A Bundt Cake for 2011

Happy New Year!  Well…almost.  Before I head out to ring in 2011, I’m putting up the first of several treats I whipped up today.  I wound up in charge of dessert for the party I’m going to, so I decided to do one “fruity” thing and one chocolatey one.  For the first, I put together a banana cake with caramel icing.  The recipe book in which I found this (my trust Southern Cook Book) suggests using a loaf or layer pan, but I love bundt cakes and I figured this dense banana-filled batter would cook well in a bundt pan.  I topped it off with a few caramelized bananas and some burnt sugar shards (I got the latter idea from Baked Explorations).  Yum!  See you next year, with more treats!

Banana Cake with Caramel Icing (Makes one bundt cake – 10 or so servings)
(The Southern Cook Book: “from Mrs. R.E. Donnell, from Home Tried Recipes, Americus, GA”)

1/2 c. sugar
1/2 c. butter, room temperature
3 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, room temperature
1/2 c. buttermilk
1/2 tsp. soda
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2 c. flour

For the caramel icing:
3/4 c. granulated sugar
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. cream
1 tbsp. butter

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.** Grease and flour a 12-cup bundt pan.
2. Cream butter, sugar, and bananas together (I used a paddle attachment on my mixer); add eggs one at a time.
3. Dissolve the soda in the buttermilk and blend into the butter-sugar-egg mixture.
4. Sift the flour and baking powder together and add gradually, with the mixer on low.
5. Bake for 35-40 minutes until a tester comes out clean. I know you’re impatient, but let the cake cool before unmoulding or it’ll fall apart when you’re removing it from the bundt pan.
6. Make the icing while the cake cools: Cook sugar and cream together until it forms a soft ball when dropped in cold water, remove from stove, add butter, and beat well before spreading on cake.

To caramelize bananas for decoration: Slice a banana.  Melt a pat of butter in a non-stick pan over medium heat and mix a couple of tablespoons brown sugar in with a spatula.  Add the bananas and cook for a minute or two on each side, until a tiny bit brown.

To make burnt sugar shards: Place 1/2 a cup of sugar in a small sauce pan and mix in 1 teaspoon water, so it takes on a sandy texture.  Melt the sugar over high heat until it reaches a medium-dark amber color, then cool on a Silpat and break into shards.

** The recipe book actually says “bake in a moderate oven.” I’m using my cake knowledge to infer here…