Banana cake is as unpretentious as bread and butter or toast spread with strawberry jam. Banana cake doesn't set out to dazzle your eyes (though it may very well dazzle your taste buds). It's not trying to re-create the (cake) wheel, by any means. Banana cake is as old and wise as the simple chocolate cake. I doubt you'd ever find this cake listed on the dessert menu in a fancy restaurant.
However, that doesn't mean this banana cake isn't something to talk about.
Banana cake has been a summer tradition in my family for as long as I can remember. Though bananas are available year round and this cake can (and should!) be made in every season, I only remember my mother making this cake during the height of summer. My sister and I looked forward to eating this cake with more excitement and anticipation than our birthday cakes. This banana cake could turn an ordinary Tuesday into something extraordinary.
While the cake bakes up in the oven, wonderful, sinful smells waft about the house. Like moths to a flame, we'd gather to the kitchen. When the glaze was fresh from the stove, we'd always swipe a finger or two through the still warm chocolate. My dad, to this day, requests to lick the spatula and bowl clean. I like to joke that we don't need a dishwasher anymore, though my dad does not find this terribly amusing.
Nevertheless, my family is still in debate about the best way to eat this cake. My dad and I love to eat this cake chilled. It brings a dense, moist heaviness to the cake and the chocolate glaze becomes stiff making it literally melt in your mouth. My sister, on the other hand, prefers the cake warm, which yields a lighter feel to the cake and turns the chocolate glaze divinely smooth. Though our debate may never be settled, the truth is that this cake is delicious any way you choose to serve it.
Do yourself a favor and create a little weekday magic by making yourself this simple, but charming cake.
This Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze is a classic cake with a lot of character. The cake layers are rich and moist with banana, while a touch of cinnamon brings out a greater depth of flavor. The chocolate glaze is very simple to make, melting together only chocolate and butter, but I could eat it by the spoonful (and I usually do). The glaze spreads smooth when slightly warm and holds its shape like a dream. This cake is quick to throw together and will disappear before you are ready to see it go.
One Year Ago: Grilled Peaches
Banana Cake with Chocolate Glaze
Yields 2 8-inch cake layers (or 9 x 13" cake)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup white sugar
3/4 cup brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
Preheat oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C). Grease 2 8-inch baking pans.
In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Mix in the bananas and vanilla extract.
Alternatively add and beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk in 5 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Pour batter evenly between prepared baking pans. Bake for 35-40 minutes, or until golden and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes before removing from cake pans. Cool completely before frosting.
12 ounces (2 cups) semi-sweet chocolate
8 tablespoons butter
In a double boiler, melt together the chocolate and butter, stirring until smooth. Glaze will be thick. Remove from heat and frost cake before glaze hardens.