Once again, it’s that time of year when we are bombarded with talk of New Year’s resolutions. Weight-loss companies and gyms descend upon us with ad after ad trying to convince us to partake of their services, to “make this year your year” and finally shed those last few pounds. You can’t get on social media or watch any morning show this time of year without hearing about how we’re all supposed to be making tons of New Year’s resolutions – start keeping a journal! more date nights with your significant other! gossip less! – many of which we’ll break in mere weeks.
So I’m not going to be too big on the resolution front this year, but I am using the New Year as an excuse opportunity to start a new blog project, which I’m very excited to share with you! Starting Monday, each week will be a themed week of blogging, where each day’s recipe will revolve around a stated ingredient, cooking/baking method, cuisine, etc. – variations on a theme, if you will. 🙂
This idea started rolling around in my head a few months ago; I’ve spent some time fleshing it out, and I think it will be really fun. I am a list maker, and my brain responds very well to patterns and sequences and the like, so it’s quite easy for me to organize my blog this way. Also, when I cook I tend to enjoy finding an ingredient or cooking/baking method and then want to explore it and stick with it for a while, then move on to something else. So this way, I’ll be able to share that without things seeming like I’m stuck in a rut. And this is quite flexible too – I’ll keep doing it until, well, until it’s not fun anymore, I guess. 🙂
And no, it’s not a New Year’s resolution, because I will not feel guilty if it doesn’t end up working out for whatever reason! This starts on Monday, and I’m so excited for this!! I hope you, all my dear readers, will love it.
And now let’s eat cake! This is one of the simplest yet tastiest cakes I’ve ever made. And since it’s only one layer instead of two, there’s less calories per slice. How’s that rationalization? Lol! It’s a great use-up for those bananas quickly blackening on your counter, it comes together quickly, and tastes more impressive than it looks. I used pecans mainly because I had some, but walnuts work well too. Whatever you like. Enjoy!
Source: Barefoot Contessa How Easy is That? by Ina Garten
3 overripe bananas
¾ cup granulated sugar
½ cup brown sugar, lightly packed
½ cup canola or vegetable oil
2 large eggs
½ cup sour cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp kosher salt
½ cup coarsely chopped pecans, plus a handful extra for decorating the cake
CREAM CHEESE FROSTING:
6 oz. cream cheese, softened to room temperature
6 tbs unsalted butter, softened to room temperature
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 ½ cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
Make the cake: preheat your oven to 350 F. Grease a 9” round cake pan. Set aside.
Peel the bananas and place them in a large mixing bowl. Mash them somewhat with a fork. Add both sugars and then beat together with an electric mixer until combined. Add the oil, eggs, sour cream, vanilla, and orange zest. Beat until smooth.
In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and salt. With the mixer on low, slowly add the dry ingredients to the wet, mixing as you go. When the flour mixture is almost or just barely combined, turn off the mixer and complete mixing it with a spatula. You want it just combined. Stir in the chopped pecans.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake 45 to 50 minutes, until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then turn the cake out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.
When the cake has cooled, make the frosting. Add the cream cheese, butter, and vanilla to the bowl of your stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Alternately you can add the ingredients to a clean mixing bowl and use a hand mixer with clean beaters. Either way, beat the ingredients together until just combined. Add the sugar a little bit at a time and mix until smooth. (If you dump the sugar in there all at once, you’ll end up wearing most of it.)
Using a rubber spatula, plop the frosting, in gobs, on the center of the top of the cake. Using an offset spatula or a butter knife, spread the frosting evenly to the edges of the top of the cake and smooth the top. There’s probably enough frosting to coat the top and sides if you want, but I kept mine just on top because 1) it’s way less messy that way, and 2) I am a fiend for a good cream cheese frosting, and I loved a thick layer.
Place the extra pecans decoratively on top of the frosted cake. Slice into wedges and serve.