Chocolate Swirl Banana Loaf

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Chocolate Swirl Banana Cake

2 cups of flour

3/4 cup sugar

1 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

3 bananas, mashed

½ cup canola oil

1/3 cup buttermilk

2 eggs

1 tsp vanilla

3 tbsp cocoa

2-3 tbsp hot water

Preheat oven to 375°F.  In a large mixing bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and baking soda.  In a smaller bowl, stir together eggs, oil, buttermilk and vanilla.  Make a well in the dry ingredients.  Pour in wet mixture and add mashed bananas.  Combine all ingredients just until moistened.   In small bowl, mix cocoa and just enough of the hot water to make a smooth mixture.  Add in about 1 1/2 cups of the batter and gently mix to form the chocolate batter.   In a 9″x 5″ loaf pan that has been greased and floured, alternate dollops of of white and chocolate batter.   Use a knife to swirl the batters together.   Bake about 55 minutes total, 15 minutes at 375°F, then reducing temperature to 350°F and baking for an additional 35-40 minutes.  Bake until inserted tester comes clean.  Let loaf cool 5 minutes in the pan,  then invert onto wire rack to cool completely.  Once cool, drizzle with chocolate glaze.

Chocolate Glaze:

2 tbsp butter

2 tbsp cocoa

1/2 cup icing sugar

2 tbsp very hot water

In a medium size microwave-safe bowl, melt butter.  Stir in cocoa and icing sugar.  Add hot water and mix thoroughly.  If glaze seems too thick to flow, add more hot water a little at a time until desired constituency is reached.  Glaze will set quickly, so once the hot water is added, work quickly.  Drizzle over loaf as desired.

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Hummingbird Birthday Cake

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An upcoming birthday is always a good excuse for some  cake-making.  My elder sister will be celebrating her birthday this week, so we had tea and cake with her this afternoon in anticipation of the event.  This is a recipe that was published years ago in a Martha Stewart magazine.  I’ve had the clipping in my files for so long, the time had come to either do the deed or get rid of the clipping.  I did the deed 🙂

Hummingbird cake is a southern classic and there are lots of variations.  Check out the original Southern Living recipe here.

I’ve tweaked the recipe a bit for personal taste, reducing both the sugar and oil.  Much to my chagrin, I somehow missed adding the cinnamon into the cake batter, so instead  I added it into the icing and that was just fine.  If you don’t have inclination to decorate using the pineapple “flowers”,  a sprinkle of chopped pecans on the top of the icing would be a classic finish.

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Hummingbird Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1 tsp  cinnamon

pinch of salt

2/3 cup canola oil

2 teaspoons vanilla

1 1/3 cups sugar

3 large eggs

3 large bananas, mashed

3/4 cup canned pineapple tidbits,  well-drained and chopped

1 cup chopped  pecans

1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray two round layer cake pans (8″ or 9″) with non-stick spray.  Line bottoms of pans with parchment.  In a medium bowl, stir together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt.  Set aside.  In mixer bowl, stir together sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.  Beat on medium speed for about 3 minutes, until mixture is light and fluffy.  Stir in mashed bananas, chopped pineapple, pecans and coconut.  Add flour and gently mix just until all ingredients are combined.  Divide batter between cake pans and bake for about 35 minutes, until cakes are golden brown.  Invert baked cakes onto wire racks to cool.  While cakes are cooling, prepare pineapple decorations (see below).  When cakes are completely cooled, ice with cream cheese icing.

Cream Cheese Icing

1 250g pkg cream cheese (NOT low fat)

½ cup  butter or margarine

3-4 cups icing sugar, sifted

1 ½ tsp vanilla

2 drops almond extract

Beat the cream cheese and butter till smooth.  Add flavorings and mix well.  Stir in icing sugar in several additions.   Avoid overmixing as icing will become too grainy to spread smoothly.

 Pineapple “Flower” DecorationsIMG_2164

Preheat oven to 225 degrees F and line two baking sheets with parchment.   Peel pineapple and remove eyes with a small melon baller or paring knife.  Slice pineapple into thin slices, 1/8″ or less if possible.  Lay slices in a single layer on baking sheets and bake for about 30 minutes, until tops feel dry.  Flip slices and bake 30 minutes more, till slices are completely dry.  Thicker slices will need more drying time.

Pineapple Flowers

Remains of the day

Remains of the day

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