Classic Banana Bundt Cake – TWD (Rewind)

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I know, I know. This isn’t what you came to see.

It’s Monday night and I finally remember the impending TWD. I quickly consult my lovely Blackberry Memo clearly marked “Baking (TWD)” and find that I don’t have everything that I need and let’s face it, I’m not going out. I’m lazy, see? So instead I become as resourceful as I can, grab the bible…erm book and flip through it looking for great recipes that I previously missed out on, telling myself it’s ok to miss a recipe once in a while.

My intentions are good, cross my heart. As long as I’m virtually feeding you SOMETHING delicious, I get a free pass… right?

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So instead of this week’s TWD pick you get to hear about the black bananas I found in the back of my fridge (that I’m almost certain have been there for a month) and see this beautiful mini bundt instead of the caramel pots de creme you came to see. Let’s pretend it’s a fair trade. :)

I halved the recipe, used greek yogurt (which may explain the thickness of the batter) and baked in a 6 cup bundt pan.  This bundt cake is dense and tender. It comes together like a dream! You mash your bananas and everything else is toss in and mix. Dorie says to rap the pan against your counter to release some of the bubbles and to even the batter but my cake batter was so thick and heavy (think: a thick muffin batter) that it was impossible and unnecessary to do so. I leveled it off with my spatula, popped it in the oven, said a mini prayer and baked it up. It baked up beautifully golden brown and smelled amazing. The cake is delicious on its own but I just couldn’t stop myself from adding some honey glaze all over it! Sue me. But I did forget the ceremonious chocolate chunks. Sadness.

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For the honey glaze I whisked together 3/4 cup sifted powdered sugar, 2 teaspoons of honey and a light splash of heavy cream until uniform. If it’s too thick to pour add a small bit more cream.

For the recipe to this fab cake, click here.

If you love banana, try this one. I bet it would be great baked up in a square pan topped with cream cheese frosting, caramel drizzle, or even a peanut butter buttercream. Then served right out of the pan to friends with forks in hand.

Picture 122 copyFor the caramel pots de creme, head on over to Peggy the Baker for the recipe. I’ll be making it soon. But I’m sunburnt. And lazy. End excuses.

 

 

Chocolate Banana Cupcakes with Peanut Butter Caramel Buttercream

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And now, a haiku dedicated to my black bananas:

Unloved and hiding.
Begging for a second life,
In batter they go.

That’s my attempt at something cute at 10:30pm after a tough run, a tortilla for dinner, a headache, and a fitful night of sleep. Leave me be.

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I saw these on Tracey’s blog a while ago and I was overwhelmed by the cuteness of them and promptly remembered two black straggling bananas that needed a new home as their stay in my fridge was coming to an end. You see, they party loudly late at night and it keeps me awake. So they had to go.

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Chocolate and nanners are a great match. Nanners? I don’t think I’ll be saying that again. Next time I’ll toss in some peanut butter chips and drizzle with melty peanut butter just to mix things up. The cake portion was very soft and moist, chocolatey and banana-y, perfectly balanced. Topped off with this super easy peanut butter caramel frosting, a drizzle of chocolate or caramel (or both ;P) and you’re good to go! Add a chocolate covered espresso bean, if you’re fancy.

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Chocolate Banana Cupcakes
adapted from Tracey’s Culinary Adventures

1/2 cup heavy cream (recipe states coconut milk but this is what I had on hand)
1/2 cup ripe banana, mashed (about 1 banana, although I used 2 bananas)
1/3 cup vegetable oil (recipe states canola oil, again use what you have)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-process cocoa powder (I subbed black cocoa for 2 TBSP of the regular cocoa)
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt

To make the cupcakes: Preheat oven to 350 F. Line a muffin tin with paper liners.

(A semi-helpful tip to quickly mash your bananas: break up bananas into a mixer bowl and whiz them around on med-high speed until they resemble barely chunky baby food. You can achieve this with a bowl and a hand mixer, but this creates more dishes ;P)

In a medium bowl, whisk the mashed banana, heavy cream, sugar, oil and vanilla until well combined. The mixture won’t be completely smooth, but mix vigorously to get out as many of the large lumps as possible. In a second medium bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, baking powder and salt together. (Sift your cocoa into this mixture if it appears clumpy). Add the dry ingredients to the bowl with the wet ingredients and gently whisk (or fold with a rubber spatula) until flour just disappears.

Distribute the batter evenly among the liners, filling each about 1/2 – 2/3 full (an ice cream scoop works great for this). Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until the cupcakes spring back when lightly touched and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove the muffin pan to a wire rack. Let the cupcakes cool in the pan for 5 minutes then transfer them to the wire rack to cool completely.

Makes 12 cupcakes

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Peanut Butter Caramel Buttercream
from Cook’s Illustrated

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (not natural)
3/4 cup confectioners’ sugar
pinch table salt
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon caramel sauce

In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment (I used the paddle because I’m a rebel. Or I don’t read the recipe well enough), beat butter and peanut butter at medium-high speed until smooth, about a minute. Add the confectioners’ sugar and salt to the bowl and beat at low speed just until the sugar is moistened, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat the mixture on med-high until fully combined. You’ll notice it taking on a lighter color and a more uniform texture, this is perfect. Finally, mix in the vanilla and caramel sauce and beat on med-high to incorporate. Scrape down the sides of the bowl again then beat on medium speed until the frosting is light and fluffy.

Pipe the frosting onto the cooled cupcakes and garnish with caramel drizzle, melted chocolate or anything your heart desires.

Makes about 1 1/2 cups (enough to frost 10-12 cupcakes)

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Maple-Cornmeal Drop Biscuits

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My belly is full of mac and cheese, chicken and peas. I’m too lazy to type much. And too full to pretend otherwise.

These biscuits would have gone well with tonight’s dinner but they didn’t last that long. They were a small, lightly sweet drop biscuit that was simple to throw together and tasted great.

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I halved the recipe, made it in my food processor, used a two tablespoon cookie scoop to cleanly and evenly bake, and I used pancake syrup which probably explains why the maple flavor didn’t shine through as much as I would have liked. Baked for 9 minutes and they were perfect.

All in all, top these with some maple butter or your favorite not-too-sweet jam and you have a nice little afternoon tea snack. Or have them with chili (if you’re lucky enough to not be raptured with 90 degree weather at 100% humidity) or your chicken dinner.

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For the recipe head on over to Lindsay’s blog, A Little Something… Sweet (direct link to recipe here)

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Bacon Cheddar Scones

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I don’t like bacon.

There, I said it. Save your gasps, your looks of disbelief, and your monologues about how bacon is America’s greatest food. It’s just not my thang. And I’m ok with that, thankyouverymuch.

But that’s not to say that I am opposed to baking with it. I’m not going to be eating it anyhow, so I might as well experiment. I will say that I tried a corner of a scone and as far as overall flavor goes, it was good. But I wouldn’t choose to eat it because of the bacon. But I taste tested the scones anyway because I won’t post something I can’t get behind.

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And if I were a bacon lover, these would be phenom. Seriously. A whole pack of bacon, enough cheddah to sedate a small horse and pepper enclosed in a flaky, crumbly scone dough? Yep, it’s a winner.

So grab a pack and get baking. Just don’t share it with bacon haters of the world. Although I’m pretty sure that I’m the only one in that club ;)

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Bacon and Cheddar Scones
source: Rebecca Rather, The Pastry Queen

Ingredients:

3 cups all-purpose flour
1 Tbsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 stick well-chilled unsalted butter, cut into small cubes
1 1/2 heaping cups grated Cheddar cheese
10 slices bacon, cooked nice and crispy and chopped into 1 inch pieces
3/4 to 1 1/2 cups buttermilk (I needed 1 full cup)
1 large egg
2 tsp water

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine flour, baking powder, salt, and black pepper in a large bowl on low speed. With mixer running, gradually add cubes of butter until the mixture is crumbly and studded with flour – butter bits about the size of small peas. Alternatively you could prep the scone dough in a food processor, pulsing a few times to cut the butter in. Add grated cheese and mix just until blended. (This can also be done by hand: In a large bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, salt, and pepper. Gradually cut in butter with a pastry blender or two knives until mixture resembles small peas. Stir in cheese.)

Add bacon and 3/4 cup of the buttermilk to flour and cheese mixture. Mix by hand just until all ingredients are incorporated. If dough is too dry to hold together, use remaining buttermilk, adding 1 tablespoon at a time, until dough is pliable and can be formed into a ball. Try not to overwork the dough, the longer you handle it the tougher it will be. Remove dough from bowl and place it on a lightly floured flat surface. Pat dough into a ball. Using your hands, flatten dough into a circle about 10 inches wide and 1/2 inch thick. Cut dough into 8 to 12 equal wedges, depending on the size scone you prefer.

Whisk egg and water in a small mixing bowl to combine. Brush each wedge with egg wash. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes, or until golden brown and no longer sticky in the middle. Serve warm, fresh from the oven.

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Brown Sugar Bundt Cake

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This bundt is deceiving.

It looks simple, plain… unspecial. (Is unspecial a word? Probably not. I make up my own words. That’s how I roll.)

This cake is anything BUT. It is SO tender and soft and fluffy. The flavor is perfect. And you can customize it to best fit you. Keep it plain to let the brown sugar shine, add chocolate chips to make it as close to a chocolate chip cookie as possible, or do it Dorie’s way and add pears and prunes and nuts and all sorts of other good stuff.

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Me? I went with a heaping 1/2 cup of semi-sweet chocolate chips and a heaping 1/4 teaspoon of cinnamon into the dry ingredients.  And I do not regret my decision.

Not one bit. I didn’t regret it so much that I added some caramel to my plate. Love is a warm slice of cake.

For the recipe head on over to Peggy from Pantry Revisited.

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This is a keeper!!

Hot Chocolate Chip Cookies

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Let’s face it: it’s Summer in Houston. The weather is in the 90′s, the humidity is most likely at 100% (I’ve stopped paying attention to it, it saddens me), I’ve begun breaking out the dresses, and I refuse to straighten my hair for fear of the frizz-ball-fluff-hair-do.

I already miss hot cocoa. With peppermint and 4 huge homemade marshmallows.

But these cookies soothe my longing for the flavor of hot cocoa. At least until the temperature gets so hot that I’ll bathe myself in ice cream, live in my freezer and cry because it’s not November yet. Just being honest here.

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Hot Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:

2 sticks Salted Butter, At Room Temperature
1 cup White Granulated Sugar
⅔ cups Packed Light Brown Sugar
2 whole Large Eggs
1 teaspoon Pure Vanilla
3-¼ cups All-purpose Flour
4 packages (1 Oz. Packets, NOT Sugar-free) Hot Chocolate Mix
1 teaspoon Salt
1-¼ teaspoon Baking Soda
1 cup Each White, Milk, And Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips (or use whatever mixture you like, I added butterscotch just for fun)

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Preparation Instructions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats, set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, hot chocolate mix, salt and baking soda.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large bowl with a hand mixer) cream butter and sugars until smooth and fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time until incorporated well then add vanilla until combined.

Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in 3 to 4 parts, making sure all is incorporated. Do not over-mix, mix until the dry ingredients just disappear. Using a rubber spatula, fold in chocolate chips.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and chill the dough for an hour or so.

Using a 2 Tablespoon cookie scoop (or simply using a regular spoon and eyeballing) scoop the dough onto prepared baking sheets. Bake for 9-11 minutes, rotating baking sheets halfway front-to-back, top-to-bottom until edges are golden brown. Let cool for 5 minutes before removing from pan to a rack to cool.

Note: Adding cup up mini marshmallows would heighten the “hot chocolate” appeal. Cut 1/2 cup of mini marshmallows into quarters and mix in with the chocolate chips and proceed with the recipe.

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Peppermint Marbled Loaf Cake

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Sometimes all you need to cheer you up after a long morning is a few blogger friends to suggest baking something delicious together. You need to bake this anyhow as it is your next assignment, so why not? The only thing you have to lose are bragging rights that you typed and posted at 11:59pm on Tuesday night. So you dive right in (what the hayyy) and do it. And you are rewarded with not only smiles and a better mood, but a lovely marble loaf for your “trouble.”

And by “you” I mean me. :)

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Kayte was the first to answer my stress signal on Twitter. And although we could probably form the procrastination club together, I’d like you all to know that we baked this on Thursday. That’s right… not Monday night. And it was perfect timing as I could save me two slices and pawn the rest off onto my mom.

She will think that it’s a nice gesture and that I love sharing my baked goods with her but truth be told, I just need this damn cake out of my house, it’s SO good!! (Hi Mom!!)

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I went with the mint version which consists of white chocolate-mint and bittersweet chocolate swirls of lovely cake dough marbled together perfectly in a loaf pan. I didn’t have any trouble with this cake, although at one point I was afraid that I’d have a cake explosion on my hands, everything went smoothly. Even if I did accrue extra dirty dishes.

Slice this cake real thick, top with ice cream and caramel sauce (and chocolate sauce too, if you’re fancy like Margaret :P), dig in and slap yo mama. But not really.*

I’d like to thank the lovely Tracey, Kayte, Margaret, and Mary for brightening my day, even if they had no idea they were doing it.

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*Disclaimer: The Whimsical Cupcake (AKA: Jeannette) does not, in any way, condone slapping your mother. This may result in unfavorable consequences and/or a time out.

For the recipe, head on over to Carol from The Bake More. (Click here to go directly to the recipe).

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