Friday, April 27, 2012

Rainy Day Recipe experiments Part 2

Next week's forecast looks like a little bit of sunshine and the reappearnce of 60 degrees!  Yipee!  Until then the temperature is dipping into the 20's at night over the weekend.  Sooo, onto two more recipes I mentioned I was going to try in this blog post.

Let's talk about the Banana Cake with Nutella Frosting.  YUM!  I'm not really a cake baker.  At all.  But I can make a mean banana bread and my family of three is generally obsessed with bananas. (We can go through 1-2 bunches in a week.)  When I saw the frosting was Nutella, I was sold!  First, here is a link to the recipe at The Gingersnap Girl Blog.  The cake was relatively easy to make with ingredients I had in the house, as was the frosting.  I took a few pictures that I can not share because my camera seems to be on it's last leg with every picture blurry. :(  Anyways, the cake was a hit with everyone and I sent half of it with hubby to work today (because we all preggo here would it eat all if it was in the house!)  Here is the recipe:

Banana Cake with Nutella Frosting

For the cake:
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large bananas)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 9 x 13 cake pan with parchment paper.  Or alternatively you can butter and flour the pan, knocking off excess flour.

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat on low until just combined.  Add in vanilla and mashed bananas and mix until just combined.  With mixer on low add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Add half the buttermilk.  Alternate flour and buttermilk, starting and ending with buttermilk.  Do not over mix.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake on center rack for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then turn cake out onto a cooling rack and remove parchment.  Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup Nutella
3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream (or condensed milk)

In a stand mixer beat butter and Nutella on medium, about 1 minute until fully combined. Add in confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time. Mixture will appear crumbly. Add in 2 tablespoons of cream and continue beating on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes. Add additional tablespoons of cream until the frosting reaches a soft, spreadable consistency. I used 4 tablespoons in total. Generously spread frosting over cooled cake. For a smooth finish, run your knife or offset spatula under hot water and gently smooth the surface, rinsing off it off after each swipe. 

I never did try the Mocha Iced Latte recipe this week.  What can I say, it was too cold!  I'll give that a try on a warm day, but I did attempt Dried Strawberries.  Basically half/quarter strawberries (depending on the size), season with salt & pepper and bake in a 210 degree F oven for 3 hours.  I didn't season the strawberries with salt & pepper because it just seemed weird but I probably should have.  The strawberries were so sweet I couldn't even stand to eat them.  I did store them in my fridge as I think they will make a good ice cream topper.  If that doesn't work maybe I will throw them into pancakes or a bread. 

Happy Friday everyone!

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