Sunday, March 14, 2010

with hey, ho, the wind and the rain

The weather gods are at it again.

I have no love for snow, but I don't know how much I like the current weather in Boston either. Rain is all good and well, but not so much when it comes at me sideways, and I'd really like to keep my umbrella right-side out, thank you very much.

I'm going to take it as a hint that I should stay indoors and bake.

Though I'm sure there are bakers who would beg to differ, I believe wet, miserable days aren't good days for project baking. They aren't days for pulling out a recipe for profiteroles or a multi-layer torte. Lousy weather calls for a baked good you can eat with your fingers and wash down with a big mug of something warm.

Cream scones. Fresh bread with butter. Banana cake.

Yes, banana cake. Banana bread is a fine wet-day baked good, but "bread" isn't quite the right word for the following recipe. Rich with butter and eggs, generously sanded with sugar and walnuts, it's really more of a cake. It's quick to assemble, and it fills the kitchen with a wonderful scent of bananas and vanilla as it bakes. With a thick slice of banana cake in one hand, and cup of milky tea in the other, the wind and rain aren't quite so bad.

All the same, if you'll join me in setting aside a slice for the weather gods, maybe we'll have better weather next week.


Sugar-Topped Banana Cake with Walnuts

The amount of salt in this recipe - a full teaspoon - isn't a typo. You need a fair amount to balance out the sweetness of the bananas, sugar, and sugar topping.

(Serves one. Leftovers will freeze. They also toast well.)

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9 x5 inch or 8 x 4.5 inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, cream together one stick of softened butter with a half-cup of white sugar. Add one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of vanilla, then beat in two eggs, one at a time. The mixture will be thick and look slightly curdled.

Mash three ripe bananas (about 2 cups of banana) in a second bowl until blended, but a little chunky. Fold the bananas into the butter mixture.

Stir in two teaspoons of baking powder, then fold in two cups of flour, followed by half a cup of walnuts. The batter will be fairly thick and sticky. Glop the batter into the prepared pan.

In a third bowl, mix together two tablespoons of white sugar, two tablespoons of brown sugar, and a quarter-cup of walnuts. Sprinkle the mixture over the batter.

Move the pan to the oven. Bake for an hour, then use a knife or skewer to test for doneness. If it comes out sticky, give the cake an extra five to ten minutes.

When done, cool the cake in the pan for five minutes, then carefully turn out on a cooling rack. (Watch out - the sugar topping gets everywhere.) Serve warm or cool with coffee or tea.

Note: You can line the pan with parchment paper for easier removal (lift the cake right out), but the cooking time will be longer.

10 comments:

Carl said...

Sideways rain with the windchill at freezing. It seems like this weather calls fo even more than a slice of this and milky tea... maybe setting something (or, heck, someone) on fire...

Lindsey @ pickyeatings said...

I'm with you on the weather. I have left my house twice, just to stock up on supplies. I too have been cooking and baking up a storm, and now I think I need another cup of tea.

adele said...

Carl - Only a fire in a fireplace, I think. Don't know how flammable weather gods are.

Lindsey - I'm impressed you left the house at all. :)

Lynne said...

How perfect, I have three very speckled bananas that were waiting for a recipe to come along and be used up in! And I ventured out earlier, but that was to go to a Pi(e) Day festival. (Pies eaten: vinegar, mincemeat, blueberry. Plus Guinness chocolate cupcakes with chocolate whiskey ganache.)

adele said...

Lynne - I might have braved the elements for a Pi Day festival. (I want those cupcakes!)

~~louise~~ said...

I just keep telling myself, I'm glad it isn't snow, I'm glad it isn't snow but, it really isn't helping very much. On the "bright" side, I passed by the house I came {this close} to buying and the river is so high, I'm not sure I would have made it with that kind of pressure looming over me. The house is still vacant.

As for that Sugar-Topped Banana Cake of yours, well, let me tell you Adele. I just tossed a few ripe bananas in the freezer and this cake of yours is calling their name. I just made brownies, but when their gone, Banana Cake it is!!! I'll let you know how I do...Thanks so much for sharing...

adele said...

Louise - Here's to the hope of better weather soon!

Solomon said...

Ooh. This sounds really tempting. But, the bananas in the freezer are reserved for a batch of Alton Brown's banana ice cream...

adele said...

Solomon - Buy more bananas?

Kelly said...

This looks marvelous. I just bought a bunch of bananas that are yellowing quickly--and I'm such a sucker for really good banana bready things (my first culinary obsession was banana bars with cream cheese frosting.) Thanks!