Tuesday, May 18th, 2010
Every week, I buy approximately five, often disgustingly green bananas. And nearly every week, come Friday they are gone. This is because I place one lovingly in Ryan’s hand on his way out the door each morning, as though he were six. Hey, at least I don’t put a note in his lunch or pat him on the head. Although I probably would if I could reach it.
Despite my determination to squeeze some fruit into my husband’s breakfast and pass along some of that potassium and calcium stuff, I woke up last Monday morning to find no less than seven rapidly browning bananas. You know the kind I mean. They’re so mushy that they remind me of baby food and make me gag a little on the inside. I’m going to be such a great mom.
I know what many of you are about to say: throw them in the freezer! You don’t have to use them all at once! People, if there’s anything more disgusting than a half-rotten mushy banana, it’s a half-frozen AND half-rotten banana. Trust me. I’ve been there. I don’t know how you people do it.
Nonetheless, I was not raised by wolves and know better than to waste food. So I first made a batch of muffins, which although delicious and remarkably oil and butter-free, aren’t terribly earth-shattering. I then remembered this cake.
I spotted (heh heh) this lovely cake somewhere on the interwebs about a week ago and have had the recipe open on my desktop ever since, for fearing of losing/forgetting it. My mind is a swirly vortex and one never knows. You understand.
This cake is a beautiful way turn borderline disgusting fruit into something quite lovely. I even think it would make a lovely gift, perhaps with a maple glaze? Either way, it’s moist, delicious, and delicately spiced – like banana bread’s slightly more refined older sister.
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla bean paste
1/2 tsp nutmeg
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 very ripe bananas, mashed (should make 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups)
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°F. Generously butter a 9- to 10-inch (12 cup) bundt pan. (If you use a silicone bundt pan there’s no need to butter it.)
Whisk together the flour, salt, nutmeg and baking soda in a separate bowl and set aside.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the bananas. Finally, gradually mix in half the dry ingredients (don’t be disturbed when the batter curdles). Scrape the batter into the pan, rap the pan on the counter to debubble the batter and smooth the top.
Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check the cake after about 30 minutes – if it is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool to room temperature.
High-Altitude Notes: Reduce baking soda to 1 1/2 tsp and bake for 55-60 minutes at 375°F. Also, go ahead and butter your silicone pan. You won’t be sorry.