until just combined. Add the buttermilk and vanilla. Beat the egg whites to soft peaks. Fold gently into the batter.
4. Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Set on the center rack of the oven and bake until a cake tester comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes. Cool in the pans on a rack 10 minutes. Unmold and cool on a rack for 2 hours.  (If planning to freeze the cake for a later date, let the cake cool, but you don't have to wait 2 hours, and then wrap in plastic wrap and freeze).
5. When cooled, place one layer on a serving plate and frost with the cream cheese frosting. Arrange banana slices over the frosting; cover with the second layer and frost the top and sides of the cake.
6. Cover the sides of the cake with the chopped nuts, holding the nuts in your palm and pressing them firmly to the sides of the cake. Dust the top of the cake with confectioners' sugar.
Serves 8 or more. 

Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz. cream cheese at room temperature
6 TBSP unsalted butter
3 cups confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract
Juice of 1/2 lemon (optional)

1. Cream together the cream cheese and butter in a mixing bowl.
2. Slowly sift in the confectioners' sugar and continue beating until fully incorporated. The mixture should be free of lumps.
3. Stir in the vanilla, and lemon juice if desired.
Frosting for a two-layered cake. 

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