I love family. I love learning. I love food. This is simply a collection of thoughts, memories, and recipes that are a piece of me!

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Banana-Nana-Fo-Fana Bread

Bird doesn't often eat dessert.  That was such a blow to me because in our first several years of marriage, that's pretty much all I could make.  It would bum me out if I went to a lot of work to make him a cake to eat after our canned tamale dinner, and he wouldn't even touch it.

Enter: banana cake.

A couple of years ago, I asked him if I could make him a birthday cake.  I really wanted to do something special for him, and baking was what I could offer.

"Could you make me a banana cake?  The one your mom makes...?"

Uhh yes!

This recipe is my mom's, and it's actually a Christmas and Thanksgiving staple at our house.  It's so versitile.  I cook it in a loaf pan and it's banana bread.  I cook it in a muffin tin and it's banana muffins, or I cook it in a cake pan and make a delicious banana glaze for it and it's banana cake!  It's one of those simple recipes with only basic ingredients that I keep all the time, so it's wonderful to keep tucked away in my recipe box for a simple, relatively quick dessert.  (It's also a wonderful breakfast!)

What you'll need: 
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 cup shortening
2 eggs
1/2 cup of buttermilk (if you don't have buttermilk, keep reading)
2 cups flour
1 tsp soda
1 cup pecans
1 tsp vanillia
1 cup of very ripe bananas

If you don't keep buttermilk in your house (like me) you can substitute it for 1/2 cup of regular milk mixed with 1 tbsp of white vinegar.  This will sour the milk and give you the same desired effect.

Preheat your oven to 350.

Start by creaming the sugar and shortening together in a big bowl.

You might need to scrape down the sides to get it all mixed together.  

Once it's light and fluffy, add the eggs and mix again.

This is usually the point when I mash my bananas.  I'm sure you know that baking is literally a science, so resist the temptation to add more bananas.  Trust me.  I've done it, and it does NOT turn out pretty.

Now add the milk, vanilla, and bananas to the bowl and mix.  Be aware...it's going to look nasty.

In a separate bowl, mix your flour, soda, and pecans.  I like to chop my pecans up a bit, but not too much.  Then add the dry ingredients to the wet and give it a stir, just enough to combine.

Notice how it looks like batter and not disgustingly gross nastiness?  

And this is where you have to figure out what it is you want to make.  I went with a loaf pan and an 8x8 pan.  I'm going to end up with one loaf of banana bread and a small banana cake.  You can also do a 9x13 cake, two loaves, or 24 muffins.

I like to add extra pecans to the tops of my loaves.

Whatever you decide to do, just make sure you grease your pans!

I baked both of these for around 50 minutes, just until a toothpick comes out clean.

If I'm making the cake, I always make a quick glaze to go on top.  I suppose you could use a store bought icing (maybe cream cheese...that would be good!) but I just prefer something lighter on this.  I simply mash up another banana and add about a cup of powdered sugar.  Mix it really well, pour it over the cake, and spread it out.

No matter how you decide to use this recipe, you really can't go wrong.  This classic sweet bread is sure to satisfy!

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