Sunday, January 29, 2017

Upside-down Banana Coffee Cake

I have to admit it, my brain is hard wired. By hard wired, I mean that it is constantly running with heavily detailed thoughts of this and that. I have yet to master the ability to think of nothing or empty my head. Remember the Harry Potter scene where Albus Dumbledore takes his wand and pulls out thoughts from his head and puts them in a magic bowl for future reference? Wish I had a magic bowl these days.

So here I am today, with my brain running in high speed, trying to focus on baking. I had many different ideas come to mind when I stumbled upon this recipe. However, there were some factors that eliminated a lot of the flavor combinations I came up with. One of them was that every fruit is not suitable for the upside-down thing. The other factor is that lately I have been disappointed with the produce department at the grocers. I do need an answer to the billion dollar question-is there really a big demand for rock hard fruit or fruit that will be rotten in the next hour?

Anyhow, the end result was that I still stuck with banana, the chosen fruit that was in the recipe. I bought some of the little or mini bananas for this recipe. I find them to be sweeter than the standard. The conversion was 6 of the little bananas to the 2 medium bananas.

After completion, I decided that the banana was a good choice. Slightly warmed, the pecan topping paired with the bananas over the moist, fluffy layer of cake is a pretty tasty way to start the day. I  think my brain slowed down just a bit when I had my piece, actually allowing me to focus on just how delicious a good slice of coffee cake can be.

Upside Down Banana Coffee Cake
adapted from Southern Living/Sept 2006

2 eggs, separated
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbs rum
1/2 cup or 1 stick of butter( divided into 1/4 cups or half sticks)
3/4 cup white granulated sugar (divided into 1/4 and 1/2 cups)
1 cup light brown sugar
2 cups baking mix (I used Bisquick brand)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup chopped toasted pecans
2 medium ripe bananas 
Pull out a 10 inch cast iron skillet and add 1/4 cup of butter. Once melted, use a pastry brush to brush up the side interior of the skillet. Add the rum and swirl the skillet around to make sure the interior bottom is covered evenly with the butter and the rum is mixed in and remove from heat. Top evenly a layer of brown sugar and then an even layer of toasted pecans. Set aside.

Fill a medium size bowl with the remaining butter (1/4 cup) and 1/2 cup of the white sugar. Cream together until light and fluffy. Add one egg yolk and beat for 30 seconds and repeat with the second egg yolk. Using a small bowl, whisk together the milk and the vanilla extract. Then pour it into the butter sugar mixture. Add the sour cream and beat until all is evenly blended. Set aside. Then preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Whisk the cinnamon and baking mix together in another bowl. Then fold this dry mix into the wet egg/milk/sugar batter. Using another bowl, fill with the egg whites. Beat egg whites until they are at the soft peak stage. Continue to beat and as you pour in steady stream of the remaining sugar (1/4 cup). Beat time is complete one the whites are at the stiff peak stage. Fold the beaten egg white/sugar blend into the batter.

Peel the bananas and cut the width in half, forming 2 equal pieces. Take each half and slice lengthwise into three pieces. The end result should be 12 pieces, about 2 1/2- 3 1/2 inches in length. Arrange the pieces on top of the pecans in a spoke pattern. If using mini bananas, just slice each lengthwise into 2 pieces.

Spoon the batter over the bananas and use a spatula to smooth out evenly. Place filled skillet in oven and bake until golden on top and tester comes out clean. This should take about 45-50 minutes.

Once baking is complete, let skillet cool on rack for 10-12 minutes. Then invert onto serving platter or cake board. Serve warm.
Tips and Notes:
1. To make sure the cake to comes out easily, the edge must be loose from the side of the skillet prior to inverting. If after the 10 minute cooling it still seems stuck, run a knife around the edge before inverting.

2. The topping is very sticky, so once inverted do not remove the skillet until after 5 minutes, to make sure gravity works.

3. If your skillet retains a lot of the sticky pecan mixture after cake removal, scrape out and add it to the top of the cooling cake.

5. Do not try to create in another type of pan, the skillet insures a better result when inverting the cake.

6. If you want to decline on purchasing the baking mix, you can use one of the various recipes from the net to create the baking mix blend.

                               **LAST YEAR:Caribbean Bars**