December 20, 2020
The first banana bread recipe I used came from my sister’s mother in law, Cecile. Her kids when they were little called it scary cake. “It was so good it was scary. “ And I thought I’d like to make that cake! Basically it was banana bread with chocolate chips in it. What could be bad? I made it over and over again. I was living alone and always had bananas that were overripe. (Who am I kidding. I’m living with 3 other people now, my family, and still always have overripe bananas lurking in my kitchen) Funny enough I still have that original scary cake recipe, hand written, smudged, doodled on. Look at it. You can tell it was loved.
I moved on in my life to other banana bread recipes. I learned from Joanne Chang of Flour Bakery fame. And I read about banana bread from Cooks Illustrated, detailed notes about mixing and mashing. I cooked bananas to bring out the flavor in them. I froze bananas when I had too many.
This March during the height of the Covid-19 Pandemic in New York Instagram was overflowing with banana bread recipes. If you weren’t making pizza dough ( which I was) or sourdough ( which I wasn’t) you were making banana bread. And so was I.
That’s when I started rereading some cookbooks in my library. ( Yes, it’s called a library when your cookbook shelves fall off the wall from the sheer weight of them.) Thank you Dorie Greenspan for also always having over-ripe bananas in your kitchen and for adding coconut to your banana bread. You made my daughter, Mia, very happy.
Pandemic Project #5: Banana Bundt
Adapted from Dorie Greenspan Everyday Dorie
For the Cake
3 cups (408 grams) all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 stick (113 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into 4 pieces
1/2 cup (113 grams) coconut oil, at room temperature
3/4 cup ( 150 grams) granulated sugar
3/4 cup (150 grams) packed, light brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 tablespoon dark rum (optional)
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
3-4 ripe bananas mashed to a puree ( about 13/4 cups; 360 ml)
1 cup (240 ml) full fat sour cream
2/3 cup (84 grams) chocolate bits, or morsels (milk, semi-sweet or bittersweet)
-Mixed with 1 tablespoon all purpose flour-
1/2 cup (60 grams sweetened coconut flakes
For the Icing (Optional)
3/4 cup (90 grams) confectioners’ sugar
1-1 1/2 tablespoons whole milk (preferably)
1/4 cup (30 grams) sweetened coconut flakes, toasted for sprinkling
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350º F. Generously spray a bundt pan wiht bakers spray. Using a pastry brush, brush the oil from the spray around the pan, making sure not to miss any spots.
Whisk together the flour, baking soda, nutmeg and cinnamon.
Using a standing mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the butter, coconut oil, sugars, and salt for 5 minutes on medium speed, making sure ingredients are well blended. You may need to scrape down the bowl a few times as needed.
Add the eggs, one at a time, beating each egg until fully incorporated. Add the vanilla extract and the rum, if you are using it. With the mixer on low beaded in the mashed bananas. The batter will look curdled, but it’s supposed to look like that.
With the mixer on low add half the flour mixture, followed by all the sour cream. Add the rest of the flour and mix until combined. Continuing on low, mix in the chocolate pieces covered in flour and the coconut.
Spoon the batter into the pan, making sure the batter is even.
Bake for 65-75 minutes, until the cake is brown and a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean. The cake will also pull away from the sides of the pan. Let is cool for 10 minutes and then invert to unfold cake onto a baking rack. Allow to cool to room temperature before you ice the cake.
For the icing, put the confectioners’ sugar in a small bowl and stir in 1 tablespoon of milk at a time, stirring until the consistency of the icing is pourable. Spoon onto the cake. Sprinkle the toasted coconut over the top.
The cake will keep fresh for up to 5 days, covered, but I guarantee it will be gone before then!