Monday, January 24, 2011

Graham's Birthday Banana Cake

We had Graham's 2nd birthday party yesterday afternoon. I wanted to do something a little different and maybe at least a little bit healthy for the birthday cake. We had carrot cake last year, so along those lines, I thought maybe banana would be good. Plus, Graham loves neenas. I searched the internet for recipes, and finally settled on this one from this blog which is apparently adapted from the Joy of Cooking book.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Get ingredients to room temperature.

Mash together:
2 large ripe bananas
2 Tbsp sour cream OR yogurt

Add and mix well:
2 eggs
2 tsp grated lemon zest
1 1/2 tsp vanilla

In a large bowl, beat on low speed for 30 seconds:
2 c cake flour (OR 2 c - 4 Tbsp regular flour)
3/4 c + 2 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt

Add 1/2 the banana mixture along with:
10 Tbsp butter, softened

Beat on low speed until dry ingredients are moistened. Increase speed to medium and beat for 1 1/2 minutes, scraping sides of bowl as needed. Then gradually add rest of banana mixture.

This recipe is for a 9" pan. I wasn't sure how many people would show up, but we did not have enough cake last year, so I bought a 15x11 sheet pan. With some shoddy math (I even looked up the long forgotten formula to find out the area of a circle...something about pi), I thought two recipes would do it. After two recipes were made, I decided to add a third. I made this batter three separate times, then poured it into a pan that had been greased, wax papered, and greased again. Good thing it was an easy recipe! Then, I hauled it over to my mom's house to bake it at 325 for about 45 minutes. (This no oven thing is getting ridiculous). Since it was like midnight when I got home, I chucked it in the fridge until the morning of the party. On said morning, after attending another birthday party, I made the filling.

Banana Cream
1 cup of heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 ripe banana

Whip the cream and sugar until stiff peaks form, then add the banana in pieces and beat until smooth.

I cut the cake horizontally in half (not very evenly, I might add), and slathered the cream in the middle. The cake being chilled helped moving it around a little bit easier. One recipe of this was plenty. After I put the cake back together, I made the chocolate frosting.

Chocolate Frosting
  • 2 3/4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 6 tablespoons butter
  • 5 tablespoons evaporated milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Sift sugar and cocoa together into a medium bowl. Cream the butter in the mixer and gradually add the sugar mix and milk, alternately. Beat until smooth, then mix in the vanilla. This recipe was also more than enough for the big ol' cake.

I finally got to use my awesome Kitchen-aid mixer that G2 gave me for Christmas, and it was truly awesome. Especially for the banana cream! I think I'll be a baking machine once, you know, that oven part comes in.

After it was all put together, I asked G2 to decorate it. I'm not much for fanfare, I guess. Or, I'm just not very good at it. But I think he did a pretty good job. The cake seemed to go over really well. It was a little denser than I expected, like banana bread rather than cake, but the filling lightened it up and it wasn't overly sweet, so that helped. I think Graham really enjoyed it, but not quite as much as opening his presents and not as much as playing with all of his sweet friends. Happy Birthday, little snick snack.

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