Little Banana Cake with Caramel Filling

Sometimes you just don’t want a big commitment.  Saturday, I went on a 16 mile hike up the highest peak in Orange County.  That was a big commitment; there was snow at the top of the mountain.. in Orange County…

I was totally ok with that commitment.

But sometimes, dessert can be a big commitment, especially cakes.

Because of this, I think my 6 inch cake pans were a great investment, and I think this banana cake has been my greatest creation from them so far.

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I actually made this twice, so I can tell you with confidence that it’s doubly tasty.

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Little Banana Cake with Caramel Filling

adapted from Epicurious

For Cake:
1 cup + 1 tbsp flour

1 tbsp corn starch
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 sticks (3/4 cup) butter
1/2 cup sugar, heaping
1 egg
1 ripe banana, mashed
1/4 cup + 2 tbsp whole milk
1/2 tsp vinegar
1 tsp vanilla

Caramel filling:
1/2 cup sugar
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp cream
1/2 tsp vanilla
pinch of salt

Icing:
1/2 cup heavy cream
2 tbsp sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Pre-heat oven to 350F.

Sift together flour, corn starch, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Set aside.

Cream together butter and sugar until fluffy (about 3 minutes).  Add in egg, continue to beat for another minute or two.  Beat in mashed banana, milk, vinegar and vanilla.  Add in flour mixture until well combine.

Pour batter into 2 (6 inch round) cake pans (greased, floured and bottom lined with parchment paper).  Bake 20-25 minutes or until golden and cooked through (mine took 25 mins, but yours might differ based on your oven so start checking after 20 mins).  Allow to cool completely.

Make caramel filling.  Melt sugar in a sauce pan over medium heat.  Once sugar starts to melt turn flame to low.  Work out any clumps by stirring.  Once the sugar syrup is a deep amber color, remove from heat stir in butter (mixture will foam a lot but keep stirring), stream in cream as you stir, then stir in vanilla and salt.   Set aside to cool a bit.

caramel

Level off each layer using a serrated knife.  Place your bottom layer crumb side down on a plate (put some pieces of parchment paper around the edges to get a clean frost).  Spread half the caramel in the middle of the cake.  Put second layer on top and spread with remaining caramel.  Caramel should still be warm to the touch but not pourable.  You’ll have to spread it with the wooden spoon and it will smooth out on its own (if you let it cool too much you won’t get a smooth top.  Alternatively if the caramel is too hot, it might flow over the edges, no biggie, you can cover that with icing).

unfrostedcake

Next make frosting.  Beat half a cup of heavy cream, once it starts to form soft peaks add in sugar and vanilla.  Continue to beat until it forms firm peaks.  Frost the cake as desired.  If you plan to frost the entire thing (including the top) and decorate, double the frosting.  I only frosted the sides

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then used a piping bag with a star tip to decorate the edges to leave the caramel exposed.  Both are great, tasty options.

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If you’re ready for a big commitment (aka a full size cake), double the recipe and bake in two 8 or 9 inch cake pans.

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Either way, store this cake in the fridge until about 45 minutes before you’re ready to serve it.  Don’t come complaining to me that your caramel is too hard if you take it out of the fridge and slice it immediately.  Like all commitments, that part needs time too.

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What’s your next commitment?

Please tell me it’s this little banana cake!

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Banana Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 great things inspired this blog post.  They both start with a B.   The first is Bacon.

That word inspires so many people to eat copious amounts of things.  I feel like Bacon is particularly fitting today, as it’s Super Bowl Sunday.  I would be a big fat liar if I told you I wasn’t excited for today, but I’ll be honest.  I’m more excited for the food than for the game, and only marginally more excited for Beyonce (that’s the second B…).

She’s my lady, and I love her.  Probably as much as most people like bacon.

So my contribution to Super Bowl Sunday (aka this…

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are these cookies

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Banana Bacon Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter
6 slices of bacon, cooked and fat reserved*
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
1 cup chocolate chips
 2 cup banana chips, roughly chopped

Cook bacon in a pan over medium heat until crispy.  Place on to a paper towel and allow to cool.  Once cooled, chop and set aside.  Reserve 1/4 cup of bacon fat.

Cream together butter, 1/4 cup bacon fat, and sugars.  Add each egg, beating about 1 minute after each.  Add flour and baking soda, beat until almost combined.   Fold in bacon, banana chips and chocolate chips.  Chill dough in the freezer while you preheat the oven to 350F.

Form dough into walnut sized balls, and place on parchment paper-lined baking pan.  Bake 12-15 minutes or until golden brown (this varies on the size of your cookies and your oven).  Allow to cool completely and serve.  Makes about 4 dozen cookies.

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*Note: if you don’t want to use bacon fat, omit bacon fat and use 3/4 cup of butter instead of 1/2 cup.

So make sure you get on this quick.  You’ve got a few hours until Beyonce (and the Super Bowl).  Run and get some bacon then make these cookies!

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Bourbon Banana Pie

I wish I could say that New Years Resolutions mean that pies are on hold for a while.  But no.  No no, I don’t wish that, because pies are always a good idea.

You know what else is a good idea: bourbon.  Oh and bananas.  We can’t forget bananas.  I eat one everyday; they’re good for you.  I don’t have bourbon everyday; we won’t talk about that.  But in this pie form, I might be willing to do so.  Although pie everyday might not be a good idea either, resolutions remember?

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How about a resolution to try new things?  I’ll be honest, the bourbon flavor is subtle, not overpowering.  It’s pretty much perfect, like this pie.  And really aren’t you tired of traditional banana cream pie?   If you are, or even if you’re not, try this:

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Bourbon Banana Pie

1 stick of butter, melted
1 1/4 cup graham cracker crumbs
1/4 cup powdered sugar
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup mashed banana (about 1 1/2 medium bananas)
1 (14oz) can sweetened condensed milk
3 tbsp Bourbon or other Whiskey
1 cup sour cream
1/4 cup sugar

Pre-heat oven to 325F.

Combine graham cracker crumbs, melted butter and powdered sugar.  Press into a 9 inch pie dish.  Put in the fridge until ready to use.

In a large bowl, beat egg yolks for a few mins.  Beat in banana, sweetened condensed milk and 1 tbsp bourbon.  Pour mixture into prepared pie dish.  Bake for 45 minutes (or until no jiggles when you shake it).  Allow to cool completely.  Once pie has cooled, make topping.  Mix together sour cream, sugar and remaining 2 tbsp bourbon.  Spread over the top of the pie.  Refrigerate for a few hours and serve!

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So given my obsession with adding alcohol to everything, it might seem like I’m an enormous lush.  Trust me, I’m not cool enough to be one of those people.  Pie on the other hand…

I’m definitely cool enough for pie.  So are you.  Go make this pie!  or Pin It for future reference 🙂 This is one you’re going to want to try.

Banana Coconut Bars

I’ve been on a bar kick recently.  Not the party kind of bar, like the cookie-that-you-cut type bar.  Like this:

As for the other type of bar, I’m not cool enough to hang out in bars.  You’re more likely to find me in a park.

A few weeks ago I had decided I wanted to open a bar.  Not just any bar, I wanted it to be an outdoor bar (think park meets bar, see where I’m going with this?).  I think it’s ridiculous that Southern California has awesome weather but very few places where you can enjoy the weather with a beer/wine in your hand.

Sure, there are bars with patios, but those are usually small and there’s no grass involved.  Grass is really essential to the full outdoor enjoyment. I still want to open that bar.  Would you come?

But enough about those types of bars.  Let’s talk about this sort…

I’m a fan.  You will be too.  Unless you’re like my friend Emily who hates cooked fruit, in which case you should make this instead… or this.

But if you love cooked fruit (I do!) and more importantly bananas and coconut and sweet goodness, then you should probably give these a try!

Banana Coconut Bars

3/4 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup all purpose flour (or just 2 cups all purpose)
3 ripe bananas, sliced
1 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup chocolate chips (optional)
5 tbsp sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/4 cup rolled oats
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp brown sugar

Pre-heat oven to 350F.  Cream together 3/4 cup butter and 1/2 cup sugar.  Beat in egg.  Add flour and mix until just combined.  The texture will be pretty crumbly, press into a 9 x 13 baking dish (I used a jelly roll pan and pressed it into about 2/3 of it) lined with parchment paper.

Lay banana sliced on dough.  Next spread shredded coconut on top and chocolate chips if desired.  Drizzle with 4 tbsp sweetened condensed milk.

In a bowl combine 1/4 cup flour, 1/4 cup oats, 2 tbsp butter and 2 tbsp brown sugar.  Use your hands to work it into coarse crumbs.  Sprinkle the mixture over the bars.  Drizzle with remaining sweetened condensed milk.  Bake 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.

Allow to cool complete.  Cut into bars and serve!

In case it wasn’t obvious, everyone is cool enough for this bar.

Some Meal Inspiration… or What You Should Be Making ASAP

Hi Guys.  I’m moving again.

So while I try to eat the entire contents of my shelf in the fridge and cupboard, I need to live vicariously through you.

I just ate celery and a hunk of cheese for dinner.  I’m considering supplementing it with some tortillas and… peanut butter.  Hmm maybe not the best combo.

Really, I’d like to be eating this Zucchini Goat Cheese Omelet.

Breakfast is totally appropriate at all times of the day.  Make it.  Tell me how it is.

Oh wait, I know how it is.  Absolutely delicious.  Just make it.  I’m already jealous.

Oh yeah, and I’d serve it with a slice of this Challah the side.

Don’t be shy.  It’s less complicated than it seems but just as tasty as it looks.

If I were in my new place, I’m make Bananas Foster Creme Brulee for dessert.

Wouldn’t you?  Yeah, you should probably head to the kitchen now.  I know I would if I could.

Be back soon with more new recipes from my own kitchen!

Vegan Banana Bread

I’m pretty sure there’s something in the Bible against lying to your parents.  But really, this wasn’t a lie.  It was more of a withhold-the-truth type thing.  See, if I told them this was vegan banana bread, something undoubtedly would be wrong with it.  I can almost guarantee they would hate it.

Instead, I fibbed.

I told them it was the same banana bread I’ve always made with butter and eggs.  A banana bread they love.

They loved this one too, and hopefully it won’t raise their cholesterol.

Vegan Banana Bread

1/2 cup canola oil
1 cup sugar
2 “flax eggs”*
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
4 ripe bananas, mashed
3/4 cup chopped pecans (optional)

In a small bowl, combine 2 tsbp flax meal with 6 tbsp water.  Whisk together and set aside.

In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In another bowl, combine sugar, oil, “flax eggs” and vanilla.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients.  Right before it’s all combine, stir in bananas and pecans.  Don’t overmix.

Pour batter into a bundt pan, bake at 350F for about 40 minutes (this will vary depending on your oven).

Serve and don’t tell anyone it’s vegan.  Unless you’re trying to impress a vegan, in which case you can sing its dairy-free praises.  However, should you decide to keep its vegan identity a secret, you might get what’s coming to you.

In the process of making the banana bread of lies, I got a paper cut on a bag of flour.  Call it karma or punishment. I call it an unfortunate casualty of baking.

Bananas Foster Creme Brulee and How I’m Going to Find the Love of My Life

I’m pretty sure this is how I’m going to get a husband.

One sunny afternoon, I’ll be making this wonderful creation:

I’ll serve it up to that special someone. He’ll take a bite and propose to me right then and there. Simple as that.

Okay, so it probably won’t happen that way, but I can almost guarantee that if you were to feed this to a fella (or lady! Gentlemen, don’t be scared to get in the kitchen!) it would most certainly, at the very least, land you a date.

Worth a shot, right?

Bananas Foster Creme Brulee

6 prepared ramekins of custard for creme brulee
3-4 bananas, sliced
3 tbsp butter
3 tbsp brown sugar
3 tbsp hazelnut liqueur (or rum, optional)
6 tsp white sugar

In a skillet, melt together the butter and brown sugar. Add bananas and turn the heat up to high.

Add the hazelnut liqueur. Shake the pan a little bit then flip each banana. Once the liqueur has reduced (and nearly completely evaporated), turn off the heat.

Arrange bananas over custard.

Sprinkle with a teaspoon or so of white sugar.

Using a kitchen torch, burn the top of the bananas so you get a good caramelized crust.

Serve and wait for a dinner invite/proposal/confession of adoration/etc.

If this doesn’t work… then I’m pretty sure men are crazy, and I’m doomed to be an old maid.