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Thursday, June 17, 2010

Banana Cake and Icing

There are so many places you can find recipes on the Internet that it's astounding. However, like all things on the Internet quality varies widely!

I had my Burro Bananas that I wanted to use in a dish. I'd originally had my eye on a Banana Tart Tatin I'd seen at Saveur. But, the more I looked at it, the more I thought it would probably go to waste. With just me and Michael, eating up such a hugely rich dessert is hard. I had no social events on the calendar so decided to opt for something that would keep longer.

I finally decided to do a banana cake. I began searching around the Internet to look at recipes here and there. Finally, I saw one at that looked fairly straight forward. It even had a banana icing.

So, into the kitchen I went with printed recipe in hand. I knew I was going to alter the icing just a bit by leaving out the coconut and nuts. Michael isn't a huge coconut fan (although I love it) and I didn't have any pecans in the pantry at the moment and didn't want to go buy more.

I followed the recipe exactly as described on the site. The result was mixed. While the cake was very tasty, the texture was much too dry and crumbly. I had almost switched up the ingredient order when I read it because I feared that might be the result. However, against my better judgment I forged ahead using their order which had the flour being added much too soon so it was over processed. So, I'll give you the order that I think will correct the problem with the somewhat dry and crumbly texture of this cake.

The icing was truly an experience. It's actually quite good, but I was very surprised to find it had the texture of Marzipan! Yes, I could literally have rolled out this icing just like a sheet of Marzipan. As it was, I didn't bother with my icing knife or spatula and instead used my hands to mold the icing to the cake. I left it plain, but this could easily be decorated quite beautifully.

So, here's the Banana Cake with Icing using my ingredient order that should turn out a much more nicely textured cake.

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour
1 2/3 cup granulated sugar
1 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup shortening
1/3 cup butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
2 medium mashed ripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract

Banana  Frosting

1/3 cup butter
2 pounds confectioners' sugar, sifted
1/2 cup mashed banana
1 teaspoon lemon juice
4 drops yellow food coloring

For Cake: Preheat oven to 350°.

Sift together the cake flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

In mixer add shortening and butter and beat using paddle attachment until creamed. Add mashed banana and vanilla mix until incorporated. Add eggs and beat until yellows disappear.

Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternating and mixing after each addition. Begin and end with flour. Mix just until incorporated.

Grease 2 9-inch round or square layer cake pans and line bottoms with parchment paper.

Dived batter into the two pans; bake at 350° for 25 to 30 minutes, until cake tester inserted in center of cake comes out clean.

Remove from oven and let cool 5 minutes in pans; remove from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

For Frosting: Cream butter; add sugar and bananas which have been sprinkled with lemon juice. Blend well. Blend in yellow food coloring. Spread between layers and on sides and top of cake.

Note: since this icing closely resembles Marzipan in texture, you may want to use a banana flavored buttercream between the layers, but either works.

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