Sunday, May 11, 2014

Banana Cake #14 from Baking by Flavor

Banana Cake #14 - made May 2, 2014 from Baking by Flavor by Lisa Yockelson
The original name of this recipe in Baking by Flavor is Banana Layer Cake because Lisa Yockelson intended it to be a two-layer cake. I made it as a 9 x 13 cake for easier distribution and also numbered it as my 14th documented attempt to make a banana cake like Icing on the Cake's. Based on my findings with the Banana Dream Cake, I'm being more selective in which banana cake recipes to try. One of my theories was the cake texture I'm looking to replicate is more likely to be achieved with cake flour than all-purpose flour. A cursory search on pinterest didn't turn up any candidates so I went to my bookshelves overrun with baking books and plucked out this one since it's one of my go-to books for good recipes.
Fortunately, this recipe does use cake flour and it has specific beating times for the ingredients which could also contribute to a fluffy texture. Even more fortunately, it actually worked! I can't quite shriek "Eureka, I found it!" but oh my, this is so close. So. Close. It doesn't look as fluffy in the picture as the one from Icing on the Cake but the texture is a lot more soft and fluffy; it's also lighter than your standard banana cake recipe or the 13 iterations that came before it. It's still not quite an Icing on the Cake clone but I'm definitely on the right track. At least now I can narrow my recipe parameters for banana cake #15 and beyond to recipes that use cake flour, have chemical leavening (both baking powder and baking soda) and adequate beating instructions.
Oh, the taste wasn't super banana-y but I had the taste test piece the same day I made it and usually banana cakes develop more flavor the following day. Still, it's the texture I'm striving for and I loved the texture on this one.
2 1/3 cups plus 3 tablespoons unsifted bleached cake flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/4 pound (1 stick or 8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, softened
2 tablespoons shortening
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas (I used 3 medium to large bananas)
1/2 cup buttermilk, whisked well
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease two 9-inch round cake pans with nonstick cooking spray and line bottoms with parchment rounds. Alternatively, line a 9 x 13 baking pan with aluminum foil and lightly spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and nutmeg onto a sheet of waxed paper.
  3. Cream the butter and shortening in the large bowl of a freestanding electric mixer on moderate speed for 3 minutes. Add half of the granulated sugar and beat for 2 minutes; add the remaining granulated sugar and beat for 1 to 2 minutes longer. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each addition.  Blend in the vanilla extract and mashed bananas.
  4. On low speed, add half of the sifted mixture, the buttermilk, then the rest of the sifted mixture. Scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl frequently with a rubber spatula.
  5. Pour the batter evenly into the cake pan(s). Smooth the top(s).
  6. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until set and a toothpick inserted near the center withdraws clean. Cool in pan(s) on wire racks for 5 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
Cream Cheese Frosting for 9 x 13 cake (double or triple for 2-layer cake)
4 tablespoons butter
4 tablespoons cream cheese
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2-3 cups powdered sugar (to taste and consistency)
  1. Cream butter and cream cheese together until creamy and well blended. Add vanilla extract and beat until blended. Add powdered sugar, 1/2 cup at a time, beating after each addition, until frosting is the desired taste and consistency. 

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