Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Going bananas?

It seems we frequently have overly ripe bananas around. However, I've gotten tired of making loaf after loaf of banana bread - especially since I'm not a gigantic fan of it. So I hit the web to find some alternatives... Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting sounded like one GREAT alternative! I mean come on... cream cheese frosting?! Isn't that like the biggest generic American favorite food? Up there with pizza and hamburgers?? You might even be able to put cream cheese frosting on celery (see #2) and get me to eat it!

I didn't even know what I was looking for when I searched "banana" on Epicurious. But one of the first things that came back was this Banana Layer Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting from Bon Appétit over 10 years ago. I was sold immediately.

I even went out and bought cake flour since so many of my recent recipes call for it. A lot of the reviews on Epicurious recommend adding extra banana and even extra butter. So why not? I had 4 bananas - about 1-3/4 cup worth and extra butter never hurt anyone['s tastebuds], right? So it was an easy decision. However, I made the cake a few days before putting it together and serving it, and therefore put the cakes in the freezer for a couple days. I wonder now if it was this that made the cake SO DENSE or if it was all the extra "wet" ingredients. It was almost like eating a dense banana bread sandwiched with cream cheese frosting - still not bad, but not exactly what I was going for. I'm going to try the recipe as-written next time.

Mashed banana ----- First layer topped with frosting ---- First layer topped with banana slices

It was good - actually got 9 out of 10 thumbs up compared to the other cake I made that night (coming soon in a blog entry near you!) But I'm really hoping the cake is softer/fluffier with the recipe written as is.

I attempted to brûlée the banana slices on top of the cake, but I think they were too wet to work right. I was in a hurry by this time - ready to serve - so it's okay that it didn't work out. You can barely see the slightest browning on the edges.
Slightly brûléed bananas on top
This cake needs to be eaten the first day too - those bananas get a little mushy and brown after much more than that. By the time I took half of it into work the following day, the other cake got voted as better. I still have some leftover cream cheese frosting in the fridge too. I'll have to find some other items to spread that on. My finger, my thumb, a spoon....

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