From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...Banana cake can be ho-hum affair, so please accept what follows as my attempt to make bananas and banana cake a bit more interesting. Buried in the annuls of music history is a song called "Yes, We Have No Bananas". It was popular in the 1920's and the phrase was used on signs posted by British grocers decades later to let patrons know they were in compliance with bans that prohibited the importation of the fruit during WWII. It's generally thought that the song was inspired by a banana blight in Brazil, but it is harder to identify who originated the phrase. Some credit Jimmy Costas, a Long Island grocer, for the catch phrase. Others believe the honor should be given to the cartoonist, Thomas Dorgan. Whatever the case may be, the song became the theme of the Outdoor Relief protests that took place in Belfast, Ireland in 1932. Ironically, it was one of the few secular songs that both the Protestants and Catholics knew and could sing together. Over the years, the song has lent its title to a book about the depression in Belfast and been mentioned or heard in the movies "Sabrina" and "The English Patient." I'm told the phrase was used as late as 2006 in Australia, when a large portion of the country's banana crop was destroyed by a cyclone and caused a shortage for most of the year. Now, as it happens, my family of banana lovers have assured that I have bananas aplenty these days. This moist and flavorful cake is one of my favorite ways to use them. If you like banana cake, I hope you'll give this version a try. The frosting is especially nice. Yes, we do have bananas, we do have bananas today. Here is a lovely way to use them.
Banana Snack Cake with Cream Cheese and Walnut Icing...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Bake or Break
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 tablespoons canola oil
3/4 cup sugar
2 large eggs + 1 large egg white, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large ripe bananas
1/4 cup milk
4 ounces reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tablespoons chopped toasted walnuts
1) To make cake: Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Mist an 8-inch square pan with cooking spray. Mix flour, baking powder and salt. With an electric mixer, beat butter, oil and sugar. Beat in eggs and egg white, then vanilla. Mash bananas with milk. Stir half of dry ingredients into butter mixture, then stir in banana mixture. Mix in remaining dry ingredients. Pour batter into baking pan. Bake until a toothpick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, about 40 to 45 minutes. Let cake cool in pan on a wire rack.
2) To make frosting: Beat cream cheese and vanilla with an electric mixer until smooth. Reduce speed and gradually beat in confectioners' sugar. Spread cake with frosting and sprinkle with walnuts, if desired. Yield: 8 to 10 servings.
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