Friday, January 25, 2008
Alice Medrich had it right when she said bananas are under-rated. They form the base of a lot of great pastries and desserts. But today I’m thinking of a very, very simple afternoon snack cake to share with some friends over a cup of coffee or tea. Something light but flavorful to give us a little lift as the storm clouds head our way.
This cake is not terribly sweet. I choose cake flour to lighten it up a bit more than a banana bread. Lemon zest perks it up a little, too. So if you love bananas as I do, dive in. Your friends will be glad you did.
- You must use very ripe bananas to achieve the full flavor. They should be just about pouring out of their skins.
- The measurements for this cake look funky because I halved the recipe. When you double the recipe, you have a great layer cake that can be finished with sweetened crème fraiche or whipped cream flavored with vanilla or rum and sandwiched with thinly slice bananas. Or you can finish it with a chocolate ganache. Or a caramel mascarpone cream. Hmmm.
Serves 8 to 10
1 1/4 C cake flour
1/4 t + 1/8 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
1/4 t + 1/8 t salt
1/8 t cinnamon
pinch of freshly grated nutmeg
3 oz butter @ room temperature
1/2 C + 2 T sugar
1 egg @ room temperature
3/4 C mashed ripe bananas
3/4 t vanilla extract
1/4 C + 2 T buttermilk
1 t lemon zest
Prepare a 9” pan with butter, parchment and a light dusting of flour.
Sift together the cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices.
Mash bananas with a fork and combine with buttermilk, vanilla and lemon zest.
Cream butter. Add sugar gradually and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Scrape down the bowl. Add egg and beat until thoroughly incorporated, scraping down the bowl to be sure you have a good emulsion. Alternate adding a third of the dry ingredients and half of the buttermilk mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. Mix just until combined.
Pour into prepared pan and smooth out the batter evenly.
Bake @ 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes or until a toothpick tests with a moist crumb. Cool for 10 minutes and remove from pan. Cool completely. Store in an airtight container or tightly wrapped in plastic.