Lately there have been lots of bruised bananas on deep discount at our local grocery store, which generally inspires me to make Banana Bread. Unfortunately, you actually can have too much banana bread, especially when it inspires familial conflict.
So I went looking for new recipes. I found one for scones and one for cake. I already have 2-3 banana cake recipes I like, but this one instantly trumped the rest. I ate three slices in a row and had to put it away before it really started getting out of hand.
BHG Banana Bread
(You can get the recipe here on their website)
For Easter breakfast I did make my standard banana bread, a double batch that made 7 small loaves. That seemed like enough for a while. Besides, in our house, banana bread is an ongoing point of conflict, if not a very imaginative one.
I like the Better Homes & Gardens recipe (light, soft, with lovely crunchy crumbly topping) while my mom likes the Betty Crocker (dense, dark, and – to my taste – too dry). Yup, in this house we have long-term arguments about recipes in standard 50s/60s American cookbooks.
My sister made my mom’s recipe the next week. I still like mine better. You’re either with me or against me. Note: the picture is of standard size loaves.
Butterscotch Banana Scones
Next, for our community garden work day, we still had bananas on hand and I needed something that would bake up quickly. Scones are often a good choice for quick homemade breakfast goodness, baking in 15-20 minutes and easy to divide into smaller serving sizes.
The recipe I tried was from a cookbook that has recipes from a tea shop in NYC, and the portions (even on the small end of the range they suggested) were fairly huge. The texture of the dough and resulting scones is very, very moist, unlike traditional recipes – again, American preferences.
One of the teens out at the garden wasn’t familiar with scones and compared it to a pancake/cookie mashup with bananas mixed in. They’re definitely more “caky” than “biscuity”. I’m not complaining – they were very tasty and easy to mix up and serve. But if you’re looking for a scone to dip in your tea, this one may break into tender chunks before it gets to the cup.
(makes 10-12 scones, I made a double batch for our community garden work day)
- 3 cups flour
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. baking soda
- 2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
- 3/4 tsp. salt
- 3/4 cup cold butter
- 2 bananas, sliced
- 1/2 cup butterscotch chips
- 1 1/4 cup buttermilk (or mix milk with 2 Tbsp. vinegar or lemon juice & let sit)
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- Mix together dry ingredients, then cut in the butter (you could use a food processor for this step). Stir in the sliced bananas and butterscotch chips until they’re well distributed through the dry mix, then mix the buttermilk and vanilla together and fold into the dough with a fork.
- This is a very, very wet “scone” dough, so you’ll need to put out extra flour to work the dough. I used sheets of waxed paper with extra flour, but it still started to tear from the moisture in the dough. Use a cup or pastry cutter to get 3″ rounds out of the dough, reworking remaining dough gently to make the rest of the scones.
- Place on ungreased baking sheets and cook at 425° for 12 minutes, or until lightly browed. They’re very tender, so be careful taking them off the sheets.
Yogurt Banana Cake with Mocha Cream Cheese Frosting
This banana cake recipe is one I’ve had in mind for a couple weeks – it’s in the Jewish Holiday Baking book that I’ve been playing with lately. If you like baking, get this book. If you’re avoiding carbs, stop reading this post and don’t even think about getting that book.
Not every recipe I’ve tried from the book has been exactly what I was hoping for, but this one is described simply as “a tender, moist cake” and that it is definitely what it is.
It’s rich with butter and eggs, but also has yogurt mixed into the batter and cream cheese mixed into the buttercream cocoa frosting. The extra dairy adds something nice to the texture of both. Plus there’s a bit of coffee mixed into both the cake and the frosting, which cuts some of the rich sweetness nicely without being a pronounced flavor.
So, without further ado, I proudly present, my dinner! I did have real food (Thanks Manny!) But I filled up again afterwards with this, because sometimes self control is overrated and warm cake with gooey rich chocolate frosting is one of those times:
- 1 cup butter
- 2 cups sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp. vanilla extract
- 1/4 cup warm coffee
- 1/2 cup plain yogurt (or sour cream or buttermilk)
- 1 cup mashed banana (about 3 smallish ones)
- 3 cups flour
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 Tbsp. baking powder
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 4 oz. cream cheese
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 3-4 cups powdered sugar
- 2-8 Tbsp. strong coffee
- For cake, cream butter and sugar, then mix in remaining wet ingredients. Sift together or stir together dry ingredients, then mix the cake batter together.
- Spread into a 13×9″ pan or 2 9″ round pans or 1 bundt pan. Bake at 350 for about 50 minutes, checking 5 minutes early for flat pans. Take out when the middle springs back lightly when touched.
- Meanwhile, cream the butter and cream cheese together for the frosting, then mix in the vanilla and cocoa carefully. Add the cups of powdered sugar alternately with 1-2 Tbsp. of coffee to get a thick, soft frosting. This stuff is delicious. No eating it before the cake comes out. It’s really, really good on the cake. You can do it.
- Spread the frosting on the cake and serve! Yum.