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Thursday, September 8, 2011

Bake Me a Cake As Fast As You Can

Icing to cake ratio:  1:2.  Perfect.

In my house it's easy to tell when summer has passed.  Berries are replaced with bananas and I become a banana cake/bread-making machine.  This is because I insist on buying my bananas at Costco.  You get something like 10 bananas for mere pennies.  Unfortunately, this frugality often results in rotten bananas. There's a limit to how many we can actually consume before they start to get mushy.  Ted questions whether the bananas at Costco are actually saving us money since I either have to throw them out or stock the freezer with banana bread.
           Make sure to gather all your ingredients together before starting.

The good news is that I love banana cakes and breads and so does my family.  They are also willing guinea pigs for lots of variations on the theme.  So this time I rewarded them with a banana cake with frosting.  They don't usually get frosting so this was a big treat.

The cake looks good even without the cream cheese frosting.

And it wasn't just frosting.  This was cream cheese frosting, the grand daddy of all frostings.  In fact, it's the cream cheese frosting that makes cakes like carrot and red velvet so appealing to me.  Who would eat red cake if it didn't have something so rich and creamy topping it off?

But back to the bananas.  This is a very quick cake that you can whip up in mere minutes.  It looks beautiful enough to serve guests too.  And, it'll use up all those past their prime bananas that you accumulate as a result of over zealous frugality at Costco.

Recipe:  Old Fashioned Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
(Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That, 2010)


3 very ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream (I used low fat)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 cups all-purpose flour, after sifting
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
powdered sugar for sprinkling on top
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts (optional)
Cream cheese frosting ( optional, recipe follows)
Walnut halves, for decorating


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan, or line the pan with a piece of parchment or wax paper cut to fit inside the cake pan.  Spray the liner and sides lightly with cooking spray. 

Mix bananas, granulated sugar and brown sugar in bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Add oil, eggs, sour cream and vanilla. Mix until smooth. Add flour, baking soda and salt. With mixer on low,  mix just until combined. Stir in chopped walnuts if using. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 40-45 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 5 minutes, turn out onto cooling rack.

Serve warm, sprinkled with powdered sugar, or cool completely and top with Cream Cheese Frosting. 

Recipe:  Cream Cheese Frosting


6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (1/2 pound)


Mix cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment on low speed until just combined. Don’t whip. Add sugar and mix until smooth.

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