Thursday, February 14, 2008

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

I'm surprised that i'm not sick of banana desserts by now. This is the sixth banana recipe i've made since January. I have a habit of comparing banana bread/cake/muffin recipes. The little variations spark my curiosity.

This recipe has a higher proportion of fat than the others. A good dose of butter and sour cream makes the crumb very delicate and soft. It's more like a decadent pound cake than a traditional banana bread. Try to get the banana extract if you can; I thought my cake could have used more banana flavor. The mace is a nice peppery, nutmeg-like touch.

The directions might seem a little complicated or over the top. The details are related to texture. Pureeing and straining the bananas removes the seeds and improves their texture. Cake flour, sour cream, and superfine sugar improve the cake's tenderness and crumb. Creaming the butter and sugar and gently folding in the ingredients ensures a light, fluffy cake rather than a dense, tough one.

I cut up most of this cake and took it to work. It was definitely interesting and well enjoyed, but i'm not sure i'll make it again soon.

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake
adapted from Carole Walter's Great Coffee Cakes, Sticky Buns, Muffins & More

2 1/2 cups sifted cake flour, spooned in and leveled
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp mace
2 large, very ripe bananas
1 tsp lemon juice
3/4 cup sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
3/4 tsp banana extract
3/4 cup unsalted butter (1.5 sticks) slightly firm
1 1/4 cups superfine sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips
1 large recipe vanilla glaze

1. Position the rack in the lower third of the oven. Heat the oven to 350F. Generously butter a 10 inch bundt pan, dust with flour, then invert it over the kitchen sink and tap firmly to remove the excess flour. Set aside.

2. In a large bowl, thoroughly whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, and mase. Set aside.

3. Cut the bananas into 1 inch pieces and place with the lemon juice in the bowl of a food processor fitted with the steel blade. Process for 30 seconds, then stop the machine and scrape down the sides of the bowl. Process for another 10 seconds, or until the bananas are pureed. Strain the puree through a medium-gauge strainer. You should have a generous cupful. Stir the sour cream and extracts into the bananas and set aside.

4. Cut the butter into 1 inch pieces and place in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Mix on medium speed until smooth and lightened in color, about 2 minutes. Add the sugar, 1 to 2 tablespoons at a time, taking 6 to 8 minutes. Blend in the eggs, one at a time, beating thoroughly after each addition, scraping down the side of the bowl as needed.

5. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add the dry ingredients alternately with the banana/sour cream mixture, dividing the flour mixture into four parts and the liquid into three parts, beginning and ending with the flour. Scrape down the side of the bowl, then mix for 10-15 seconds longer. Remove the bowl from the machine and, using a large rubber spatula, fold in the mini chocolate chips.

6. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Smooth the surface with the back of a large soupspoon and bake for 55-60 minutes. The cake is done when the top is golden brown and firm to the touch, and a wooden skewer inserted deeply in the center comes out clean.

7. Remove the cake from the oven and let stand on a cooling rack for 10 minutes. Invert the pan onto the rack and carefully lift it off. As the cake is cooling, prepare the vanilla glaze. While the cake is still warm, place a piece of parchment or wax paper under the rack and spoon the glaze onto the cake. The glaze will harden as the cake cools. Store under a cake dome or tightly covered with aluminum foil for up to 7 days. This cake may be frozen before glazing. You can also omit the chocolate chips and fold in 1/2 to 3/4 cup medium-chopped walnuts or pecans.

Vanilla Glaze
1 cup strained powdered sugar
3 to 4 tbsp hot water, milk, or cream
2 tsp light corn syrup
1/4 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/8 tsp lemon juice
2 pinches salt

Place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl. Add 3 tsp of the hot water or milk, the corn syrup, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt. Stir until smooth. Add additional liquid as needed to make a thin glaze. Use immediately if possible, or rewarm by setting the bowl in a bowl of hot water.


natalie said...

lovely-looking banana cake - the square pan makes it look old fashioned, which I really like!

I love the flavor of sour cream in cakes. I think it's subtle, but it adds a certain depth to cakes which makes the difference between a plain cake and a great one.

I think I'll be taking a break from bananas too. Maybe it's the cold, snowy weather that got me craving for some strawberries...can't wait till summer!

Have a great V-Day!

Koren said...

I've never seen a square tube pan. Very pretty.

slush said...

What a pretty cake. I agree the square pan gives a charm that isnt there with the round.

Jennifer said...

Looks delicious! I've recently discovered Carole Walter, and I've been wondering where she's been all my baking life. BTW, is that a square Bundt pan? Very cool.

Deborah said...

What a gorgeous cake! I love the pan!

Amanda said...

this looks perfect with a nice steaming cup of coffee... i don't think i could ever tire of bananas, especially in baked form

Steven said...

mmmm looks delicious. i need myself a square bundt pan like that.

Brilynn said...

I made the peanut butter banana muffins you posted a while ago, they were great!

And I love the way your new pan made this cake look!

Kevin said...

That cake looks good! I like the shape of the cake mold. I never tire of banana recipes. Bananas smell so good when baking.

B. said... looks great and yummy...;) And photos are beautiful too...What camera do you use?

Keep up the good work. I look forward to your new posts.


Aran Goyoaga said...

I happen to love bananas too! I found your blog through "time to Make the Doughnuts" event. Your doughnuts looked sooo good... and I made caramelized banana beignets. we must have been in the same wave length. I wanted to let you know that your blog is beautiful and I love all the photos. Well done!

Lisa Campbell said...


I'm using a Canon Rebel XTi, usually with a 50mm f/1.4 lens.

The beignets sound delicious! Thanks for the lovely comment.

Tartelette said...

Love the new square pan! Makes the banana chocolate cake perfect!

Angela said...

Hey, where do you buy cake flour in Pittsburgh? I checked Giant Eagle on Center and they don't have any.

Lisa said...

Hi Angela-

I usually buy my cake flour at that Giant Eagle- it's usually in the baking aisle, towards the back (closer to the dairy). It's usually in a cardboard box labeled Softasilk or Swans Down.