Tuesday, 28 August 2007

SEPTEMBER RECIPE CHALLENGE: BANANA CAKE

Okay, I already think I have the best damn banana bread recipe out there. However, I am open to other recipes and possibilities. Besides, I want to ease into this recipe challenge quest and ensure that the first challenge isn't too hard. I might scare off any potential daring bakers.

I've been reading Pichet Ong's The Sweet Spot, and find his recipes intriguing. He riffs on traditional French and North American pastries and desserts by adding Asian ingredients. Ong is an American pastry chef who works at the Spice Market. Check Ong's website if you want to know more about him. In his book, Ong declares this recipe to be "the best banana cake. Ever." We'll see about that...

September Challenge: Banana Cake
source: Pichet Ong's The Sweet Spot

Chef's Tips: the key to keeping this banana cake light in texture is to avoid overmixing. I make this cake a lot, so I keep containers of mashed banana--measured for this recipe--in my freezer. Note: baby bananas are used here. Also known as lady's finger or finger bananas or Manzanos, are short and stubby, about 5 inches long, with yellow skin and creamy pale yellow flesh. [cakebrain's note: look in Kin's market, Chinatown, Superstore, Asian markets or heck, use regular bananas]

1/3 cup (2 3/4 oz/78 g) unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup (5 1/2 oz/155 g) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup (3 oz/85 g) honey
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz/72 g) packed light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (8 oz/228 g) roughly mashed baby bananas (about 5 baby bananas)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 large egg
1/2 cup (4 5/8 oz/130 g) plain whole-milk yogurt or sour cream
1 cup (5 1/2 oz/155 g) semisweet chocolate chips, optional

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Lightly butter an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan and set aside.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, and baking soda and set aside.
  3. Put the butter, honey, sugar, cinnamon, and salt in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat the mixture on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl, add the bananas and vanilla, and beat on medium speed until the mixture looks "broken," or lumpy, about 1 minute. The bananas should be smashed, with a few small chunks remaining.
  4. Turn the speed to medium-low and beat in the egg until incorporated. Turn the speed to low and gradually add the sifted flour mixture, mixing just until no traces of flour remain, about 10 seconds. Add the yogurt and mix until the batter has only a few remaining white streaks, about 5 seconds. Be sure to avoid overmixing. Gently fold in the chocolate chips, if desired.
  5. Transfer the batter to the greased pan. Bake in the center of the oven until a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45 minutes. Cool the cake in the pan on a rack for 5 minutes, then unmold and cool completely on the rack.

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Could you sub mayonnaise for the yogurt or sour cream?

cakebrain said...

I have not substituted mayonnaise for the yogurt of sour cream before, but you could give it a try and see how it goes. Generally, I don't substitute mayonnaise for yogurt or sour cream because mayonnaise consists of oil and egg while yogurt or sour cream are dairy products so you may have a heavy or greasy product in the end.

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