Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Cake of the Week: Cakey Banana Bread

On Friday I gloated a wee bit about my fabulous breakfast of banana bread and Nutella (and it was totally gloat-worthy).
I ate that same “meal” for breakfast, snack, and dessert for a few days until I had to exile my Nutella to the icy cold prison of my freezer. Clearly this extreme act did not completely stop my consumption, but it definitely made it more difficult (I’m not above chipping off chunks of frozen awesomeness…).

But anywho (focus!), back to the Cakey Banana Bread

One afternoon last week, 6x6 asked me if I would make some banana bread. Of course I said yes, assuming that she was experiencing some slightly odd (but totally justifiable) banana bread-y craving. I was about to warn her that she would have to wait a couple weeks for me to ripen bananas to the necessary state of blackness, but then she informed me that she had some black bananas at work. Done. I walked the 5 minutes to her office and picked up a bag of brownish black bananas.

The next day I returned the same bag, this time full of a loaf of Cakey Banana Bread. With chocolate chips. (Duh!) Her co-workers must think I’m crazy…but I’m assuming it's in a good way...

I slightly modified my standard banana bread recipe. The original makes a very good dense banana bread. This version is much lighter and cakier. I made 2 loaves and a couple muffins (for taste-testing purposes). The muffins actually came out better than the loaves, so I suggest you make muffins, but I’ll provide directions for both.

350 F oven
- 1 cup softened butter
- 1 ¾ cups brown sugar
- 3 egg yolks and 2 eggs (room temperature)
 - 3 tsp vanilla extract
 grated rind of 1 orange (or grapefruit)

Beat in a large bowl, beginning with sugar and butter, add eggs one at a time. Add remaining ingredients, and beat until light in color.
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 2 cups white flour
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 3 tsp baking powder
- ½ teaspoon pumpkin pie spice OR 1 teaspoon nutmeg
- 2 tsp cinnamon
- 2 cups well-mashed ripe bananas soaked in 1 cup strong black coffee
- Optional: ¾ cup walnuts
-Optional: 1 cup chocolate chips tossed in 1 tablespoon flour (I didn't do this, which is why my chocolate chips sunk to the bottom.)

Beat the bananas and coffee for 1 minute.
Add flour mixture and banana mush alternatively to butter mixture, beginning and ending with flour (flour - banana - flour - banana - flour). After each addition mix to combine. Add nuts and/or chocolate chips last.
Generously grease and flour 2 loaf pans. Divide batter and bake.
If making loaves, bake at 350* for 30 minutes, then decrease the temperature to 325* and bake for another 30 minutes. Test doneness by inserting a knife or cake tester into the loaf – if it comes out clean you’re good to go!
If making muffins, scoop batter into greased (or lined) muffin tins. Bake at 350* for about 30 minutes. Test doneness.
Cool 10 minutes in the pan, then remove to finish cooling.

Distribute to friends, family, co-workers, and the homeless man on your corner. Spread that banana-licious love!