Saturday, March 6, 2010

Chunky Monkey Banana Cake

I have a good friend who unlike me, can look in the fridge and make up a meal with the ingredients she has in the fridge. I myself will often not make something new if I don't have all the ingredients that it requires, she on the other hand, will substitute most of them. Sometimes I wish I could be more like her when it comes to this. Anyways, normally when I have bananas that are about to go bad and are very ripe I would make banana bread or banana muffins (Ina Garten's are pretty yummy). Who would have thought of banana CAKE? Well, apparently Katya did and came up with this recipe (for which I made up the name). Here it is...

Chunky Monkey Banana Cake
Katya Kushnar

This is what you will need for the BATTER:
*2-3 ripe (mashed) bananas
*1/4 cup sour cream
*1 tsp. vanilla extract
*2 cups flour
*2 eggs
*1/2 tsp. baking soda
*1 tsp. baking powder
*1 cup sugar
*1 stick unsalted butter (at room temperature)
*1/2 cup chopped walnuts- optional
1. In the bowl of an electric mixer with a whisk attachment, combine the sugar and butter. Beat about 3 minutes or until fluffy.
2. Add the eggs and mix on medium speed until fully incorporated.
3. Mix the sour cream with the baking soda and baking powder. This helps bicarbonate the soda.
4. Add the sour cream mixture to the mixer and mix until incorporated.
5. To the other mixed ingredients, add the flour. Mix JUST until thoroughly mixed together.
6. Add the mashed bananas and mix until combined. If you are using walnuts you can also add them in at this point.
7. Now, I have five 9inch baking pans, therefore I make 5 layers. You could also make four layers by diving the batter into quarters and baking two sets separately. Whatever you choose to do, divide the better EQUALLY into the GREASED pans. I do this by putting one heaping tablespoon of batter in each and then adding another one until I run out of batter.
8. With a spatula evenly spread out the batter among the pan.
9. Bake at 350F for 15-17 minutes or until top is gold and a wooden toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean.
10. Let the layers cool. I just let them cool right in the pans. (I do NOT do this with everything.)
11. In the meantime, make the cream, for which you will need:

*1 can condensed milk
*1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese (at room temperature)
*1 small tub of whipped cream (such as Cool Whip)
12. For the cream, combine all the ingredients together in a clean bowl of a mixer and mix until thoroughly combined.
13. Now we are ready to put together the cake... I always take a little cream or frosting and put a thin layer of it right on the cake plate. This helps the layer stay in place when I am frosting the other layers.
14. Take one of the 5 (or 4) layers that you made and place it bottom side up on the cake plate.
15. With a rubber spatula or long metal spatula evenly cover the cake layer with cream.
16. On the 1st creamed layer, place the second layer, also bottom side up.
17. Cream the second layer as you did the first and continue with the rest of the layers until all five (or 4) have been creamed.

18. Now also frost the sides of the cake.
.... I still had some cream left at the end... You could use this to dip fruit, use it on jello or a fruit salad..... Be creative!
19. Now, at this point you could be finished and serve the cake as is or with some dusted cocoa on top. If you want to go a step further I could recommend making a little ganache and pouring it on top... this gives the cake that perfect combination of bananas, walnuts and chocolate. If you decide to do this you will also need these ingredients for the ganache:

* 3 Tbsp. butter (unsalted)
*about 1/2 cup of semisweet chocolate chips
*Approx. 1/4 cup milk
(Also, if you have heavy cream, you can use that instead of the milk and butter)

20. In a small pan, melt the butter at low temp. When the butter has melted add the chocolate chips and mix until they have melted. Then add some milk to get the right, runny, consistency. You might not need the whole 1/4 cup. If using heavy cream, melt the chocolate chips in a double broiler and then add the heavy cream and mix until combined.

21. While the ganache is still hot, pour it SLOWLY AND CAREFULLY right in the center of the top of the cake. Either it will evenly flow out to the sides or you can gently guide it with a small spatula and GENTLY push it off the sides.
..... Wow! This seems like it takes forever but it really doesn't. You could also make the cream up to 1 day ahead of time. *If you do this, you will need to let it come to room temp before frosting away......
21. Put the cake in the refrigerator until the ganache is firm. Then take out and store at room temp (as long as it is covered). This way it will be nice and moist.