Thursday, March 5, 2009
Comfort Food: Banana Cake
My cookbook is falling apart. I've been making variations of this banana cake recipe since 1984, and it has always been a success. If I were to write a guidebook on cooking for company, the first advice I'd give to the beginner is, "Don't make a recipe that you haven't made before." (unless you are one of those brave souls who live for danger.) Your guests will have a better time if you are relaxed and happy, instead of worried that your mousse aux foie gras truffee is not going to unmold successfully. So don't make something exotic and stressful: make home food. Nice, delicious uncomplicated homemade food. Most guests would much rather have a real home-style Italian meal than Indonesian raw tuna. (Unless you hang out with a tough foodie crowd. But even THEY love a good burger.) I once read an article that quoted a famous chef as saying that his favorite treat was a stop at Burger King. Most professional chefs would kill for a homemade Toll House cookie. Make life easy for yourself and don't even try making restaurant food. Make real honest home food and everyone will rave about the cuisine.
Last night we had guests for dinner: my BFF from high school and her charming husband. We had a wonderful visit (alas, too short! They were here on business and could only come by for dinner). We had stuffed shells in parmesan cream sauce, zucchini, bread and banana cake for dessert.
As mentioned above, I've been making this since 1984 and it has stood the test of time. The original recipe is from Cafe Beaujolais by Margaret Fox If you can get your hands on a copy, I recommend it highly. This is my adapted version. I make the whole thing in my Cuisinart in 2 minutes.
Mom's Banana Cake (adapted from Cafe Beaujolais)
Preheat oven to 350. Grease and flour 1 angel food cake pan, or a bundt cake pan. I use that baking spray mixed with flour. (Whoever invented this stuff should get the Nobel Prize for baking IMHO.)
In the food processor, puree
1 1/4 cups ripe bananas (three medium bananas)
1/2 cup corn, canola or other neutral vegetable oil
1/2 buttermilk ( or use plain yogurt, or vanilla yogurt or sour cream)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla, or dark rum ( the rum option is especially nice)
2 cups flour ( I have used half whole wheat and half white and everyone liked it)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Pulse the processor on and off until dry ingredients are mixed in, then pour into baking pan. Bake about 45-55 minutes (start checking at 45) until cake is no longer goopy and pulls away slightly from the sides. Let cool then unmold. Glaze or not as you prefer. Last night I made a simple glaze flavored with rum.
The original recipe contained nuts. Since so many people have mixed feelings on nuts, I never add them to desserts that I serve to guests.
The snow is still here, but the daffodils are bravely poking their noses out through it. It is supposed to be 65 this weekend.
I'm celebrating my birthday this weekend. I'll be sewing, baking and spending time with my family. I hope you have a warm spring-like weekend as well.