During our last English lesson, I asked my student Charlotte what her favorite dessert is. A wonderful topic for English class, non? She replied, "Banana cake." Now, I've eaten banana nut bread aplenty, frozen banana desserts, my gran's bowl-lickin' good banana pudding with vanilla wafers and whipped topping and even her banana split dessert, but I cannot remember ever having banana cake.
Charlotte obligingly gave me her recipe, and I decided to try it out before we leave Mayotte. We do have delicious bananas here, after all, much better than one can get back on continental France.
I shall test it for you now.
First, gather together:
6 bananas, nice ripe ones
3 eggs, shells optional and not at all recommended
a goodly splash of (homemade with vodka and fresh beans, if you please) vanilla extract
125 g of sugar
the juice of one lemon, freshly squeezed, none of that bottled crap
250 g of flour
1 packet of baking powder (about 3 tsps)
1 pinch of ginger, or if you only have fresh on hand, like I do, a 1/4 tsp of the finely-minced aromatic wonder will do
1 pinch of salt
100 g of butter (I used softened, but you can probably melt it)
4 T of rum, the kind you keep on hand for medicinal purposes and visiting pirates.
chopped bits of bittersweet chocolate, though I guess you can use choc. chips if you really must. I'll leave the quantity up to you.
Peel the bananas and squish the living daylights out of the suckers. Don't worry if yours aren't a lovely yellowy orange like mine. It's because you have to use store-bought and can't get them fresh off the plant in more varieties than I have fingers. (C'mon, let me gloat while I can; I'll soon be buying them from the store myself):
In the same bowl and using the same fork,* add the eggs and mix in. Toss in the sugar. I used brown because that's what I have on hand and need to use up before we move:
Add the lemon juice. Stir, then sift (if you want) in the flour, baking powder, salt, and ginger if you are using powdered. Mix that in and then add the butter while you are at it. I did it in that order because that's how Charlotte gave it to me. Next time, I'll likely beat it in with the other liquid ingredients first.
Toss in a generous helping of chocolate, mix well, and pour into a baking dish. I opted for one lined with wax paper. Easy to get out of the pan, easy to clean up:
Now, if you are like me and forgot to preheat your oven, do that now. Set the thermostat to 210°C and make yourself an iced expresso. Drink it while sitting on the terrace, enjoying the view of the lagoon and Grand Terre hazy in the distance, or in any location of your choice:
When the cup is empty and the oven is hot, stick the cake in and bake it for 15 minutes. When the timer dings, lower the temperature to 170°C and reset the timer for 30-40 minutes. Mine was done after 30.
But wait! You aren't done yet. Not if you are a gourmand like I am. What this cake needs is frosting. The French sometimes do glaçage (icing-style) but they don't really get the joy of frosting. If you don't want this cake sans, scrounge up the usual suspects:
Mascapone (or cream cheese if that is your bent. I swing both ways), butter, lemon, and powdered sugar. Give the fork and bowl from the cake a cursory rinse* and use them to mix the above ingredients to your taste; personally, I like quite a bit of tart with my sweet. Don't forget the zest of that lemon!
Be sure to find an excuse to pass through kitchen several times while the cake is in the oven to enjoy the smell of bananas, rum, and melting chocolate. That odorous delight alone is worth the time spent mixing the batter.
Let the cake cool, slather it with frosting and (hopefully) enjoy.**
* Miquela's philosophy of baking and cooking in general: Use as few utensils as possible. Washing up is a pain!
**Miquela's verdict: Hmmm, tasty enough, but...
It isn't fluffy with a light crumb like a cake (perhaps this is normal?). This could have several causes:
1) I guestimated the amounts, not having my kitchen scales
2) I went down the list and mixed the ingredients as they were presented since Charlotte's recipe had no instructions.
3) I didn't spend enough time beating the batter. A cake needs so many strokes, right? *despite her love of baking, rarely makes cakes*
4) I have no earthly idea what temperature I actually baked the cake at. Lio's dial has all the numbers rubbed off, no temps, no thermostat.
However, my frosting was a good addition. *g*
I'll try again another time. Anyone want to try it out and let me know their success, tricks, thoughts?
Another day/week, I'll post some recipes that I've tried out and can actually vouch for.