Banana Cakelettes with a Double Identity

I have such high hopes weekly in the produce department of our neighborhood grocery store as I admire the display of bananas.  Habitually, Ami and I stand by the bananas and ponder our interest for the week ahead.  Ami continually pleads for them stating, “I promise to eat them Momma”.  Even though I know better, I find myself selecting the perfect bunch and lowering them into the cart.  At home as the week progresses, inevitably so do the bananas.  Transforming from bright yellow in color to dull yellow to speckled to completely brown.  Now, most people might think that brown bananas have met their fate and should simply be discarded.  I know however (and I think that most of you do too) that overripe bananas create incredibly moist and delicious breads and cakes. With only one or two consumed off of the bunch, these lingering lovelies are destined for sweet greatness.  I chose to roast the bananas before adding them to the batter in an effort to enhance their flavor…success!   I’ve also learned from my baking practice that brushing the baked cakes with a simple sugar syrup (flavored with liqueur in this case) not only adds a wonderful amount of moisture to the cake, but superior flavor as well.

Now, for the frosting:  You might be wondering why the frosting has a double identity?  My usual pairing with banana cake is chocolate buttercream (which is absolutely delicious by the way).  Breaking tradition, this time I wanted to try something different.  I experimented with two different frostings for these cakes.  I wanted to try a cream cheese frosting as well as a white chocolate buttercream.  While my favorite was the Italian Cream Cheese (pictured below); light and fluffy with a delicately sweet and slightly tangy flavor, the White Chocolate buttercream had a wonderfully creamy consistency and a little extra sweetness.  Both combinations were quite scrumptious and I’d love to know which one is your favorite!!

Banana Cakelettes          {Print Recipe}              

Yields: (9) 3” diameter cakes or (1) 9-inch cake

 2 large  ripe bananas

½ cup  sour cream, room temperature

2 large  eggs, room temperature

2 tsp  grated lemon zest

1 ½ tsp  vanilla extract

2 cups  sifted cake flour

¼ cup + 2 Tbsp   sugar

1 tsp  baking soda

¾ tsp  baking powder

½ tsp  salt

8 Tbsp  butter, room temperature

2 Tbsp  canola oil

Simple Syrup

½ cup granulated sugar

½ cup water

1  Tbsp  dark rum

1  Tbsp  Crème de Banana (banana liqueur)

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.  Butter/grease and flour pan(s) and use parchment paper, if desired.  I use parchment paper even on the 3” pans.  It helps the cakes to come out much more easily.

Cut a slit in the banana peel lengthwise and place on a foil covered baking sheet.  Bake for about 10 minutes or until the peels turn black and juices begin to caramelize.  Remove from oven, remove peel (& discard) and let the bananas cool to room temperature.

In a food processor, process the cooled roasted bananas and sour cream until smooth.  Add the eggs, lemon zest and vanilla and process until just blended.

In the bowl of a mixer with a paddle attachment, combine the dry ingredients on low speed for 30 seconds to blend.  Add the butter and ½ of the banana mixture and mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened.  Increase to medium speed and beat for 1-2 minutes to aerate and strengthen the cake’s structure.  Scrape down the sides as necessary.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and if using 3” diam. pans, place on baking sheet.  Bake for 20-22 minutes (3” cakes) and 25-30 minutes (9” cake) or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.  Let the cakes cool in the pan(s) on a rack for about 10 minutes.  After 10 minutes, run a knife between the cake and pan sides to release the cakes and let the cakes cool completely.

Making the simple syrup:

Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan over medium heat and bring to a slight boil, stirring until the sugar is dissolved.  Remove from heat and add the rum and banana liqueur.  Brush the warm syrup over the cooled cakes.  Fill and frost the cake(s) as desired.

Recipe adapted from The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

Italian Cream Cheese Frosting

Yield:   approx. 3 cups

2 ¼ cups  mascarpone cheese, room temperature

1/3 cup  superfine sugar

4-6 Tbsp  heavy whipping cream

1 tsp  clear vanilla extract

1 cup  heavy whipping cream

Mix the mascarpone cheese and the sugar together with a paddle attachment until light and fluffy.  Add 4-6 Tbsp heavy whipping cream and the vanilla extract until just blended.  Scrape into a bowl and set aside.

Clean mixing bowl and switch to the whisk attachment.  Beat whipping cream until stiff peaks form and the cream holds its shape on the beater.  Gently fold the whipped cream into the mascarpone mixture until it is incorporated.

Place frosting in a pastry bag fitted with desired tip, or simply spread the frosting on the cake with a spatula.   This frosting and cake can be stored covered in the refrigerator for about 3 days.

 

White Chocolate Buttercream

Yield: 2 ¾ cups

2 sticks  unsalted butter, room temperature

12 ounces  good quality white chocolate, melted and cooled slightly

1 cup  confectioner’s sugar, sifted

1 tsp  vanilla extract

In the bowl of a mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy and light in color.  Beat in the melted and cooled white chocolate.  Decrease the speed to low and slowly add the confectioner’s sugar and vanilla, scraping the sides and bottom of the bowl as necessary.  Mix until light and fluffy.  This frosting and cake can be stored covered at room temperature for about 3 days.

Recipe from Food & Wine

Enjoy! xoxo

 

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