As summer approaches and more seasonal fruits become abundant, you might find yourself neglecting the ubiquitous, available-year-round banana and find them ripening faster than you can eat them because you've been indulging yourself on strawberries, apricots, cherries, peaches and other spring/summer bounty. Never fear, that's what banana baked goods are for. I've been going through a browned butter fixation lately and looking for recipes that use it. I've made banana cakes before but never with browned butter and I wanted to see what that flavor combination was like. So this recipe was perfect for experimentation with the overripe bananas I had hanging around.
The original recipe for this cake called for using miniature semisweet chocolate chips but I substituted chopped up bits of butterscotch chips instead as I like butterscotch paired with banana more than a banana and chocolate combination. I haven't used this recipe book much (or at all) before but I remember looking through it when I first got it and finding a lot of good-looking recipes to try. Then I stuck it on a shelf with more of its brethren and somehow forgot about it or never went back to it. Hence once again why my baking challenge is good for me.
This cake was delicious - the brown butter complements the banana, although the banana flavor is more dominant, of course. But it does have a subtle caramelized flavor. I love the butterscotch chips as more of a complement rather than a contrast which is what I think chocolate chips would've been. I'm glad I made the substitution. The texture was cakey and moist, actually similar to my banana bread recipe but a bit more cake-like. It's not too sweet either. Overall, thumbs up and a great way to use overripe bananas.
8 ounces (1 cup) unsalted butter; more for the pan
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1 cup finely mashed ripe bananas (2 medium bananas)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
½ teaspoon salt
7 ½ ounces (1 2/3 cups) unbleached all-purpose flour; more for the pan
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
2/3 cup mini semisweet chocolate chips (I used butterscotch chips)
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350⁰F. Butter and flour a 10-cup decorative tube or bundt pan. Tap out any excess flour.
2. Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium-low heat. Once the butter is melted, cook it slowly, letting it bubble, until it smells nutty or like butterscotch and turns a deep golden hue, 5 to 10 minutes. If the butter splatters, reduce the heat to low. Remove the pan from the heat and pour the browned butter through a fine sieve into a medium bowl and discard the bits in the sieve. Let the butter cool until it’s very warm rather than boiling hot, 5 to 10 minutes.
3. Using a whisk, stir the sugar and eggs into the butter. Whisk until the mixture is smooth (the sugar may still be somewhat grainy), 30 to 60 seconds. Whisk in the mashed bananas, vanilla and salt. Sift the flour and baking soda directly onto the batter. Pour the chocolate chips over the flour. Using a rubber spatula, stir just until the batter is uniformly combined. Don’t overmix.
4. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan, spreading it evenly with the rubber spatula. Bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out with only moist crumbs clinging to it, 42 to 45 minutes. Set the pan on a rack to cool for 15 minutes. Invert the cake onto the rack and remove the pan. Let cool until just warm and then serve immediately or wrap well in plastic and store at room temperature for up to five days.