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Monday, January 31, 2011

Banana Pudding Cake

Years ago, probably in high school, I made banana pudding for my dad. It was a baked banana pudding which is apparently the proper way to make it. Well, don't tell that to my dad. He straight up told me he preferred my grandmother's instant vanilla pudding, cool whip, refrigerator version. Not sure if I've ever made baked banana pudding since then! I learned my lesson. When it comes to something my grandmother makes and my dad likes, don't mess with it.

So it makes no sense that when my grandmother called me on Saturday to see if I was going to make my dad a birthday cake I decided to make him a banana pudding...cake.

I've never made a banana cake and even though I love bananas, I've never loved banana bread/baked things. This cake changed my mind though. Very good. Very. Very. The vanilla wafer toffee was made but I didn't like the look of it so much (although it tasted yummy) so I just used vanilla wafer crumbs. Oh, and the vanilla whipped cream? What isn't there to love about that?

Banana Pudding Cake
from Sugar Plum~Makes 10 servings
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 tablespoon cornstarch
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/4 cup oil
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large bananas, mashed
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 large egg yolks
3/4 cup buttermilk

Vanilla Wafer Toffee
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
3 tablespoons heavy whipping cream
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 1/3 cups coarsely chopped chopped vanilla wafer cookies

Vanilla Whipped Cream
1 cup heavy whipping cream
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Butter and flour bottom and sides of a 10-inch springform pan.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together flour, cornstarch, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on medium speed, beat together butter, oil, sugar and banana until creamy - about 1-2 minutes. Beat in egg yolks and vanilla until combined - about 1 minute. Reduce mixer speed to low and gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, until combined.

Place batter in pan; bake 30 minutes or until well risen and golden brown. Cool completely on a wire rack.

To make the Vanilla Wafer Toffee, melt butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat; whisk in brown sugar, cream and salt and bring to a boil, whisking frequently. Keep whisking and cooking for a minute or two, until sugar is dissolved. Remove pan from heat and stir in vanilla wafers until well coated. Scatter wafer pieces over a greased cookie sheet. Bake 8 minutes or until golden brown and bubbly. Cool on waxed paper, breaking toffee into smaller pieces.

To make the Vanilla Whipped Cream, beat cream, sugar and vanilla together in a large mixing bowl, using a mixer on high speed, until stiff peaks form.

To assemble the cake, first remove sides from springform pan. Pipe or spread whipped cream over cake. Sprinkle vanilla wafer toffee on top of cake.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Baking Lust: Bake + Vintage

My dream come true: Open a bake/vintage shop.

This one is cute. Red Velvet Art. Before and after seen on Design*Sponge.

Black and White Krispie Treats

I love homemade rice krispie treat. Maybe one day rice krispie treats will be the new hip baked good, like cupcakes, macarons, and whoopie pies have been the last few years. Except that it isn't reallly baked, but you know what I mean.

Earlier this week I saw a recipe for Hot Chocolate Rice Krispie Treats. I was immediately sold but when I got to the grocery store I just couldn't commit to cocoa krispies. It took me back to 3rd grade when my grandmother had 18 types of cereal and we ate a different one each day. Anybody remember Reeses Peanut Butter Cup cereal? I swear it looked like dog food but I still ate it. And Trix? I always felt bad for the rabbit and how they never gave him any cereal so I boycotted it. Really, I just didn't like it, but that was another good reason. I couldn't see me eating a bowl of cocoa krispies and instead just bought the regular kind. Actually the store brand, because I was feeling cheap that day.

So once I got around to making them I had to figure out another way to make them chocolate since I also felt too cheap for hot chocolate mix. If I drink hot chocolate I like the real thing. I hate how hot chocolate mix never dissolves all the way. So basically, I scrapped the whole recipe.

Here is what I did:
Black and White Krispie Treats
1/4 cup of butter (half a stick)
1 bag of marshmallows (plus 1/2 bag for later)
4 oz. good semisweet chocolate (1 bar)
6 cups rice krispies

Spray baking pan with cooking spray. Chop 1/2 of chocolate bar and melt with butter in a large saucepan over low heat. When chocolate and butter are melted add 1 bag of mini marshmallows. Continue to stir until marshmallows are melted and incorporated with chocolate.
Remove from heat and add 6 cups of rice krispies. Now add 2 cups of mini marshmallows. Stir in until slightly melted. Pour into prepared pan and press down. Immediately spread 2 cups of marshmallows on top of krispies and press down. Let cool.
Melt remaining 1/2 bar (2 oz.) of chocolate over a double boiler until melted. With a spatula drizzle over krispies and marshmallows. Let cool and cut into squares.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Caramel Cake: Revisited 1 Year Later

Friday, on the way home, I had a baking craving. I love baking cravings. I had no idea what I was going to bake but I was going to bake something. Somehow caramel cake popped up into my head. I thought of my first and last caramel cake attempt. It was a good cake but thinking back on it it was a little cakey. I should have split those 3 layers into 6 and upped the caramel to cake ratio.

Here is the sappy, sticky, sweet part:
Last year when I made the cake it was a random baking event and ended up taking it to a small engagement party for two friends who had just recently gotten engaged. I'm thinking about all of this driving home and I remembered a conversation I had that night with newly engaged Heather about how I had a date the next night with an art director in Charlotte. That's what I called him I think. Our first date was January 10th. So, I'm making caramel cake the same weekend as I did last year. The first weekend in January. The weekend of my first date with Jon. That is why I had caramel cake on the brain (or heart).

Here is the recipe I had saved and forgotten about. It was okay. Didn't quite live up to my expectations. The cake was ever so slightly dry and the caramel was good but maybe because I forgot to add the vanilla at the end it wasn't as good as it could have been. Oh, and the presentation...I had to tell Jon it was supposed to look like that! Jon and I took it to poker night and when he told the sad story of how I didn't make him a birthday cake we turned this into a 5 month late celebration. I told him to look sad in the photo.