Thursday, December 4, 2014

headed to amish country with banana cupcakes

Tomorrow I'm driving to Pennsylvania to visit my favorite cousin.  We're going to see an a cappella show, Straight No Chaser, and also plan to do some Christmas shopping.  There's also a pajama day in there somewhere.

I love going to my cousin's house.  I look forward to it months ahead of time, kind of like a kid at Christmas.  Not only because she's my favorite and she has lots of hotel shampoos I like to raid, but because it's like hanging out with my mom.  And I mean that as a huge compliment (hopefully she feels the same way when she reads this).  She's very much like my mom:  she has a great sense of humor, likes to have fun, always has something comforting to say, and is more like a friend with a bit of mom-ness mixed in.

Every time I go to visit I bring her favorite:  banana cake with vanilla buttercream frosting.  Although lately I make cupcakes instead.  It's easier and less time-consuming.  This time is no exception.  The cupcakes are traveling with me right now, actually.  As a matter of fact, I purposely timed this post so that she'll know the cupcakes are coming and her anticipation will build throughout the day. :)

Anyway, this is the recipe I use for banana cake.  No one has ever said anything bad about it.  Even people who don't usually like banana cake seem to like it.  I usually make them and then freeze them.  They freeze very well and they also travel well.  This buttercream really doesn't need refrigeration.  Obviously if it's a mega hot day, they should go in the fridge.  And I wouldn't keep them out for a week.  But a couple days is perfectly fine.

Dawn's Banana Cake
Makes 2 - 8 inch round layers (12 servings) or about 36 cupcakes 

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 pinch salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup white sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas, mashed
2/3 cup buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. 
  2. Grease and flour 2 - 8 inch round pans. 
  3. In a small bowl, whisk together flour, soda and salt; set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, cream butter, white sugar and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time. Mix in the bananas. Add flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk to the creamed mixture.
  5. Pour batter into the prepared pans.  (I use Wilton Cake Release.  Awesome stuff!  But it's NOT calorie-free.)
  6. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean.  (Sorry, I forgot to time it!)  
Note:  For something really delicious, add a bag of chocolate chips.  Yum!  You could also add nuts if you want to.  

Vanilla Buttercream Frosting (shortening-based)
This recipe frosts 2 – 10 inch cakes that have been torted into a total of 4 layers, plus some left over for decorating.  It generally will not melt or soften.  It holds up well.

1 2 lb bag of 10x confectioner’s sugar; sift if it's too lumpy
1 stick of salted butter, softened
2 ½ cups regular vegetable shortening 
1 tsp. salt
3 tsp. vanilla (use clear vanilla from the craft store if pure white frosting is desired)
¾ cup milk

  1. Mix the salt and vanilla into the milk.  DO NOT ADD THE SALT AFTER MIXING THE FROSTING!  If you add it at the end, you will taste a sharp “bite”.
  2. Cream together the shortening and butter.
  3. Alternately add the milk mixture and confectioners' sugar into the shortening mixture.
  4. Mix until well combined and not lumpy.
If you want a stiffer frosting, add more confectioners' sugar or less liquid.  For the liquid you can use anything from skim milk to half and half.  I usually use 1% milk.

No comments:

Post a Comment