Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Lot's of Ways Banana Cake (TWD)

I've made this week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe for Lot's Of Ways Banana Cake several times before, and I can tell you that this is a keeper!

For some, all they see are sad old bananas. For me, I see a delicious banana cake in the making:
In the book Dorie shares that this cake can be baked in a variety of shapes and sizes. I've previously made this recipe into a layer cake and cupcakes, and they turned out perfectly in each case. I wanted to try a different pan, so I dug into my cabinet of "I'll use them once every 5 years" baking pans:
So, what did I find? Mini loaf pan...perfect! I haven't used this pan since 2002.
Dorie share a number of suggestions to play with the ingredients in the cake (thus the "Lot's of Ways" in the recipe title). As I had all of the ingredients readily on hand, I didn't veer off course from the original recipe. I made half the recipe, which yielded me 8 mini-loaves. I also reduced the oven temperature to 325F degrees and baked the cakes for 18 minutes (I think the dark loaf pan expedited the baking time).
To dress up these little loaves, I topped them with some Mascarpone Frosting leftover from another cake I was working on.
This cake is DEEELISH! The cake is beautifully moist and tender, and it does not have that dense, gummy texture that I get with other banana cake recipes. The banana flavor definitely shines, and the toasted coconut gives the cake a nice chew (for those of you who hate coconut, you can easily omit it). The mascarpone frosting's light creamy texture is the perfect complement as it doesn't overwhelm the cake.

If I haven't already convinced you to try making this banana cake, peruse the TWD blogroll to check out all of the beautiful banana cakes - you'll be convinced to try this recipe. For the complete recipe (including all of the variations), please head to Kimberly's blog, Only Creative Opportunities.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Brrr-ownies (TWD)

I'm back!!! The hubs and I had an amazing two weeks traveling through Italy. Along with the breathtaking sights, we indulged ourselves with food, wine, and gelato.

Just before we left for vacation, a friend gave me this advice: "Eat, drink and enjoy yourselves silly while in Italy. I promise that you will not gain a pound." Yeah, right! After returning, the hubs and I each hopped on the scale to assess the damage. We were dumbfounded - I didn't gain a single pound, and my hubs actually lost 7 lbs. WTF?!!! My friend was inifinitely wiser that I thought! Forget dieting, we need to travel to Italy more often.

Vacationing was wonderful, but there is something to be said about being back home. I missed baking and cooking, so I couldn't wait to get busy in the kitchen. This week's Tuesdays With Dorie recipe for Brrr-ownies was a nice warm up to get back into the swing of things.

The recipe (which you can find at Karen's blog, Welcome to our Crazy Blessed Life) is essentially a brownie with chopped peppermint patties folded in (in my case, I used Trader Joe's mint creams). When it comes to brownies I'm a purist - no messin' with nuts or mixins. I kept an open mind to see how this would turn out.

Maybe it was the jetlag that affected my baking mojo, but my brownies turned out a bit dry. Instead of tossing the batch, I made a super quick and easy Philadelphia-style vanilla ice cream, and folded bits of the brownie to make a mint chocolate brownie ice cream.

Mint chip is my all time favorite ice cream flavor, so I was definitely curious to see how this would turn out. The verdict --- not too shabby. The mint flavor is subtle, and I loved the how the formerly dry brownie bits turned chewy when incorporated into the ice cream.
No, your eyes are not deceiving you --- this is a mini ice cream cone. Cute, isn't it?

I found these cute little guys a while back, and if you're interested in these mini-cones, you can check them out here. The interior of these cones are lined with chocolate, and make perfect "shot glasses" for Baileys, White Russians, etc. Needless to say, these innocent looking cones are dangerous at our summer BBQs.
Anyways, I'm glad to be getting my blogging back on. I'm curious to hear how the other Tuesdays With Dorie bakers felt about this recipe - check out the TWD Blogroll to hear what everyone had to say.
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