Sunday, May 22, 2011

50th Post, A New Name, and a Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting

About as fancy as I can make it look.
Things are looking a little different around here, aren't they? I've been thinking about it for awhile, and I finally decided to make some changes. I knew that "Put Some Honey On Your Cornpone" was to be a temporary blog name for me until I found a name that I thought really represented who I am. I found said name a couple months ago (I think it may have come to me in a dream), but I was waiting for the right moment to make the change. What better time for that than the 50th blog post?

I know, I can't believe it either. I actually stuck with this long enough to have a 50th blog post. I've been known to not finish the things I start (I know- I'm one of those people).

So what's with the new name, you might ask? In case you didn't already know, I am not just an amateur baker. I'm an amateur belly dancer as well. I've been dancing for 3 1/2 years and performing for 1 1/2 years. I love it. And I even love dancing while I'm baking. I do a lot of dancing in the kitchen, really. It's hard to resist the urge to shake my hips when good music is playing. So here I am, combining my two loves: baking and belly dancing.

To celebrate, I decided to make a two-layer cake. I've had some ripe bananas sitting in my freezer for ages, so I thought this would be a good time to make David Lebovitz's Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting (from Ready for Dessert). I made a few little changes, mostly in omitting the nuts. There are supposed to be pecans or walnuts in the cake, but anyone who knows me well knows that I am morally opposed to nuts in things that should be soft (cakes, brownies, ice cream, etc.). I think if I had a mafia name, it would be something like Ray-Ray No-Nuts. That probably sounds really wrong.

This cake is a rather tasty cake. It has been a very long time since I've had a banana cake, and this one reminds me how delicious they are. Soft, moist, mildly fruity with a hint of cinnamon. I kind of overcooked it, but you only notice it at the edges of the cake. The frosting is a little too rich for my tastes. I much prefer a sweet, more balanced frosting. This one is like a buttery ganache, which, believe it or not, is not my favorite. This cake would pair well with a nice glass of cold milk.

Banana Cake
adapted from Ready for Dessert

350g all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temp.
300g sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp instant espresso powder
2 lrg eggs, at room temp
6 tbsp lowfat sour cream
2 cups banana puree (see note)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter 2 9-inch round cake pans and line the bottoms with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients (flour through salt).

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and sugar using a hand mixer on high speed (unless you have a mega-powered hand mixer, which I do not). Beat until light and fluffy, 3 to 5 minutes. Add the vanilla and espresso powder and beat until combined. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition until combined. Mix in half of the flour mixture, and then add the sour cream and banana puree. Stir in the remaining flour mixture, being careful not to overmix.

Divide the batter evenly between the prepared pans and place in the center rack of the oven. Bake for about 40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove from the oven and let cool.

Note: For the banana puree, to get 2 cups, I used 4 small overripe bananas, 2 medium fresh bananas, and a few spoonfulls of sour cream (since the bananas provide needed liquid).

Mocha Frosting

10 oz semisweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup strong brewed coffee or espresso
10 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into pieces, at room temp

In a double boiler, melt the chopped chocolate with the coffee, stirring continuously. Once melted, remove the bowl from the heat and add the butter, stirring until thoroughly combined. Place the bowl in the fridge and stir occasionally until the frosting reaches a spreadable consistency.

To assemble the cake:
Place the first layer of cake upside-down on a cake platter.
Spread a layer of frosting over top of the cake.
Place the second layer of cake on top of the frosted layer.
Spoon the remainder of the frosting on top of the cake and spread evenly .

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