Thursday, October 12, 2006

Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting (My Birthday Cake)

This recipe comes from the Peter Kump's Cooking School Cake Baking Course Pack. The cakes are developed largely by Nick Malgieri.

Maybe it's my technique but every time I make one of his cakes, the texture is a bit off. The flavor is great, but the texture is not. Same problem with this cake. It's delicious but a bit too chewy. It's also dense, but I don't really see that as a problem.

The frosting is excellent but there's not enough to cover the top and sides of the cake -- hence the odd frosting job. If you use it, double the quantities in the frosting recipe below.

Best and Easiest Banana Cake ( slightly adapted)

12 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 tsp. vanilla
2 1/2 cups cake flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg
1 cup mashed, very ripe bananas (about 6-7 oz each)
3/4 cup milk or buttermilk

Cream Cheese Frosting (double to cover top and sides of cake)
1/2 stick butter, softened (4 Tbsp.)
1/2 lb. cream cheese, softened
1 c. confectioners' sugar
1 tsp. vanilla.

Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350-degrees F. Grease two 9-inch cake pans, lining the bottom with parchement.

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter until soft and light. Gradually beat in the sugars and continue beating about 5 minutes until very light. Beat in eggs one at a time, beating smooth between each addition, scraping bowl and beater(s) occasionally. Beat in vanilla.

Stir baking soda, powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg into cake flour and sift over butter and egg mixture. Stir in bananas and milk to mix. Beat by machine on low for 2 minutes, scraping bowl and beater(s) several times.

Pour batter into pans and bake for about 25 minutes, until well risen and a skewer inserted in the center emerges clean. Cool cakes in pans for 10 minutes, then cover with a rack and remove paper and pan. Immediately turn cake right side up and finish cooling.

To make frosting, beat butter at medium speed until soft and light. Beat in cream cheese and continue beating until very smooth. Add remaining ingredients and beat until smooth. Continue beating about 5 minutes to aerate. Use immediately.

To finish cake, place one round on a plate, trimming rounded top if needed, and cover with icing. Then top with other layer (again, trimming if needed) and cover with the rest of the icing.

Grade: Flavor, A; Texture, B

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