The Cake Slice: Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache

January 20, 2009 at 7:30 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, layer cakes, sweet things, the cake slice | 40 Comments

banana cake with praline filling and white chocolate ganache

Ack–I didn’t realize that this post and the TWD one would fall on the same day!  So in addition to having to crank out two posts on Monday night, I have also been subsisting on an all-cake diet for the past week!

This Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache happens to be the latest installment of The Cake Slice.  I guess the title kinda tells it all, right?  You start with a white cake, softly flavored with banana purée.  The tall layers are stacked with a white chocolate ganache frosting that has sugared pecans folded through.  Then the cake gets frosted with the remainder of the ganache, and decorated with the rest of the pecans.  I halved the original recipe to make a six-inch layer cake.  Normally, I get six servings from a six-incher, but this cake was so toweringly high that I was able to get eight!

I will admit that I did not make the sugared pecans according to the recipe’s directions, which call for deep frying.  I didn’t want to use up half a bottle of oil to fry off a few nuts, so I dry-toasted them in a skillet instead.  Then I added a pat of butter, a couple spoonfuls of brown sugar and a sprinkle of salt, and cooked the nuts until the sugar and butter made a glaze.  I use this technique to make crunchy candied nuts for snacks and salads all the time, and it works really well.

As someone who is not terribly fond of white chocolate, it surprises me to say that I thought the ganache frosting/filling was the star of the show!  The banana cake definitely has the texture of a white cake, rather than something more banana bready, and the flavor is gentle, too.  It goes so well with the frosting, which is made by mixing ganache into softly whipped unsweetend cream.  The whipped cream really mellows out and tones down the tooth-achy sweetness of the white chocolate, and the resulting frosting is soft, light and decadent.  I will definitely be using this recipe again, as it’s super-good and much less rich than a traditional whipped ganache frosting (which I have described here and here). 

 banana cake with praline filling and white chocolate ganache

All-in-all, this was a delicious cake…and one I’m really glad I made!  Here’s a printable link to the recipe (better yet, get your hands on a copy of Sky High: Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes by Alicia Huntsman and Peter Wynne), and cruise through the list of The Cake Slice Bakers to check out all of our banana cakes this month.

Tuesdays with Dorie: Black-and-White Banana Loaf

August 5, 2008 at 5:32 am | Posted in cakes & tortes, groups, simple cakes, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 54 Comments

black-and-white banana loaf

I love a making loaf cakes (and Bundts, too…wink, wink, nudge, nudge), so I was glad to see that Ashlee of A Year In The Kitchen chose Dorie’s Black-and-White Banana Loaf for TWD this week.  Loaf cakes are basically throw together no-brainers, although this one has the extra steps of melting chocolate, mashing a banana and marbling.  Still no-brainers, but with a few more bowls to wash at the end.

I also love stuff baked with bananas.  I do find this odd, since I don’t like raw bananas at all–ick!  But they smell so good baking in the oven, and make for super-moist cakes, breads and muffins.  You’ll hear no complaints from me on this cake (it tastes just like you’d expect), although perhaps I could work on my marbling skills…what I did just looks like blobs.  Dorie said to make this more white than black, but I paid that no mind and went more black than white.

black-and-white banana loaf

Did I tell you I found a half-size loaf pan a couple months ago?  Really, I don’t even know why I have larger baking pans anymore…they rarely see the light of day.  The little guy’s almost as deep as a normal loaf, though, so it doesn’t really shave anything off the baking time.

black-and-white banana loaf

Look in Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan or read Ashlee’s post to find the recipe.  Don’t forget to check out the TWD Blogroll to see what over 200 other people had to say!

P.S.: I’m still out of town…back in a couple days!

Mom’s Banana Apple Bread

April 20, 2008 at 5:35 pm | Posted in book review, breakfast things, cakes & tortes, events, muffins & quick breads, simple cakes, sweet things | 54 Comments

banana apple bread

Well, not my mom’s.  I’m guessing Melissa Murphy’s mom’s, since it’s in her new cookbook The Sweet Melissa Baking Book.  You know, I really don’t like bananas in their raw form (not even in smoothies), but once they are baked into something sweet, it’s a whole ‘nother story.  R does like to have bananas in his cereal, but sometimes he buys more than he can eat.  When that happens, I wrap them up and stash them in the freezer…after I’ve accumulated a few, it’s time for banana bread, cake or muffins!

What makes this particular banana bread extra-special are the bits of caramelized apple throughout.  Most banana bread has a pretty good shelf life and can even get better after a day of so.  This one is no exception, as the sweet apples just meld more into the spiced bread.

I was so happy with this, that I’m entering it into Sydneysider Not Quite Nigella’s Banana Bread Bakeoff event.  If you have a favorite banana bread recipe, go check out her bakeoff, too.

banana apple bread

Mom’s Banana Apple Bread– makes one 1 1/2-quart loaf pan
from The Sweet Melissa Baking Book by Melissa Murphy. All rights reserved. Copyright © Melissa Murphy, 2008

For the apples:
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons firmly packed dark brown sugar
2 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, and cut into 1/2-inch pieces
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the banana bread:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground cloves
¼ teaspoon freshly ground nutmeg
½ teaspoon kosher salt
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
¼ cup fresh orange juice
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups very ripe mashed bananas (2 to 3)

Before you start:
Position a rack in the center of your oven and preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter and flour a 1 1/2-quart loaf pan.

To make the apples:
Preheat a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add the butter and brown sugar and heat until bubbling. Add the apples and cinnamon and sauté until golden and tender, about 5 minutes. Stir in the vanilla. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool.

To make the banana bread:
-In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and salt.

-In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 1 to 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl.

-In a small bowl, combine the orange juice and vanilla.

-Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture in three batches, alternating with the orange juice mixture, mixing well after each addition. Scrape down the sides of the bowl after each flour addition. Stir in the mashed bananas until combined. Then stir in the reserved apples.

-Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes, or until a wooden skewer inserted into the center comes out clean. Remove to a wire rack to cool for 20 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool further.

*Serve slightly warm or at room temperature. The banana bread keeps well wrapped in plastic wrap at room temperature for up to 3 days. For longer storage, freeze well wrapped in plastic wrap and then aluminum foil for up to 3 weeks. Defrost (still wrapped) at room temperature.

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Coco Rochers

March 10, 2020 at 3:35 pm | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 5 Comments
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coco rochers

Coco Rochers…what are those? Turns out, they are coconut macaroons. Just four ingredients (unsweetened coconut, sugar, egg whites and vanilla) get heated up for a gently cooked batter that’s then chilled, scooped and baked. I have to confess to you that I added a pinch of salt, too, so I guess that’s really five ingredients. If you want to make it six, add a chocolate drizzle or dip…something I’ll do next time, for sure. My unsweetened coconut is the very fine and fluffy desiccated stuff. I was able to pack the mix pretty tightly into my cookie scoop, and it made for macaroons that were a lot like the Manischewitz-type ones in a can. I’m a big fan of those, by the way. I made just 1/4 batch with the one egg white I had already separated in the fridge. I’m wishing I had more, but they are easy enough to make again anytime.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Palmiers

April 9, 2019 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, general pastry, groups, other sweet, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 7 Comments
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palmiers

What to do with a little stack of frozen puff pastry scraps left over from Banana-Nutella Chaussons and a Potato Tourte? Make Palmiers! These are so easy. Just roll puff into a square, brush with melted butter, sprinkle with sugar and fold in towards the center. I used vanilla sugar for extra flavor, and because I found a jar of it in my cupboard and want to use it up. Some of my palmiers sort of unfurled into donut shapes the oven, but I don’t mind. Puff pastry does what it wants to sometimes…I like things made with it to be really caramelized and crispy, taken almost to the edge of dark. I’ve got no time for pale puff. These palmiers are just as good with ice cream as they are with coffee.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Toasted Buckwheat and Chopped Chocolate Sablés

March 12, 2019 at 9:23 pm | Posted in BCM, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 10 Comments
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toasted buckwheat and chopped chocolate sablés

These Toasted Buckwheat and Chopped Chocolate Sablés begin with the unusual instruction to toast the buckwheat flour until it darkens and and smells roasted. Buckwheat has a nutty, earthy flavor to begin with, and this extra step really brings that out. I think it changes the texture of the flour a bit, too, making it drier, and in turn making the sablés even sandier. Buckwheat and chocolate is a winning combo, and I liked these, with their flecks of chopped bittersweet chocolate, a lot. Sweet with a touch of savory, they are sturdy and crisp, yet crumbly and tender all at the same time. Seems I’m churning out batch after batch of cookies these days, but I have another winner on my hands so I’m not complaining!

toasted buckwheat and chopped chocolate sablés

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Crunchy Granola

January 23, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, breakfast things, cereals, groups, tuesdays with dorie | 8 Comments
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crunchy granola

Granola and yogurt with half a banana is my go-to weekday breakfast. I used to make a big batch of my own cereal every couple of weeks, but then I got lazy and started buying it again. New York City, and Brooklyn in particular, is big in the small-batch granola scene (Surprised? I bet not.), and I have dutifully tried every little cutely packaged and expensive hipster brand I can find at local gourmet shops. Some are great, and some not so much, but homemade is even more delicious– and definitely cheaper– than the best brand I know of.

This Crunchy Granola reminds me of how fresh and easy to make homemade granola is. One of the best parts of going DIY is that you can customize your mix and put in all the bits and pieces you like the most (no thanks, goji berries). I like almonds and pecans, dried cherries, seeds and coconut in big chips. I like extra salt and a little less sweet stuff. I like it well-toasted and a combo of clumps and loose bits. One little trick that I usually do with my homemade granola is to toss the coconut on the tray (I use a metal sheet tray) at the very end, turn the oven off and let the tray cool down along with the oven…extra crunchiness without burned coconut. Oh, and never add the dried fruit until the granola’s out of the oven and cooled. I’ve screwed that one up before and it doesn’t taste good. This batch was just perfect though and I’m already looking forward to tomorrow’s brekkie.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie DC: Chunkers

January 2, 2018 at 12:01 am | Posted in cookies & bars, DC, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 4 Comments
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chunkers

Chunkers are basically chocolate held together with more chocolate– awesome! Start with a brownie-like chocolate base, stir in a ton of chopped milk and dark chocolate, as well as dried cherries and cashews, and you get chunky, chewy, gooey globs. I made mine on the small side, but you can go big with them as well. You could mix up the fruit and nuts, too. I can see these taking well to lots of combos. They’re a delicious way to kick off a new year of cookie baking.

Something felt familiar about these cookies, so I reviewed “my files” and discovered that I actually made these before with BCM. That was like, ummm, ten years ago (!)…no wonder my memory was a little fuzzy.

For the recipe, see Dorie’s Cookies by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and please join us if you haven’t already!

Tuesdays with Dorie BWJ: Chocolate-Cinnamon Beignets

April 19, 2016 at 8:18 pm | Posted in BWJ, general pastry, groups, other sweet, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 6 Comments
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chocolate-cinnamon beignets

Normally when I think beignet, I just think donut…well, French donut, I guess.  Something made with a donut-like dough.  Usually involving yeast.  It turns out there’s another type of beignet that I wasn’t really aware of…one made with fried pâte à choux dough, and Norman Love’s Chocolate-Cinnamon Beignets are an example.  These ones have cocoa and cinnamon flavoring the choux dough and a filling of caramelized banana pastry cream.  Yeah, there are a a bunch of things to make, but mmmmm.

Assembling these beignets is a lot like forming dumplings or ravioli.  The choux dough is wrapped and chilled, before being rolled, cut and filled.  And then folded, crimped, frozen and fried.  I’ve never rolled out choux dough before, so this was a fun exercise.  I could have cut the dough into circles like in the recipe (and made half-moons), but I cut it into squares instead (and made triangles) so I wouldn’t have any scraps to waste or otherwise deal with.  Different geometry, but it all tastes the same.

These are best served à la minute, right when they’re fried crisp and the filling is warm.  The recipe calls for serving the beignets with a sweet walnut and cream sauce, which I’m sure is delicious, but I had some chocolate-tahini sauce I made the other week and I used that instead. I added a scoop of vanilla ice cream and some sliced bananas, just because.

For the recipe, see Baking with Julia by Dorie Greenspan.  There’s also a video of Norman and Julia making the beignets together.  Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll!

Tuesdays with Dorie BCM: Granola Energy Bars

January 13, 2015 at 12:01 am | Posted in BCM, breakfast things, cookies & bars, groups, sweet things, tuesdays with dorie | 20 Comments
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granola energy bars

Granola and yogurt is my standard weekday morning brekkie.   It’s fast, it’s easy and I like it.  Sometimes I add a banana to jazz it up but, all in all, I keep it all pretty plain, so it’s fairly healthy.  A lot of store-bought granola is anything but, with loads of sugar and add-ins.  Store-bought granola bars are usually the same way…more like candy bars than healthy snacks.  I eat enough sugar for dessert, so I try to avoid those “extra” sweets during the day.  If you wanna control what goes in it, I guess you gotta make it yourself!

These Granola Energy Bars are loaded with nuts, seeds, dried fruit (I used raisins, cherries and apricots) and oats, of course, bound together with brown rice syrup.  I think the brown rice syrup helps keep the bars chewy, too, but corn syrup or golden syrup would be likely substitutes if you can’t find it easily.  These were a cinch to make, and I feel good about what went into them.  And they’re filling, too, if you just need a little something to hold you over.

I bought the brown rice syrup at the health food store just for this recipe, so I’m not sure what I’ll do with the rest of the jar…apart from making more granola bars.  Perhaps I’ll tweak the recipe to make my own homemade, fresh version of the candy bar kind with mini chocolate chips and peanuts, for dessert, of course.

For the recipe, see Baking Chez Moi by Dorie Greenspan. Don’t forget to check out the rest of the TWD Blogroll and please join us, if you haven’t already!

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