2012 has been fairly productive in a knitting sense so far. I have a few FOs to share but before I do, I want to share my latest favourite cake recipe. This is another gem from my sister in law, and it is definitely one of those cakes that you make for friends or family. It’s casual, it’s simple, it’s rustic and delicious. Believe me, I’ve been making banana chocolate chip cakes for years and years but there is something really great about the texture of this cake. I normally ice this cake with a cream cheese icing which works really well with it. The tartness of the cream cheese plays off the sweetness of the bananas and chocolate so nicely, but my daughter doesn’t love cream cheese icing (if I hadn’t seen her being born myself I might have considered a hospital mix-up…cream cheese icing rejected by someone related to me?? wha??) soooo I took some whipping cream and chocolate and made a quick ganache. So here is the recipe. Trust me, this very unassuming cake in a square pan packs a serious flavour wallop. Plus it is super easy….
Anna’s Chocolate Chip Banana Cake:
1 1/2 cups flour
2/3 cup white sugar
3/4 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 3 large)
1/2 cup butter, melted
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
1. Preheat overn to 350 F. Grease and flour a 9 ” square pan, or an 8 ” square pan will do, too.
2. In a large bowl mix flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add chocolate chips and stir.
3. In a separate bowl combine bananas, eggs, milk, vanilla and melted butter.
4. Stir banana mixture into flour mix. Do not over mix or cake will be tough.
5. Pour into pan. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes until cake is golden and a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.
Let cool then frost as you like. For the ganache above, I used 1/2 cup whipping cream and 1 cup chocolate chips. Heat cream in a small sauce pan until it begins to simmer, then pour over the chocolate chips in a small metal or glass bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, then stir until smooth and glossy.
OK…now for some FOs to share:
And I am proud to say I started and completed a project in January that I had been wanting to knit for a long time. The pattern is called Meeting St. mittens, and I used Berroco Sox Metallics. I also bit the bullet hard and knit some liners with a fingering weight yarn. Worth it, but such a PITA. I was getting 10 stitches to the inch on the liners…good grief. But I love them!
I do. I find at a party, cupcakes are great. No need to cut pieces up for everyone…no forks required – at least in this house. The recipe I make the most frequently are the famous/infamous Magnolia cupcakes of NY City fame – the vanilla/vanilla offering. Very unlike me, but it does make the perfect party cupcake. A real crowd pleaser. There is also a recipe for the vanilla buttercream. Please do use the unsalted butter. It makes a huge difference.
I know, I know. The cupcake thing was very trendy 4 and 5 years ago, less so now…but please. I deplore dessert trendiness in so much as these wonderful desserts do not deserve to be cast aside! Remember the Tiramisu trendiness of the 90s? Gosh, that still burns me up…tiramisu did not deserve that. But I digress….any half rate baker can whip these up. Add a pastry bag and tip and you’re in cupcake heaven! I personally can’t stand sprinkles, but they do look pretty… I would also highly recommend Sprinkles Strawberry Cupcakes…yum!
….or you will be sorely disappointed. One night this winter, 4 families in our neighbourhood convened for pizza and drinks. While, eating, the dads decided to run to the Future Shop and buy Beatles Rock Band on a whim, leaving the Moms in charge of food, drink and children for a short time. I noticed a dessert on the stove, waiting to be baked in a casserole dish and together the hostess and I decided we should bake it (her husband had made it earlier). When the Dads came back, the host Dad was dismayed to detect a burnt sugar smell wafting from the oven. We had left out a crucial ingredient: boiling water. I did not realize we in fact baking a self-saucing pudding cake, just the same as my Mom used to make in the 70s and 80s growing up. I felt so bad for burning dessert, I assisted the host in throwing one together, and it was in the oven in 5 minutes. About 45 minutes later, we were all served a moist, fragrant cake sitting on top of a hot chocolate sauce with vanilla ice cream. Oh Yeah. One of the best things about this recipe is that you mix it in the casserole dish, minimizing clean up time.
How to: In a deep casserole dish, combine 1 cup all purpose flour, 3/4 cups of white granulated sugar, 3 Tbsp. cocoa, 2 tsp. baking powder and
1/4 tsp. salt. Mix with a fork. Melt 1/2 cup butter and pour over dry ingredients and mix with a fork. It will be pasty and weird. Next add 1/2 cup milk and 1 tsp. vanilla. Mix that in and smooth out the top. Now, in a small dish mix 3/4 cup sugar with 1/4 cup cocoa and sprinkle evenly over the top of the cake batter. Place the casserole on a baking sheet (unless you like dirty ovens) and pour over the top 1 and 1/2 cups boiling water. Bake at 350 F for about 45 to 50 minutes. It will be jiggly because the cake is floating on top of a chocolatey sauce (yum!). This is such a quick, satisfying dessert.
Incidentally, this recipe is my neighbour’s mothers recipe, that he grew up with, too. It really brings me back to eating dinner as a family in our small kitchen, my chair very close to the oven and all of it’s wonderful aromas. I hope someone out there gives it a go!
In the knitting department, I continue to be a tad obsessed with toe-up socks – I am working on writing up 2 patterns that I will offer for free downloads. More on this later…