March 28, 2011

Banana Birthday Cake

{printable recipe here}
This month marks the third year for my cooking blog. The first two recipes I posted were Baked Chicken Cordon Bleu and Cafe Rio Pork Salads (that's still one of my top recipes).  From there I was on to a whole lot of baked goods- tons of Dorie Greenspan and Barefoot Contessa recipes. Clearly, not much has changed! I've met so many great people and learned a lot in this crazy process and I really appreciate everyone that stops by, comments, and let's me know how the recipes turn out!

I wanted to make something fun to celebrate and had a bunch of bananas ready to go, so I pulled up all the good sounding banana recipes from my cookbooks and let my facebook peeps guide me. Ina's Banana Cake was the clear winner so I got to work making that. It's simple and delicious, pretty much fool proof and pretty, too. That's why we love the Barefoot Contessa! I also lightened the recipe up a tiny bit with plain yogurt in place of the sour cream. I then un-lightened it by smothering it in cream cheese frosting, what can you do?
I have a lot of great changes coming to my little virtual kitchen here. I still struggle with balance (and not leaving my little blog behind too frequently). I'm going to bring a little structure in, though, and even try to get ahead. Maybe I'm learning? :) I'll participate in TWD (hopefully more frequently), share my favorite baked goods as usual, and then I'll have two new "days" to help keep me on track. First, I'm borrowing inspiration from the fabulous Freckles in April for the "Wednesday Want", where I'll post my favorite kitchen products and great recipes to use them (first up? Probably Silpats, I can't stop telling people how awesome they are!) Next, I'm dedicating Fridays to a new recipe from one of my cookbooks. Not revolutionary, but helpful to me! I know I'm not the only one that has too many gorgeous cookbooks sitting unused, so I'm going to promise myself to try one totally new recipe a week from one of my books and let you know how it turns out. I'm still working on a name (the best I've come up with is "By the Book Friday", yeah, this is not my forte and I would certainly love some help there!)

I also have my Yoplait delights giveaway from Yoplait via myBlogSpark winner to post, finally. The random winner is "Cassidy's Cakes". Please get me your info as soon as possible so I can pass it along and have it sent out! I'm sorry about the delay on the giveaway and lack of posting but we've had one crazy week. A seven year old little boy from Church passed away unexpectedly this week and we've all found ourselves hugging our kids, dropping off cookies, and hoping our hugs and prayers are helping a little. If you have an extra prayers do send them off for the Ellsworth family. You can also donate here to help with the incurred expenses. And give your family an extra squeeze, because there's nothing more important!

Old Fashioned Banana Cake
{printable recipe here}
Adapted by Anne Strawberry from Ina Garten's "How Easy Is That"

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar (I prefer dark but whatever you have on hand is fine)
grated zest of one orange
3 very ripe bananas, mashed (I make my little man help me with this)
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/2 cup plain, nonfat yogurt (Ina called for sour cream but yogurt worked great here, either is great)
1 teaspoon vanilla

2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt (I always use kosher but it's up to you)
1/2 cup coarsely chopped nuts (option- I omitted these for baby Strawberry's sake, but I would recommend pecans here)
cream cheese frosting (recipe below)

Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour a 9 x 2 inch round cake pan (note- a small casserole pan would work great too, or cupcakes- I'd guess you'd get about 18-20- just lower the cooking time to about 20-25 minutes).

In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine both sugars and the orange zest. Rub together until fragrant. Put on the paddle attachment and mix in the bananas until combined. Still on low, add the oil, eggs, yogurt, and vanilla and mix until smooth.

If you're feeling patient (not likely over here) sift together the dry team- flour, soda salt. Carefully add to the mixer on low speed, until just combined (you don't want to over do this and cause the cake to be tough). Stir in the nuts if desired (or chocolate chips!) Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes then turn out onto a rack, flip it over again, and cool completely. Frost with cream cheese frosting, garnish with nuts, and enjoy!

Anne's Cream Cheese Frosting
8 ounces neufchatel (reduced fat cream cheese), very soft- that's one box
1 stick (1/2 cup) butter, also softened
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 pound powdered sugar (half a standard bag- about 4 cups)

Cream the cream cheese can butter until smooth and perfectly incorporated on low speed, being careful not to go too long or too fast to avoid excess air in the frosting. Add the vanilla and powdered sugar and mix until smooth and delicious. We use the extra to make coveted "graham cracker sandwiches", just spread a few tablespoons between graham crackers and freeze. Yum.


  1. yah for 3 years, I adore the little girl in the backround! Sniffing out cake, ha!

  2. I've been wondering about this cake - next time I have ripening bananas, I'll have to try it, with cream cheese frosting, of course.

    I love your new idea for By the Book Fridays - I could use some discipline in that area myself. If you decide to open it up to other bloggers, please keep us posted!

  3. Love those pecan stars! What a cute idea. Happy ANNIVERSARY!! :o)

  4. My favorite flavor of cake ever is banana. I haven't tried this one yet and must!

  5. Hi, just stumbled upon your blog and i like it..great post and great presentation.
    Banana is my all-time favorite and I'd like to try your version of banana birthday cake for my grandkid's birthday. Thanks for sharing.