Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Using things up

I may have mentioned my imminent move to a house with 2 ovens. This move requires packing, cleaning, and trying to use up everything in the fridge and freezer and, to a lesser extent, the pantry.

I tend to buy a lot of bananas and they get ripe more quickly than I can eat them, so I freeze them for baking.

Tip: Freezing a banana in its skin, and then defrosting it, is instant mashed banana. Not so pretty, and a little slimy on the skin, but very convenient, and less messy than actually mashing fresh banana.

I also had sour cream and butter, and a quick search of produced the sour cream banana cake.  I've been meaning to make this one for a while, but always seem to fall back on my foolproof banana and coconut loaf when I want banana cake. The only thing I needed to purchase was white chocolate to make the icing. Now I don't need to use up frozen bananas and sour cream, I just need to use up a cake - somehow I think that will be an easier sell.

125g butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 eggs at room temperature (I'm not sure what will happen if you use cold ones, if you don't have time to wait for them to warm up you could try standing them in some lukewarm water for a bit)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup mashed banana (Taste says you will need 2 large, very ripe bananas, I used 4 frozen and defrosted lady finger bananas)
2 1/4 cup self raising flour
1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

Preheat oven to 180 degrees. Grease base and sides of a 7cm deep, 19cm square cake pan.

Don't you just love a springform pan? I took a punt that the sides wouldn't stick, but after the brownie incident, wasn't taking chances on the base. It rose a little more than I expect, so I'd use a bigger than 8 inch pan.

Beat butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and creamy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each. Fold through sour cream and bananas, then sift in flour and bi-carb and fold that through.

Bake for 50-60 minutes. I  had the fan on, and it took 38 minutes to produce what you see before you.

Oh, the smell. Mmmmmmm banana cake baking is one of my favourite cooking smells. I desperately wanted to crack off a bit of the crunchier edge while it was still hot - but I made this to freeze, so exercised some will-power.

I did make the icing, with the plan being to store it covered in the fridge, and re-melt it in the microwave when I use the cake. This I did taste - I will definitely make this simple icing again.

Icing recipe
180g white chocolate, chopped
1/4 cup sour cream

Place the chocolate and sour cream in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water. Heat, stirring constantly with a metal spoon (you could probably use a silicone one if you prefer, I think the idea is to keep moisture out of the chocolate, and wooden spoons can retain moisture) for 3 minutes or until smooth - I didn't time this but 3 minutes sounds about right, it depends on how finely you chop your chocolate and I used big bits - see?

Remove from heat and stand for 10 minutes, pour icing over cake, allowing it to drizzle down sides. Serve warm. Or, put the icing in the fridge, and re-heat in the microwave - fingers crossed this will work.

No gratuitous icing shot, since I'll ice it when I defrost it. I'll try to remember to take a shot for you when I do.

Oh no! I just realised that if I'd waited until next week, and substituted greek yoghurt for the sour cream I would have had my entry for week 5 of the cookbook challenge!

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