Saturday, April 10, 2010

Well, I could've been at a frat, but I decided to bake a cake instead


I've been throwing out bananas a lot lately. It's really a shame. On top of it being a waste of perfectly good bananas, it's also a waste of money. Usually I have the foresight to throw ripe bananas into the freezer, but in falsely believing that "I'll just use them tomorrow," they get to be too black to even consider saving.

After a delicious three-course meal last night, courtesy of a very friendly family whose daughter is trying to decide where to go to school next year, my roommate and I returned to our room a bit after ten. And I saw the bananas.

I was going to make banana cookies, but there were three bananas. And I don't really have the patience to make a triple batch of cookies by myself. All that scooping would get old awfully fast.

So I decided I'd use my bundt pan, and some of the bananas already in the freezer. I picked out a recipe, started to defrost 5 bananas, and made a grocery list of things I could get on campus (plain yogurt, however, is not a possibility, but sour cream is!), and got to work. Well, sort of. Along the way, I was given the offer of going to a fraternity party, which has been on my to-do list for a while, but those bananas were calling my name. It'll just have to wait until another night.

And this cake is tasty, so I'd say worth the alone time. Granted, someone walked in on me dancing around the kitchen to All Time Low at 2 in the morning in an effort to keep myself awake, but hey, it was the awesome smell wafting down the hall that attracted them, so I'd say that's always a good sign.

Nutella-Swirled Banana Cake
heavily based on this
makes 1 large bundt

4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
2 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 6-8 bananas)
1 cup (8 oz container) sour cream
1 1/2 cups chocolate hazelnut spread (Nutella)

Preheat oven to 350ºF. Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan, set aside.

In a small bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt; set aside.

In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until the sugar is incorporated and it's nice and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the bananas and sour cream.

In a 4-cup microwave safe bowl, warm up the nutella for about 15-45 seconds, depending on your microwave, until it's easy to stir. Stir in about 2 cups of the banana batter.

To make a more swirled cake: Alternate between adding the banana and nutella batters to the pan; gently swirl batters together by running swirling a knife through the batter after it has all been poured into the pan.

For a less swirled cake: Pour the banana batter into the pan. Pour the nutella batter on top of it.

Bake for 70-90 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted not near an edge comes out with just a few crumbs attached.

You may need to cover the top of the cake with foil to prevent it from overbrowning. If you have a 10-cup bundt pan, like me (I think), it's going to come up over the top of the pan, making for a less pretty cake that bakes slightly less evenly, but it still delicious.

Alternatively, you could use 2 loaf plans; reduce the bake time to 60-70 minutes.

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