Friday, September 1, 2017

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting and Sugared Pecans

Here's the other birthday cake that I made for my friend Sabine's birthday and it is made with wheat flour, although I have made it with gluten free flour too. It's such a delicious dense Banana Cake and is exceptionally good with Cream Cheese Frosting. I made it for my friend Sabine's daughter Momo did the beautiful decorating with sliced Bananas and Sugared Pecans. It's one of my younger son's favorite cakes and if you like Banana Bread, you need to try this recipe. The original recipe is from Dorie Greenspan and it was double the amount and she made it as a Bundt Cake. I don't have a Bund't pan anymore and I wanted to make less so I used a Springform Pan instead. This is one of those cakes that is better if you make it the day before and then frost it right before eating. And if you top it with the Cream Cheese frosting, be sure to refrigerate the leftovers. It was a big hit!  It turns out nicely when made in a square cake pan too and I personally like it best as cupcakes although Momo made it look so beautiful that this may the way I make it from now on!

Banana Cake or Cupcakes
adapted from Dorie Greenspan

1 ½  cups all-purpose flour (you can also use a gluten free flour blend)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
4 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature (1 stick)
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg, preferably at room temperature
2- 3 very ripe bananas, mashed (1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups)
1/2 cup plain yogurt or cup sour cream (or a combination of the two)

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°F Generously butter a Springform Pan or line a cupcake tin.

Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.

Beat the butter until creamy in a stand mixer or use a hand mixer. Add the sugar and beat at medium until pale and fluffy. Add in the vanilla and the eggs one at a time, Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the bananas. Finally, mix in the dry ingredients and the sour cream. Pour the batter into the pan.

Bake for 40 - 45 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before taking off the sides of the Springform pan. 

MUFFIN OPTION: Bake 28-32 minutes.

Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and decorate with sliced bananas and sugared Pecans if desired.  

Cream Cheese Frosting 

8 ounces of Cream Cheese
1/3 cup Powdered Sugar
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract

When ready to frost, mix the Cream Cheese, Powdered Sugar and Vanilla Extract thoroughly.  Spread the frosting on the cooled cake with a spatula in a thin layer. 

Sugared Pecans 

1 cup Pecans broken into small pieces
2 Tablespoons Butter 
2 Tablespoons Brown Sugar
1/4 teaspoon Cinnamon
Pinch of Salt

Melt the Butter in a small frying pan and add the Brown Sugar. Stir to mix thoroughly and add in the Pecans and Salt. Cook, stirring frequently for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and pour the Pecans onto a plate or on Parchment Paper to cool.

Five Element Analysis

Bananas as a tropical fruit belong to the Earth Element and as this is a pretty sweet dessert, it is definitely an Earth food! The Flour contributes the Wood Element, The Cinnamon adds just the tiniest hint of Fire. The Sour Cream, Cream Cheese and Butter add in the Metal Element and the Pecans and Egg make sure that the Water Element is present too. If you serve this Banana Cake with a cup of Tea or Coffee for more of the Fire Element, you will have a balanced dessert!

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