Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Using Nearly-Dead Bananas

We belong to Fresh Abundance, which delivers a box of organic produce every other week. Often, there are bananas. Mostly, they get ignored until they're jam in a banana skin.

At that point, it's either throw them out or make a banana cake. Throwing them out would be boring to write about, so cake it is. I really like the "Banana Coffee Cake" from Beth Hensperger's The Best Quick Breads. I've made a few adaptations, because a) the original recipe calls for nuts, and nothing ruins a cake for Matt like nuts and b) I am categorically incapable of using a recipe as printed.

Banana Coffee Cake

3/4 cup room temperature butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 medium ripe bananas, mashed
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 bag chocolate chips
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons cinnamon

1. Preheat the oven to 350°. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan, or a "fluted tube pan" if you fear trademark infringement. If you are a crazy person like me and inexplicably want to take a picture of all your ingredients gathered together, now would be the time.

2.Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition. Add the sour cream, bananas, and vanilla, and beat until just smooth.

3. Whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, and soda. Gradually add the mixture to the banana goo and beat well until the batter is fluffy and thick, with no lumps or dry spots. Stir in about half of the bag of chocolate chips.

4. Combine half of the remaining chocolate chips with the brown sugar and cinnamon. Pour about half of the batter into the prepared pan and sprinkle with half of the chocolate chip mixture. Spoon the remaining batter into the pan, and then sprinkle the top with the remaining chocolate chip mix.

5. Bake for 55 - 60 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let the cake stand in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out on a rack to cool.

6. When cool, melt remaining chocolate chips with a tablespoon or two of butter, and drizzle over the top of the cake.

If you're not in the mood for chocolate -- I do not pretend to understand this, but apparently this is a state that exists -- replace the chocolate chips with coarsely chopped dried apricots, the vanilla with finely grated lemon zest, and glaze the cake with 2 cups of powdered sugar with enough lemon juice stirred in to make a runny icing.

No comments: