I do realize that this recipe flies in the face of many who have made New Year's resolutions to eat cleaner diets. I make an effort to eat nourishing and healthy food as much as possible, but as you may have noticed, when it comes to dessert, I'm an unabashed traditionalist. White flour, white sugar, chocolate? Check, check, and check. Oh yeah and plenty of butter too for good measure.
My philosophy is generally that if I make it myself and there's no fillers or additives, then just go for it. And since I don't eat meat and can't partake in so many of the traditional recipes that my grandmother perfected, baking is one place where I can replicate those recipes and share in that tradition.
So when Little Smith asked for banana and chocolate cake (inspired by the monkey's in his Babar book), it didn't take too much arm twisting for me to oblige, and I knew just the recipe. This cake is easy... and so good it's worthy of a little slip on those resolutions!
Banana Cake: from the classic recipe from 'The Joy of Cooking' (a family favorite, I've made this for many 1 year birthdays with just a dusting of powdered sugar or cream cheese frosting. always a hit!)
- 2-3 ripe bananas (I usually use three because we have no shortage of over-ripe bananas)
- 2 tbs plain yogurt (or sour cream in the original recipe)
- 2 large eggs
- grated lemon zest from one lemon
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 2 c flour
- 3/4 c plus 2 tbs sugar
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 10 tbs butter (room temperature)
Have all ingredients at room temperature. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan.
In a large food processor, pulse the bananas and yogurt just until smooth. Add the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla and process until well combined.
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt and beat for a few seconds. Add half of the banana mixture along with the butter and beat at a low speed to combine. Increase speed and beat for 90 seconds. Gradually add the remaining banana mixture, beating a few seconds after each addition and scraping down sides.
Scrape the batter into the pan and spread evenly. Bake 30-40 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean from the center. Let cool a few minutes in pan, then release and cool on a baking rack.
Chocolate Buttercream Frosting: from Instant Fudge Frosting from 'Smitten Kitchen'
- 3 oz unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
- 2 1/4 c confectioners sugar
- 1 1/2 sticks butter (room temperature)
- 3 tbs whole milk
- 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
Blend the sugar, butter, milk, and vanilla in a food processor until well combined. If you want to decorate or write on the cake with white, set aside some of the frosting now. Add the melted chocolate and combine, scraping the sides as necessary. That's it! Frost and decorate the cake to your wishes.
I may have indulged in so much frosting that I'm still too full to thoroughly enjoy my cake (patience is a virtue, but not one of mine), but from the few bites I did try, it's just as moist and delicious as ever.
I'm sure it comes as no surprise, but Little Smith was pleased as could be.
He even let me take his picture without protest which is rare these days, so you know he was happy. Of course when I told him he couldn't have a second piece the smile faded. There's nothing quite like cake, or the delicious combination of bananas and chocolate on a cold winter's day!