My buddy Brooks is a cake man, pure and simple. Oh, he likes a pie now and then, but if he wants to put together a celebratory dessert, it’s cake. I’ve always argued with him about the merits of the humble pie. Fruit or pudding in a crust — it’s so simple, but so pure. But he wouldn’t budge. “Cake is the beginning and the end, the alpha and the omega — all that there ever was in the world of desserts.” OK, he never said that, but he might have.
I’ve always been a fan of pies, but over this holiday season, all we made for dessert was cake. For Christmas it was a brown sugar pound cake, and today, my 12 year old daughter and I made an “Elvis Cake.” Yes, it was a banana cake with peanut butter icing. And I must say that of the 9 pieces served after dinner, there wasn’t a crumb remaining. It was a special, but incredibly simple cake.
I got the cake recipe from the wonderful Dorie Greenspan and her book, Baking: From my home to yours. It’s an incredibly adaptable cake. I encourage you to get this cookbook, as it’s one of my all-time favorites. Of course, I don’t have a recipe for the icing. To be completely honest, I initially made the cake with Marshmallow Fluff between the layers, frosted with the peanut butter icing. But the Fluff was too fluid and actually oozed out through the icing. Not a pretty sight. So I took the cake apart, scraped off most (but not all) of the Fluff, and re-frosted it. Mmm, it was mighty good. Not all that pretty, but damn tasty. Would have made The King very proud.
2-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1-1/2 sticks of unsalted butter at room temp
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs at room temp
2 Tbs. dark rum
4 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup buttermilk
1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350°F.
2. Butter and flour 2 nine-inch cake pans.
3. Mix the flour, baking soda, nutmeg, and salt together in a bowl.
4. With a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until it is creamy.
5. Add the sugars and beat for a couple of minutes.
6. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Then add the vanilla and the rum.
7. Lower the speed and add the bananas. Keep it on low speed while you add the buttermilk and the flour – add the dry ingredients and liquid ingredients alternately, adding the flour mixture in three portions and the coconut milk in two (begin and end with the dry ingredients).
8. Mix until everything is just incorporated.
9. Divide the batter between the two pans.
10. Bake for around 45 minutes, or until the cakes are a deep golden brown.
11. Cool in pans for 5 minutes and then on a rack until completely cool.
Peanut Butter Icing (this is just a guess)
1 cup smooth peanut butter (I used Jif)
1 stick unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups confectioners sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 tsp vanilla
Cream the peanut butter and butter in a mixing bowl. Slowly beat in 2 cups of the confectioners sugar. Add half of the milk, then the remain sugar. Add the vanilla and remaining milk. Beat until smooth.
Ice the cake (and I’m not going to tell you how to do that!).