Tuesday, 1 December 2009

It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas

I really must find my digital camera... I know we took it with us on holiday in September, and I know I've downloaded the images from then, but don't ask me where it is now... anyway, until then I'll just have to keep taking blog snaps on my mobile phone camera, which isn't always the best quality... bear with me!

It's starting to feel a lot like Christmas at work - December 1st is always the day we put the tree up at work in our department, and Sue and I decided to bring some food in to make it more festive. I volunteered to do cake so I'd have an excuse to use my new Nordic Ware Christmas Wreath tin which I got on sale from Lakeland at a bargain £10.
Seeing as we had some over-ripe bananas sitting in the fruit bowl at home, I decided to make Dorie Greenspan's Banana Bundt, which is featured in her superb book, Baking: From my Home to Yours. Dorie actually credits the recipe to her friend, Ellen Einstein, who owns the Sweet16th Bakery in Nashville, Tennasee.
In addition to the recipe (below) which Dorie gives, I added two packets of white chocolate chips and at least a couple of teaspoons of scarlet food colouring - don't ask me why, at the time I thought the dye would make it redder and be really festive... actually, it just kinda looked weird and came out a bit orangey... one colleague kindly commented that it reminded him of a certain part of a lady's anatomy!

Be warned, this is a big old heavy and very dense cake - the taste is fantastic and it is beautifully moist, but I would suggest serving it more as a dessert with custard or ice cream than to go with a cup of tea or coffee.

Tip for the future, I would use three bananas instead of four, maybe substitute a bit of the plain flour for some ground almonds, and either go completely mad with the food dye or leave it out altogether! Recipe from page 190, Baking: From My Home to Yours

Ingredients: Makes 1 Bundt Cake (14 servings)
3 cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt 
8 ounces unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups white granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large free range eggs, preferably at room temperature
About 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (you should have 1 1/2 - 1 3/4 cups)
1 cup buttermilk, sour cream or plain yogurt

Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 180C. Generously butter a 9- to 10-inch (12 cup) Bundt pan. (If you use a silicone Bundt pan there’s no need to butter it.) Don’t place the pan on a baking sheet - you want the oven’s heat to circulate through the Bundt’s inner tube.

Whisk the flour, baking powder and salt together.

Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the bananas. Finally, mix in half the dry ingredients (don’t be disturbed when the batter curdles), all the sour cream/buttermilk or plain yoghurt and then the rest of the flour mixture. Scrape the batter into the pan, rap the pan on the counter to debubble the batter and smooth the top.

Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check the cake after about 30 minutes - if it is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool to room temperature.

If you've got the time, wrap the cooled cake in plastic and allow it to sit on the counter overnight before serving - it's better the next day.

Optional Lemony White Icing:
Sift 3/4 cup confectioners' sugar into a bowl and squeeze in enough fresh lemon juice (start with 2 teaspoons and add more by drops) to make an icing thin enough to drizzle down the Bundt's curves.


  1. Andy - what a great blog idea!

    You need to do a post showing the pans you have. This is a fact.

    I'll be checking back! :)

  2. Great idea Mr P! I wish I could find my digi camera instead of keep using the crappy one on my phone - trouble is the collection keeps growing and I have to sneak the pans in to the house! One day I'd like to have a big old cabinet with them all on display - lit up like works of art :-)!