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Sunday, May 11, 2014

Banana cake with chocolate ganache

This year my aunt is hosting Mother's Day.  Instead of showing up with a cake without any warning, I decided to email her ahead of time to offer up some home-baked goods.  I had no idea what I was going to make, but I wanted to ensure that she didn't want me showing up empty handed.  She replied to my email, and not only did she want me to bring something, she had specific requests!  Namely some "carrot cake mini muffins" and a "chocolate-iced banana cake"  (my aunt's two favorites).  This should come as no surprise considering that I made banana cupcakes with chocolate icing for Mother's Day last year, and the year before I made a cute little centerpiece with banana cake-chocolate icing cake balls!  Listen, it is, after all, their day (my mom, my aunts, my grandma...and all the other mothers out there), so they should get the desserts that they want, right?

But not wanting to acquiesce so easily, I decided I'd make a riff on the "chocolate-iced banana cake" request and instead make a banana bundt cake with a chocolate ganache drizzle.  Besides the fact that I'm on a bit of a bundt cake spree lately (there was the red velvet one from when B's brother was visiting, and the daiquiri one, too), I also find them a bit easier to transport since they don't seem as fragile as a regular ole layer cake.

I made the cake exactly as the directions stated, and then just had to adjust the baking time to account for the fact that I was making a bundt cake and not a 9 x 13 cake.

"Best Banana Cake"
From Inside BruCrew Life


1/2 cup shortening
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
2 cups flour
1/2 cup buttermilk
3 brown bananas, smashed


Preheat oven to 350F.
Grease baking pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together the shortening and sugar until fluffy.
Add the eggs, salt, and vanilla until creamy.
"Smash" the bananas, or rather mash them.  I found a fork worked fine.
Stir in the bananas.
Sift the flour, cinnamon, and baking soda together and add to the banana mixture, alternating with the buttermilk.

Place the batter into the prepared pan.
Bake at 350F for 45 minutes (for bundt cake).

Let cool completely on a wire rack.
Transfer to a serving plate.
Drizzle with chocolate ganache (recipe follows).

Chocolate Ganache
From Alton Brown
(I quartered the recipe, since I just wanted to glaze the cake with the ganache.  It made just under a cup of ganache...and it was more than enough!  If you want your cake to have more glaze, half the recipe.  I cannot imagine needing the full recipe, which makes 3.5 cups of ganache)

Ingredients (for the full recipe; I quartered it):

16 oz bittersweet chocolate (I used semisweet), chopped fine
16 oz heavy cream


Place the chopped chocolate in the bowl of a food processor.

Heat the heavy cream in the microwave for 3-4 minutes on high, or until it just begins to simmer (which is what I did, since I had 1/4 of the cream).  Be careful not to let it boil over.
Pour the cream over the chocolate and let sit for 2 minutes.
Process by pulsing several times until chocolate mixture is smooth.

Use as is for glazing (which is what I did).

*If you wish to make a lighter frosting (which wouldn't work for this cake, but would work if you made it into a flat cake or layer cake), allow it to come to room temperature (about 2 hours).
Once at room temperature, place in the bowl of a stand mixer and whisk on high for 2-3 minutes.

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