You’ve probably been wondering what’s been going on behind the scenes. I was burnt out after the holidays and officially set a hiatus for all baking projects. Blame it on the mentioned winter blues or the fact that I’ve been trying to watch my wallet (and baking ingredients aren’t cheap) but it’s true. What’s strange to me is that I don’t really care. Before, I’d feel empty or lost because baking was a creative outlet. It may sound weird, but my fellow bakers out there know what I am talking about. Creating something delicious and decadent out of a few basic ingredients is a lot of fun. I’m not even talking about the photography part of it either, although that happens to be one of my favorite parts of the baking project.
To wake up my motivation, I bought Karen DeMasco’s “Craft of Baking” hoping I’d get inspiration. But that didn’t work either. In desperation,I sat down with a journal and went back to basics. What flavors sound delicious right now when winter is passing and spring is just around the corner? What is a daily staple in my diet? What can I not live without. Suddenly, it became clear. Bananas were on the horizon. Specifically, a Classic Banana Bundt Cake from the reliable Dorie Greenspan.
One and a half months later, my baking hiatus finally ended. And I was so happy to return to my baking roots with the lovable banana. Bright, yellow, sweet, and soft. Nothing could make me smile more. This cake is just as tasty as it sounds. Sweet and moist with a hint of spicy cinnamon, I think it would be a nice addition to your Sunday brunch. The cake is extremely easy to make and doesn’t need close supervision.
A couple of minor things to tell you about:
Use ripe bananas; this is not the place to use those green ones. You want a lusciously soft cake and ripe bananas are your magic weapon.
Sour cream is my dairy item of choice and I like how it blended with the banana flavors. If you prefer to use buttermilk, that would fine too. But don’t use whole milk; you need something with a little tang.
After 30 minutes in the oven, you must loosely cover the cake with foil to prevent the top from baking too fast. If you don’t, the exposed part of the cake will brown too fast and no good can come from that.
With that, I give you the recipe. I am so glad to have found my way back to the kitchen.
Classic Banana Bundt Cake
Origin: Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan
Yield: 12 servings
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cooking Time: 65 to 75 minutes
● 3 cups all-purpose flour
● 2 tsp baking soda
● 1/2 tsp salt
● 2 sticks (8 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
● 1 1/2 cups sugar
● 2 tsp pure vanilla extract
● 2 large eggs, at room temperature
● 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (should make 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups)
● 1 cup sour cream
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350℉F. Generously butter a 9- to 10-inch (12 cup) Bundt pan. (If you use a silicone Bundt pan there’s no need to butter it.) Don’t place the pan on a baking sheet – you want the oven’s heat to circulate through the Bundt’s inner tube.
Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda in a separate bowl and set aside.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat at medium speed until pale and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the bananas. Finally, mix in half the dry ingredients (don’t be disturbed when the batter curdles), all the sour cream and then the rest of the flour mixture. Scrape the batter into the pan, rap the pan on the counter to debubble the batter and smooth the top.
Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check the cake after about 30 minutes – if it is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool to room temperature.
If you’ve got the time, wrap the cooled cake in plastic and allow it to sit on the counter overnight before serving – it’s better the next day.