*now with more Beam.
To mark the end of the semester--and the completion of the MA degree that brought us together--I'm making a Banana Bourbon cake for Penny and me.
One of my favorite things about baking, maybe more so than other kinds of kitchen alchemy, is the the fact that my hands get dirty, sticky, sweet. So dirty that before I can rinse them under the faucet I have to lick my fingers. To wit, this recipe, with its mashed bananas, toasted coconut, and finely chopped pecans is a handful.
The bottle of bourbon, at the ready, speeds this along. So too, however, does the messy fun, reveling in the textures and processes that make something so tasty come to be: between your fingers the mashed bananas squish, the coconut crunches, the pecans crumble.
This recipe also demonstrates the other thing that amazes me about baking: very often, in the middle of making it, the batter/dough looks disgusting, absolutely inedible, repellent actually. Then, magically, it all comes together to make a taste explosion on your tongue. This recipe, mid-mixing, looks like vomit, but tastes like heaven.
1/2 lb butter (two sticks), softened
3 c sugar
2 c bananas (about 4-5), mashed
4 eggs, beaten
2 teas baking soda
4 c all-purpose flour
1 c buttermilk
1 teas vanilla
2+ Tables. Beam
Grease and flour 3-9" cake rounds. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream together butter and sugar. Add 2 cups bananas and continue mixing till smooth. Add beaten eggs and beat slightly. Sift baking soda and flour together. Add to batter, alternating with buttermilk. Add vanilla and Beam. Though Beam in cake (and not in a glass) may seem like a waste, I added some extra to make a Beamier cake. Mix well. Pour into prepared pans. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool on racks.
1/2 c banana (2-3), mashed
1 teas lemon juice
1/4 lb (1 stick) butter
2 lbs powdered sugar (1 big bag)
1 c toasted coconut (to toast: in pan with edges, place in 350 degree oven for 4-5 minutes, stirring to prevent over-browning)
3/4 c finely chopped pecans
Sprinkle mashed banana with lemon juice to prevent browning. In separate bowl, cream butter. Add powdered sugar and bananas. Cream on high till smooth. Add coconut and pecans. When cake has cooled, spread between layers and on top and sides of cake.
Though tasty, this cake has to be the heaviest I've ever made. I should be Swedish, named Magnus, and competing in the Strongest Man competition.