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This is the cake that I used to make the cake pops for Jen’s baby shower.

I have been on the hunt for the perfect banana bread recipe.  I’ve had it before.  Back when I was living in Washington DC and going to law school, I lived in a house with 2 other women, and during one summer both girls were gone and we had 2 temporary people staying in the house instead.  I remember that the girl was very sweet and made this amazing banana bread with blueberries that to this day I have yet to be able to replicate.  It was crunchy on the outside and soft and delectable inside.  She said it was her mom’s secret recipe.  She wouldn’t share.  For that I will always harbor some ill will in her direction.  Even though I can’t remember her name or what she looked like.  But still!  Resent her for keeping that recipe from me I shall!

Anyway, in this instance I didn’t want banana bread I wanted a banana cake.  I figure it is probably very similar, but rather than try to expend the energy converting things I just looked up a banana cake recipe that I knew would be good because it’s from my favorite food blogger, Smitten Kitchen.

Looking back I realize I haven’t done a true “this is how you make a cake” post, so here goes.

You want your butter and eggs and any other milk product at room temp.  Unless the recipe calls for cold dairy, which would be pastry not cake.  But that’s a different post.

Make sure you measure everything precisely.  I use a knife to level my flour and sugar.

Don’t over-beat your mixture.  I’ll say it again, DO NOT OVER-BEAT.  This includes everything from your sugar and butter creaming to the final step.  I know people think it’s ok to whip your butter and sugar into oblivion, and you do want to reach that creamed state in which it looks like paste, BUT if you overdo it, your cookies will flatten and your cake will not be so puffy.  There is some kind of science-y explanation but basically you’re destroying the butter and not allowing it to retain the moisture you need to evaporate and make things puff up.

You always want to mix the dry ingredients together.  Unless i really want to make sure I have no lumps, I usually just add the dry together and whisk it a bit to mix it and break up any clumps that may form.  But mostly to mix.  If I need to sift, i’ll sift.  Like powdered sugar usually needs sifting.

Also, if you’re going to need to walk away from the batter at any point, do it BEFORE you add the dry and wet ingredients together.  Once you do that the baking powder and baking soda start to activate and you want to get it into the oven as soon as possible for the best end product.

For the banana part, I like a bit of lumpiness because i want that surprise bite of banana every once in a while.  So I make sure to leave a few chunks and not mush it too well.

I also say if you need to sub ingredients, don’t worry.  The sour cream in our fridge had gone bad and the only thing in there was vanilla flavored greek yogurt.  So I used that instead and it came out just fine.  There are subs for buttermilk, eggs, cake flour, you name it.  In fact, I ran out of cake flour halfway through the amount I needed, so I used regular all-purpose flour for the rest.  No biggie.  It tasted good regardless.  Just look it up online.  They always have answers online.

In the end, I had a delicious, moist cake that made 2 9×13 pans.

Banana Cake

Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 cups cake flour (I used 2 cups cake flour, 1 ½ AP and it was fine)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup packed golden brown sugar
  • 4 large eggs (room temperature)
  • 2 cups mashed or pureed very ripe bananas (5 to 6 large)
  • 6 tablespoons sour cream or plain yogurt
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Butter and flour your 2 9×13 cake pans (or 2 9-inch round cake pans)
  3. Whisk cake flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and cinnamon in a medium bowl and set aside.
  4. Using electric mixer, beat butter and both sugars in large bowl until blended.
  5. Beat in eggs one at a time, then bananas, sour cream, and vanilla.
  6. Beat in dry ingredients in two additions just until combined.
  7. Divide batter among two pans; you’ll want approximately 5 cups of batter per pan.
  8. Bake cake until tester inserted into center of each layer comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes.
  9.  Cool each layer in its pan for 15 minutes before flipping out onto a rack to cool the rest of the way.
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