Saturday, September 23, 2017

Banana cake with citrus cream cheese frosting

I don't know where to begin after such long hiatuses. Do I reintroduce myself?  Carry on like a month and three weeks did not, no way, go by and take a single script with it? Although, this could be a nonissue since I'm not writing a chapter book. Cooking how-tos in less than 400 words are kind of liberating. You throw your point across and hope at least a few catch. Though, let me tell you, it can be burdensome when my cook-photograph-blog-now list grows to unmanageable proportions, without getting offloaded somewhere. Still, I really do hope you miss our tete-a-tetes. Because I've missed you.

The indefinite search to satiate certain voids  cravings that need to be addressed yesterday, have you troll the web to find answers. In this case, I'm talking snacking dessert. I'd like to say, how wonderful it is to have an uncountable amount of midnightsnacks that aren't just meant for midnight. Goodies in-between meals, sometimes a meal on its own, are energy sources and ultimate mood enhancers. When you know not end from tail, of how your appetite//life will further set pace, and there is nothing more gratifying than a slice or three of cake. I'm telling you, your search should be productive when trying to fix unyielding obsessions. 

Tagged as the "Best Ever", today's banana cake is highlighted with 5 stars and a trail of almost two thousand reviews. Most were boasts, some lengthy essays, of everyone and their mother making BestEver their go-to cake/dessert/potluck recipe.  I was totally intrigued, reviewing these reviews, because it's this breed of testimonial that force you to climb out of hibernation and demand the same results from your own oven.

Like the gamut of banana desserts, it calls for overripe, spotted bananas, which I didn't have. Using the green stemmed/ semiripe/ones I like to eat, was definitely the most genius thing I've ever done(don't hold me to that). It yielded a terrifically different texture, tiny surprise bites inside soft moist crumb. The addition of buttermilk cuts in perfectly to nix any intimidating sweetness.

Moreover, it's exactly this genre of cake that makes cream cheese frosting its default enhancer. Two types of citrus peel jack the icing several notches, adding further freshness to the whole scene. 

Might I add, there isn't a statute of limitations on how you can pretty up this, or any cake, for that matter. And that should never be your excuse for not trying. 
Because we all have an inner pastry chef that's just screaming to come out. Don't we?

(Adapted from, now GeniusKitchen)
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 ½ cup mashed bananas
  • 3 cups flour
  • 1 ½ tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cup salted butter
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 ½ cup buttermilk
  • 1 ½ cups cream cheese frosting
  • ½ cup toasted walnuts
  • Preheat oven to 275°F
  • Grease two 9 inch circular cake pans.
  • Stir in the lemon juice with bananas. Keep aside.
  • In a large bowl, sift flour, baking soda.
  • In bowl of electric mixer, beat butter and sugar until fluffy,
  • Beat in eggs until mixture is pale and thick.
  • Stir in vanilla.
  • Gradually add in the flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, combining batter thoroughly.
  • Stir in bananas.
  • Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake for 1 hr to 1hr 15 minutes until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven and place on a parchment covered plate directly in freezer for 30 minutes.
  • To frost, take cakes out of freezer and come to room temperature.
  • Frost with cream cheese frosting.
  • Top with walnuts
Cream cheese frosting recipe here. To this, I added 1 tsp orange zest and ½ tsp lemon zest.
To toast walnuts: Spread nuts on a foil lined baking sheet and bake in a 350° preheated oven until lightly browned, about 5-7 minutes.

Keeps well for up to 3 days, at room temperature. After that, refrigerate. 

His word. Never returns void~
"Then the Lord replied: "Write down the revelation and make it plain on tablets so that a herald may run with it. For the revelation awaits an appointed time; it speaks of the end and will not prove false. Though it linger, wait for it; it will certainly come and not delay." Habakkuk 2:2,3

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Rhubarb lemonade

Hello and goodbye third week of July, taking on a trail that could rival The Speed Force and one I am not too unhappy to see leave. It's seasonal dysfunctionalism, you see. Here I am, with not more than a half-shelf's worth of week's leftovers, less than 10 words on this update which needs to be out yesterday, and the splitting midmorning headache that wants me to crawl into the icebox, right next to the leftovers.

Lazy is a such a negative word, although many of you who pop in for a view and note my repeated absences will brand me as such. Though, my selective participation, as I like to call it, helps me decipher where and when to partake in many dispensable, indispensable, semidispensable activities. Such as brushing my hair, feeding people/myself/lone animal living under common roof, shooing away the variety of wildlife that have made my backyard their home/(surprise!) bathroom and, of course, updating an inspirational cooking journal. You may disagree on the last part, though I sincerely hope not. 

Still, as much as I am in the dregs of Exhausting Inferno, I want to share with you at least one of the menu items that rotate regularly in 16 ounce tumblers on my table, mainly because there is often produce overflow of main ingredient, this time of year, but more the fact it keeps sanity intact. These would be for days( too many to count) of climatic lethargy, when the brain is too fried to even consider daily nourishment, much less how to keep afloat when surroundings, situations, lack of dessert ideas clearly try to drown my very soul. So, when I reach for the 4 pound bag of lemons in the produce bin, know that I am on a mission, to hydrate my people and restore personal wellbeing. We all have a calling. Right?

A batch of lemonade is sustenance I believe, especially when you live in a furnace most of the year and have made so much that you devise clever ways for it to become an essential(ahem)dietary requirement to the two underlings you house. That's when your tall glass of liquid citrus will contain either one or several of the following options: bites of peach, mango, blueberry, strawberries, multiberries and the accompaniment to my now famous pudina sandwiches...options which have your drink look as appealing as magic markers.

The idea for rhubarb (yes rhubarb!!) saturated lemonade comes from this FOOD52 article. The gorgeously shiny vegetable has the unique distinction of being declared fruit as well and lends a surprising dimension to what might have been mere meh refreshment. There is a rustic quality about rhubarb, the ridges which line it's pearly stalks, the purity in it's tartness. Pieces cooked and blended into freshly crushed lemons make it fashionably coral and brilliantly addictive; a sip as bright and clean as the first morning sun. And poetry in a glass.

Finally, if you desire a less homogeneous look, layer the strained(pink) rhubarb mix on top of the strained lemon(yellow) one, when serving. It just might be that level of cool that boosts your status to Master of Amplified Drinkmaking.
And when life gives you lemons, it's ok to dream big.

(Inspiration: FOOD52's sparkling rhubarb lemonade)
  • 2 long-ish stalks rhubarb, cut into half inch pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 6- 8 lemons, quartered, preferably remove piths and any visible seeds
  • 1 lime, halved
  • 1 ½- 2 cups water
  • 1 cup ice
  • ¾ cup sugar(more if needed)
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • Put the rhubarb in 1 cup water(enough to just cover pieces) and bring to a boil. Simmer until pieces break down and become soft and cooked. Cool.
  • In a blender put the quartered lemons, lime (peel and all) with the cooled rhubarb mixture and half cup water. Blend on a low setting for just under a minute, allowing blades to crush the citrus. Do not blend longer, blades will grind any remaining seeds, and mixture will become bitter.
  • Strain this into another container/ large pitcher, clear of any sediment. 
  • Clean out blender jar and pour the strained juice mixture along with remaining water, sugar, ice and one sprig mint. 
  • Blend until sugar dissolves. Add more water/sugar/ice if needed.
  • Pour into glasses.
  • Garnish with additional mint.
I never remove pith or seeds of the citrus. Just have blades whir a few times, on low setting and strain the liquid before I blend with the remaining ingredients. 

Tongue cooler.  It looks good and sits well with a spice rubbed porkrib dinner. 
Thou art my hiding place; thou shalt preserve me from trouble; thou shalt compass me about with songs of deliverance. 
-Psalm 32:7(KJB)