Lot's of Ways Banana Cake
I work part-time at a gym called Revolution Fitness and because we make organic protein shakes, we have literally, boxes of bananas. I worry that these bananas are going to be too ripe and then go to waste, so I ask to be notified when there is a surplus of over-ripe bananas.
Alison, one of my sassy co-workers, was on "protein shake detail" when I told her I would be taking bananas home. I didn't have any plans for them yet, but she asked if I could make Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins AND didn't miss a beat when she also asked, "what time will you be bringing them tomorrow"? I did remind her that "I have a LIFE" and a 24 hour turn around time would be impossible, but she still tried to manipulate me by saying "her mother would do it". I looked at her.....she looked at me.... and in unison we said to each other....."no she wouldn't".
I made the Banana Chocolate Chip muffins for her and all my co-workers a few days later. I left my cake carrier on the counter and it was like watching National Geographic, they all jumped on the cupcakes like lions going in for the kill. I swear I wanted to take a picture, it was that funny and thank god, they are all in shape. Who brings cake to a gym....I DO!
The recipe I wanted to use was from one of my favorite baking blogs called The Tender Crumb. She is also part of a baking group called Tuesdays with Dorie. Each participant alternates "hosting" a recipe chosen from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan and although she did not host this particular recipe, she did bake along with the group. The recipe chosen is called "Lot's of Ways Banana Cake". Please check out Only Creative Opportunities to see the full recipe and alternatives, this is a wonderful cake that can be made a variety of ways.
I chose to bake my muffins in multi mini bundt pans because my mother seems to buy me the same multiple mini bundt pans every year for Christmas and my Birthday, so if I ever wanted to go into business making mini bundt cakes, I could. They were referred to as the "industrial size" muffins at the gym, but honestly, and I give myself no credit here, the recipe is the best banana cake/muffin recipe.
My exact recipe is below and I made two different versions. One with chocolate chips and the other with just Cream Cheese Frosting.
2 2/3 cups all-purpose flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ sticks (12 tablespoons) unsalted butter (room temperature)
1 cup packed light brown sugar
¾ cup sugar
2 large eggs (room temperature)
1 ½ teaspoons pure vanilla extract
About 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (you should have 1 ½ - 1 ¾ cups)
½ cup canned unsweetened coconut milk (shake can before opening)
11.5 oz bag of Ghiardelli Chocolate Chips (optional - bittersweet chocolate chips)
Preheat oven to 350. I used a generous amount of baking spray on my mini bundt pans or if using cupcake pans, then use cupcake liners.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, salt and nutmeg together.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat at medium speed for a couple of minutes, then add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, followed by the vanilla.
Lower the speed of your stand mixer or hand mixer and add the banana to the the butter/sugar mixture. The mixture might curdle, but don't worry, it will come together as you add the remaining ingredients.
Still on low speed, add the dry and liquid ingredients alternately, adding the flour mixture in three portions and the coconut milk in 2 (begin and end with the dry ingredients). Mix just until everything is incorporated.
If your using chocolate chips, fold them in at this point with a rubber spatula
Divide the batter evenly between the muffin tins and bake for about 20 minutes, or until the muffins are a deep golden brown. They should start to pull away from the sides of the pans and top of muffin springs back.
Remove from oven and let cool.
1 stick unsalted butter (room temperature)
8 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
1 cup of powdered sugar (add more if frosting too thin)
1 tbsp of vanilla bean paste ( I use Nielsen-Massey Pure Vanilla Bean Paste)
Place butter and cream cheese in a mixing bowl and beat with handheld mixer until light and fluffy, then add 1 cup of sifted powdered sugar and beat until smooth. I added the Vanilla Bean Paste last and beat until incorporated.
I placed my frosting in a freezer bag and made a small cut in the corner and did a drizzle type of effect on the muffin.