Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Wendy's Secret Banana Cake

This is yet another rescue mission, this time for 3 bananas on the verge of rotting. When bananas reach this very mature state, nobody wants to eat them and the situation immediately calls for baking banana bread. However, in my house, nobody would be interested in banana bread either, so I had to make a banana cake instead. I found this recipe in an egullet thread where people were testing several banana cake recipes to determine the best one. I am not sure if this was the winner, but it was a favorite with most of the testers. The preparation of the cake was straightforward. The only change I made in the ingredients was to substitute Labne (thick yogurt spread) for sour cream; I believe one can also use yogurt for a low fat version. I made the cake in a 10-inch springform pan and baked for about an hour. Towards the end of that period, the center dipped slightly. (I think that this could be avoided by using a bundt pan.) The banana aroma from the cake was so inviting that we could hardly wait for it to cool down. The cake's crust was tender and crumbly, its texture moist and dense (it seemed denser at the bottom). egulleters mentioned several frosting ideas (such as chocolate, cream cheese w/pecans, burnt sugar etc.), but since we needed something simple after the Marjolaine, I decided to leave it plain. All of my testers approved of the taste.

1 1/2 c sugar
1/2 c (1 stick) butter
3 very ripe bananas
1 c sour cream (or yogurt spread or yogurt)
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp salt
2 c flour (some testers used cake flour, in that case use 4 tbs extra flour)
1/2 c coarsely chopped nuts (optional)

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and flour your baking pan. Measure flour, add salt and baking soda and mix well. Cream together sugar and butter. Add the bananas and mix well until you get a uniform mixture. (It may look curdled at this point, but when you keep going, it will resume the right texture.) Add sour cream, eggs, vanilla and finally the flour mixture, beating at medium speed after each addition until you get a uniform mixture. At this point, you can stir in the nuts if you are using them. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 1 hour. Refrain from handling the middle too much to check for doneness, because it has a tendency to fall. This cake rises uniformly making it suitable for layering; on the other hand, frosting may be tricky because of its crumbly crust.