Tuesday, April 12, 2011

my birthday cake

Friday was my 35th (!!) birthday, and since it was a hectic day for me at the International Quilt Festival, I didn't get around to any birthday cake until Sunday. Jeff and my mom both offered to get a cake for me, but since I love to bake I decided to make one myself, with the help of Aidan and Olivia too, in between their busy schedule of dressing up as some funky cowboys and cowgirls. I had a hard time choosing what type of cake I wanted, but I knew it would be one from Martha's Baking Handbook.

If you like you bake to at all, you need this book. It's fabulous. I finally decided on Banana-Caramel Cake with Marscapone Frosting and Caramel Sauce. With a caramelized banana filling.

Here's my super yummy adapted recipe:

Banana Caramel Cake

1 1/2 sticks plus 3T butter, at room temperature, plus more for pans
2 3/4 c flour, plus more for pans
1 1/2t baking powder
1 t baking soda
1/2 t salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed, plus 3 ripe bananas sliced lengthwise for filling
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1 t vanilla extract
1 2/3 c plus 1/4 c sugar
4 eggs

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two round 9'' cake pans and dust with flour. Tap out excess and set aside. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Set aside. In a small bowl stir together the mashed bananas, yogurt, and vanilla extract. Set aside.

With an electric mixer, beat 1 1/2 sticks softened butter and 1 2/3 cups sugar on medium-high speed until light and fluffy (about 3-5 minutes). Add the eggs, one at a time, and mix well after each addition. Add the banana mixture and mix on low speed until combined. Add the flour mixture in two parts, with the mixer on low speed, just until combined. Do not over mix.

Divide the batter between the two buttered and floured pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean. Let cool for 20 minutes and then invert the pans to remove the cakes. Allow to cool completely.

Sprinkle remaining 1/4 cup of sugar into a large skillet. Cook over high heat until sugar is caramelized. Remove from heat and stir in 3 tablespoons of butter until melted. Return pan to medium heat and add the sliced bananas. Cook until the bananas start to brown and then gently turn the bananas over to brown the other sides.

After cakes have cooled, place one layer on a cake plate and arrange the caramelized bananas on the top. Place the other cake on top. Frost with Marscapone Frosting and drizzle with Caramel Sauce.

Marscapone Frosting

16 ounces marscapone cheese at room temperature
1 1/4 c heavy cream
1/2 c powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients and beat on high speed with an electric mixer, until soft peaks form, 1-2 minutes. Do not overbeat. Use immediately.

Or at least taste immediately. :)

Caramel Sauce

1/2 c sugar
1/2 c heavy cream

Prepare an ice bath and set to the side. Cook sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat until it starts to melt and caramelize. Stir with a wooden spoon until the melted sugar turns golden amber. Remove from heat. Stir constantly while adding cream in a slow stream--be careful, the cream will spatter! If mixture is not smooth, return pan to heat briefly while stirring until smooth. Pour caramel sauce into bowl submerged in the ice bath and let stand until cold, stirring often.

This cake was amazing. Not too rich, not too sweet. Just right.

But don't take my word for it.

Aidan loved it.

Olivia loved it.

Even Rosemary loved it, at least what she could get of it.

Let me know if you end up trying the cake too!

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