(8 inch cake)
Happy Easter!The other day I was looking for a book and noticed Rose Levy Beranbaum's Cake Bible, which I hadn't looked through for quite some time. At one point it was my favourite cookbook which I took to bed with me each night, to read. Many people find her recipes frustrating and hate having to follow them in order for their cakes to turn out. Let's face it, we aren't making a stew here where an additional onion, potato or cup of wine make a huge difference. Baking a cake is more exacting if you expect a similar result each time.
That being said, Beranbaum's banana cake is a lot more forgiving than some of her other recipes. I rarely make it exactly the same way, yet it always turns out; a moist, buttery and flavourful cake. I have no patience for certain things, like sifting flour. I just pull out my kitchen scale and weigh out the amount I need. The Cake Bible provides both weights and measures for all recipes. For this recipe, I loosely recalculated the ingredients to make a smaller 8 inch cake.
Recently I have fallen in love with meringue-like frostings which are light and smooth. I tried making one for this banana cake, with browned butter which quickly turned into a soupy mess. I ended up rescuing that disaster with 4 oz of semi-sweet chocolate and 4 oz of unsweetened chocolate; just enough to create a spreadable frosting. The frosting was nice, but I probably should have made the tangy chocolate ganache in the first place.
Adapted from Rose Levy Barenbaum's Recipe for an 8 inch cake
1 1/2 large ripe bananas/3/4 cup/170 grams
1/4 cup sour cream/60 grams
1 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2 tbsp canola oil
1 1/2 tsp lemon zest, minced/3 grams
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups sifted cake flour/ 150 grams
1/2 cup fine sugar/115 grams
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
6 tbsp unsalted butter, softened/3/4 stick/85 grams
Equipment: One 8-inch by 2-inch cake pan or 8-inch springform pan, greased, bottom lined with parchment or wax paper and then sprayed with Baker’s Joy or greased again and floured.
Preheat oven 350°F.
In a food processor process the banana and sour cream until smooth. Add the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla and process briefly just to blend.
Using a hand mixer, combine the remaining dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and half the banana mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to high speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes. Scrape down the sides.
Gradually add the remaining banana mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients. Scrape down the sides. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. The pan will be about 1/2 full.
Bake *30 to 50 minutes or until a tester inserted near the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.
Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and unmold or remove the sides of the springform pan. Allow the cake to cool completely before wrapping airtight.
Finished Height: 2 inches to within 1 inch of the side; 1 1/2 inches at the side.
Store: Airtight: 2 days room temperature, 5 days refrigerated, 2 months frozen.
Serve: Room Temperature
*Although the original recipe calls for 30-40 minutes baking time for a 9 inch cake, I have always needed 40-50 minutes for an 8 inch cake in a convection oven.
I did not make this chocolate ganache, but if I were to make it for this cake, I would probably just make half this recipe.
Rose Levy Barenbaum's Sour Cream Ganache Frosting
4x 3oz semi-sweet chocolate bars(no higher than 62%)/340 grams
1 2/3 cup sour cream/400 grams
In a double boiler set over hot water or a microwave oven on high power, melt the chocolate, stirring every 20 seconds. Remove it from the heat source and stir in the sour cream until uniform in color. Use it right away or store it in a tightly covered bowl. When ready to frost the cake, soften it if necessary in a water bath or microwave for a few seconds, stirring gently.