Thursday, August 20, 2009

Chocolate chip banana cake

I am not a Tuesday's with Dorie member, mostly b/c I don't like a bunch of the recipes in her cookbook. But occasionally, there is a recipe here or there I am interested in trying. This past week we just so happened to have 10 bananas that were forgotten about. Sad... So they were super brown, nearly black and I was going to freeze them for when I had a craving for something banana-y when I saw the Classic Banana Bundt cake recipe all over And all of a sudden, I had a craving :)

So Saturday morning, I took my yiayia to church in the morning for the celebration of the Dormition of the Theotokos (Virgin Mary), then we visited my papou at the cemetery b/c his birthday was yesterday (Happy Birthday Papou! I still miss you!) and we went to put a new candle in the holder and add some more pretty flowers. We went to lunch at Moondance Diner on Ogden Ave in Westmont (really good, pretty healthy food, check them out!). By the time I got home, I was pooped and didn't want to do ANYTHING!

But I knew I had these bananas and I knew I wanted to make this cake... So I did. My only beef with it is how long it baked for! It felt like FOREVER! But that's only cuz I really wanted to get over to Mike's house and I had to bring him some, so the longer the cake took, the longer till I got to see him.

It's a REALLY good cake. I mean really, really good cake.

Classic Banana Bundt Cake
adapted from Dorie Greenspan

3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups brown sugar***
1/2 cup white granulated sugar***
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
About 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (you should have 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups)
1 cup vanilla yogurt***
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips***

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.

Spray your bundt pan with cooking spray w/ flour (I use Crisco brand w/ Pillsbury flour)
Don’t place the pan on a baking sheet - you want the oven’s heat to circulate through the Bundt’s inner tube.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy.

Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy (won't be as pale since the addition of the brown sugar makes it more speckled w/ brown). Beat in the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each egg goes in.

Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the bananas.

Finally, mix in half the dry ingredients, all theyogurt and then the rest of the flour mixture.

Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top.

Bake for 60 minutes***, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out with little crumbs stuck to it, but not wet. Check the cake after about 30 minutes - if it is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent.

Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool to room temperature.

If you've got the time, wrap the cooled cake in plastic and allow it to sit on the counter overnight before serving - it's better the next day.

*** Okay, so the original recipe uses 2 cups of white granulated sugar and there is no brown sugar whatsoever in it. I personally believe that brown sugar makes everything better, so I subbed it. The first time I made the cake, I used 1 cup light brown sugar and 1 cup regular granulated sugar. The pictures below show that cake. It was definitely good, but I wanted to know what the difference would be with more brown sugar... So the second cake I made for work had the measurements above. I think next time, I am going to try it w/ all brown sugar. Maybe one day I'll try it w/ only regular granulated sugar. It seems that all the bloggers loved it just the way it was w/ the white sugar, so it can't be that bad. I just love the deeper, almost carmelized taste the brown sugar gives.
Also as for the yogurt. The recipe says 1 cup of sour cream or 1 cup of plain yogurt. I used vanilla yogurt b/c I'd rather have the sweet vanilla taste rather than a tangy taste. Just my preference...
And I added the chips for fun, but it would taste AMAZING w/out them too. Although I think I'd use mini chocolate chips next time, if I did chips again.
And the original recipe said to bake 65-75 minutes. I only baked it for 60 and it was prefect!

And if you feel like the cake is going to overflow (my second one did, just a wee bit), take like a cup of the batter out and make a couple of muffins/cupcakes. That way, if you have to save the cake for something like work the next day or a party, you get to savor some of it all by yourself... :)

So the cream cheese frosting. Looks kinda gross doesn't it? Wait till you see the picture below... I was impatient. Remember how I wanted to go to Mike's and the cake was taking forever? Well, I made the frosting while the cake was baking and I took the cake out of the bundt after 10 mins and waited another 30 mins at least before putting the frosting on it... Okay, maybe more like 15 mins. Like I said, I was impatient. Well, it melted right off the top and pooled in the middle. It still tasted good, but it looked soooo gross.
I just mixed a brick of cream cheese, 3/4 stick of softened butter, 1 tsp of vanilla and added powdered sugar until it had the taste and consistency I liked. (Start w/ a 1/2 cup and add more slowly from there, if you'd like).

The first cake I made, of course I had a piece like right after the frosting stopped spilling over the sides... It was so soft and fluffy and light and moist and omg, it was sooooooo good. It was delicate and airy and just wonderful. I sliced three more pieces to take to Mike. He devoured the first piece in like a second. He loved it, which always makes me feel good.
I had read in one of the TWD blogs that the cake had such a different texture the next day, and I had to put it in the fridge b/c of the frosting, so I was a bit scared how it woudl turn out. It was very dense and heavy, more of a pound cake consistency. I thought it dry out a bit, even though it was covered, but not at all! Just as moist as the first day. My mom liked it, my dad liked it (but thought it could do with the chips since he doesn't like chocolate chips), my cousin liked it, my sister liked it.

When I made it for work, I knew it would be good for them b/c so many people like banana bread/cake. When people were asking for the recipe and my boss said that it reminded him of his granmother's banana bread that he hasn't had in so long, I knew it was a success.

This cake will definitely be made over and over and over again. I think I'll make it into a layered cake next time w/ the cream cheese frosting... But I think I would make the cake layers the night before and then frost it after it is COMPLETELY cooled and has had a chance to thicken up and be a bit sturdier to frost!

I recently learned some new tricks to taking pictures for the blog, but I have not yet used them. Primarily b/c I was in a super hurry on Saturday and I forgot my camera at home so I couldn't take any at work yesterday. So the pictures aren't as pretty as I would have liked. But next round, I'm sure it'll be better!


lisa said...

This does sound like a great cake! I've never baked from that book, believe it or not. Some day!

"Vanilla and Thyme" said...

This looks like a perfect cake to being to my potluck this weekend - thanks for sharing!

Emily said...

Awww that's sweet. :)

This cake looks big and beautiful. And banana-y.

Jane said...

Hi NikiTheo-- Thanks so much for visiting my blog! I know I like yours already because of how honest you are about Dorie Greenspan's recipes! I'm not in the Dorie group either and it's partly for the same reason; some of her recipes look great but I'm skeptical about a few of them. Also, I don't like to be forced to make certain things if I don't really feel like it (at least if I'm going to use it for a blog post, I mean!). Interesting that you had to create your blog for culinary school. I've recently started culinary school and I wonder if I'll ever be given the same sort of assignment! (If so, I hope they won't make me create a new blog!) I'm bookmarking you, so I'll be back!


P.S. I love that you want to start your own bakery someday. In my wildest dreams that's what I want to do too. :)


How To Eat A Cupcake said...

Oops frosting waterfall! Looks yummy! ;P

Bellini Valli said...

This looks so moist and delicious. I better revisit those bananas.