Banana Cake with a Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting

Has your cooking and baking gotten a tad bit creative in these crazy times? As we all try to adhere to social distancing our runs to the grocery store may have become non-existent or minimal. On those times we do go our selections may be slim pickings or restricted. So, what are we to do? We have to make do with what we have at home or get creative with what we can get on our grocery runs.

I recently picked up a bunch of bunch of bananas on one of my runs and I always make the mistake of getting a few too many or not eating them fast enough. I prefer my bananas to not have any spots on them. So, with three overripe bananas staring at me I decided to make a banana cake. And initially I was thinking of making a whipped cream frosting to top it, but, then I remembered I had a slightly used container of mascarpone cheese in my fridge that was quickly approaching its expiration date, so I decided to make a Mascarpone Whipped Cream frosting instead. Now, I wasn’t all that sure how the two flavors would go together, but, since mascarpone is closely related to cream cheese (both are essentially the same but mascarpone has a higher fat content than cream cheese, hence it having a richer and creamier taste) and a lot of banana cakes do have a cream cheese frosting I figured they would work together. So, if you don’t have either mascarpone or whipped cream on hand but you do have cream cheese and confectioners’ sugar you could easily just make a cream cheese frosting to top the cake. Or, to make things even easier, and just as delicious, you can enjoy the cake on its own without frosting. Hopefully that wasn’t too much information or rambling.

Once I had baked the cakes I let them cool completely before refrigerating them overnight before frosting them.

I wasn’t sure if I had enough frosting to fill and cover the cake so I decided to just lightly frost the cake and use the remaining frosting to pipe a few swirls on it.

Final verdict… The two flavors worked well together.

 

Banana Cake

  • Servings: 10 to 12 people
  • Print

Ingredients:

3 overripe bananas, mashed

3 cups flour

1 teaspoon baking powder

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cups unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 cup sugar

1/2 cup light brown sugar

3 large eggs, at room temperature

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 1/2 cups buttermilk, at room temperature*

*To make your own buttermilk combine 7 teaspoons of white vinegae with 1 1/2 cups whole milk in a measuring cup. Stir to combine and let stand for 10 to 15 minutes. The buttermilk is ready when the mixture begins to curdle.

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray two 8-inch round cake pans with baking spray (or coat with butter and flour) and set aside.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the butter on high speed until creamy. Add both sugars and continue beating until creamed together. Lower the speed to medium and add the eggs and vanilla extract and continue beating until well combined. Add the mashed bananas and beat until just combined. Reduce the speed to low and add the dry ingredients in three parts alternating with the buttermilk. Do not overmix the batter, a few lumps is okay.

Divide the batter amongst the two pans (about 3 cups each) and bake in the preheated oven for 35 – 40 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted in the middle comes out clean.

Let the cakes cool in the pans for 15 minutes and then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

 

Mascarpone Whipped Cream Frosting

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups heavy cream

3/4 cups confecitioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

8oz. mascarpone cheese*

*You can substitute cream cheese for the mascarpone cheese, or just make a cream cheese frosting with the addition of the heavt cream

Directions:

Remove the mascarpone cheese (cream cheese) from the refrigerator 15 minutes prior to making the frosting. You want the cheese to be softened but still cold.

In a medium bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat together the heavy cream, confectioners’ sugar and vanilla exract on medium speed until soft peaks form. Add in the cheese and continue beating until stiff peaks form.

 

 

 

Spring Striped Cake

Happy first day of Spring! I hope you are all safe and healthy. I am sure Coronavirus / Covid-19 has changed the way you do a lot of things these days. I started working from home this week and while the first day was a bit of a challenge using my desktop and laptop in tandem, the second day was much better since I had my desktop and two monitors from work set-up at my kitchen table. Which also means I can enjoy some sunlight during the day… There’s no sunlight to be seen at my job. I must say, and I am sure most (if not all) of you would agree, it’s so surreal how many things have closed, been cancelled, rescheduled and so forth. It’s the best choice though if we want to contain this virus.

Back to Spring though, to welcome the season I decided to make a Spring themed cake. Spring themed because I used Spring colors. I decided to gives stripes another try. I tried them for the first time back in October for a Halloween themed cake. They were not pretty though! But, I figured since it was a Halloween cake the smudged stripes went with the holiday.

I decided to keep the cake small so I made a two-tier 6-inch cake. I made a cookies and cream cake by preparing a box of white cake mix – instead of using just egg whites though I used the whole egg – and then folded in a cup of Oreo cookie crumbs. To make the crumbs, I placed about 15 Oreos in a Ziploc bag and then used a rolling pin to crush the cookies. I actually have a whole post dedicated to making a Cookies and Cream Cake if you want the specific directions. After baking, cooling and filling (with additional Oreo crumbs) the cake I crumb coated it and then finished frosting it. Then using a cake comb I created stripes on the cake. I then placed it in the refrigerator overnight so the frosting could set (i.e. harden). You cannot create stripes on a cake that has just been frosted. You need the base frosting to be hard so you don’t scrape it completely off when smoothing the stripes.

Once my cake was ready I divided my remaining frosting into three and tinted them – one pink, another yellow and the last one a teal color (I combined green and blue to make this color).

And then I started filling in the stripes. You need to fill them in generously to get a smooth look when smoothing the cake with a flat edge.

After smoothing the cake a few times and filling in any gaps in the frosting my stripes didn’t look that bad. I definitely need to practice them a few more times though.

I used the remaining tinted frosting to create a swirl border on top of the cake. I wasn’t too happy with the way it came out though because I forgot colors 101, mixing certain colors together will create new ones. So I had hints of orange and purple in the border. Oh well!

Be safe, stay healthy, stay home and bake!

Passion Fruit Pie

Happy Pi Day! That wonderful day on the calendar, 3/14, were we celebrate the irrational number Pi. Irrational because it cannot be expressed exactly as a simple fraction and therefore is an infinite decimal. What it is exactly though is the ratio of a circle’s circumference to its diameter, and regardless of the size of the circle, it will always be the same number. So, due to this fun math themed day I bring you a new recipe for pie. I am always stumped to come up with a new pie recipe for today. When I start searching for a recipe most of the ones I come across are some sort of variation of an apple or pumpkin pie. Both of which I prefer baking during the Fall months. And of course there are the berry pies, but, I think those are better in the summer months when berries are in season. So I run out of options quickly. This year I started to think about pies I’ve made and flavors that I haven’t come across and I thought to myself what about a Passion Fruit Pie.

I decided to follow the recipe for my go-to Key Lime Pie but switch out the key lime juice for passion fruit pulp. I purchased frozen passion fruit pulp and let it defrost in my refrigerator overnight. I also switched up the crust I use. Normally I make Key Lime Pie with a store bought graham cracker crust, but for this pie I decided to make a shortbread cookie crust. And that was my first step in making this pie.

Using my food processor I pulsed shortbread cookies, I used Keebler Sandies Classic Shortbread Cookies, into fine crumbs and then combined the crumbs with melted unsalted butter. Next, I pressed the crumbs into the bottom and along the sides of a 9-inch pie plate. After baking it in a preheated 350 F oven for 10 minutes I let it cool while I made the filling. While baking the crust beforehand isn’t completely necessary I decided to do so so that the crust would be firmer once the pie was done. This would minimize the chances of it crumbling when cutting a piece of the pie.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, I beat egg yolks until they were light and fluffy. I continued beating the eggs while gradually adding in sweetened condensed milk. And finally, I added in the defrosted passion fruit pulp. Once the mixture was combined I poured it into the shortbread cookie crust and returned the dish to the oven for an additional 20 minutes. When done, the pie filling will be set.

I let the pie cool completely on a wire rack before transferring it to the refrigerator to chill before serving.

Before serving I whipped up a small batch of homemade whipped cream and decorated the top of the pie. To create the swirls I used a Wilton 6B piping tip.

This pie was delicious… It was the perfect texture and a wonderful combination of sweet and tart! And yes, pre-baking the crust did help in preventing it from falling apart when slicing into the pie.

Passion Fruit Pie

Ingredients:

For the crust:

1 3/4 cups shortbread cookie crumbs*

6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted

For the filling:

4 egg yolks

14oz. can condensed milk

1/2 cup passion fruit pulp**

Whipped cream for decorating and/or serving

 

* I used about 15 Keebler Sandies Classic Shortbread Cookies. You could also purchase a 9-inch shortbread pie crust. If using a store bought pie crust there is no need to pre-bake it. Just fill it with the pie filling and bake as directed below.

** I purchased a frozen 14oz. package from Goya and left it in the refrigerator overnight to defrost.

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F.

Combine the shortbread cookie crumbs and the butter in a medium bowl and mix them together. Once mixed, transfer to a 9-inch pie plate and press the crumbs in an even layer along the bottom and sides of the dish. Bake in the preheated oven for 10 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the crust is cooling make the filling. In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer on medium, beat the egg yolks until they are light and fluffy. Gradually add in the condensed milk and continue beating until combined. Finally, add in the passion fruit pulp and continue beating until combined.

Pour the filling into the pie crust and bake for 20 minutes. The filling will be set.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely and then refrigerate for a few hours before serving and/or decorating with whipped cream.

 

Whipped Cream

  • Servings: About 2 cups
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream

2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

In a medium bowl combine the heavy cream and confectioners’ sugar and beat with a handheld mixer until soft peaks form. Add in the vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Refrigerate until ready to use.

 

Slow Cooker Sunday: Triple Chocolate Brownies

Sometimes baking in my slow cooker is a hit or miss situation. I recently made a Banana Bread Pudding in it and that was a definite hit and I once made a Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake that was more burnt than cake. I don’t let those mishaps discourage me though. I recently tried making brownies in my slow cooker and while they tasted good, there were a few pieces along the edge that were burnt. But, I believe I know what the problem was. The recipe called for a 5 quart slow cooker and I used a 5.5 quart slow cooker. You wouldn’t think it would make a difference, but, having a slightly larger slow cooker means that my brownies were probably slightly thinner than the recipe intended, hence the baking time I followed was too long which resulted in slightly burnt brownies.

I prepped my slow cooker by spraying the insert with non-stick cooking spray and then lining the bottom with parchment paper that I then sprayed with the spray as well.

After making the batter for the brownies I poured it into my slow cooker and smoothed the top with a small offset spatula.

And while I let the brownies cook for 3.5 hours, I really should have let them cook for only 3 hours and then uncovered the slow cooker for the final 30 minutes of cooking. Truth be told, I am not greatest at gauging when I should take my brownies out of the oven. I know they are supposed to be slightly underdone when you take them out, but, I inevitably leave them in a minute or two too long because I don’t want them to be too underdone. I should learn by now. So, while I had a feeling my brownies were done at 3 hours, I ended up leaving them in too long and I ended up with burnt edges, but, I was able to salvage most of them and they were delicious.

You may be wondering why I don’t have any pics of those brownies I did salvage…. Well, by the time the brownies cooled and I sliced them it was too dark in my house to get a good picture. It’s so much easier to take pictures during the summer months! I debated whether or not to share the recipe since there were so many mishaps, but, they were good nonetheless and worth another try at perfecting. Or maybe just baking them in the oven instead!

Slow Cooker Triple Chocolate Brownies

  • Servings: 14 brownies
  • Print

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

3/4 teaspoons baking powder

1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

1 stick unsalted butter, cut into pieces

8oz. bittersweet chocolate, cut into pieces*

1 cup sugar

3 large egss, lightly beaten

1 cup chopped walnuts

1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Non-stick cooking spray

 

*I used 1 1/3 cups of bittersweet chocolate chips

 

Directions:

Spray the insert of a 5-quart slow cooker with the cooking spray. Line the bottom with parchment paper and then spray the paper with the spray as well.

In a small bowl whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

Place the butter and the bittersweet chocolate in a medium microwave-safe bowl and microwave on 30 second intervals, stirring after each, until the chocolate and butter has melted. Add the sugar and stir to combine. Stir in the eggs, then add in the flour mixture, the walnuts and chocolate chips. Stirring everything together until just combined, be sure not to overmix. Transfer the mixture to the slow cooker insert and smooth the top.

Cover and cook on low for 3.5 hours*. Uncover and cook for an additional 30 minutes. Remove the insert from the slow cooker and run a knife around the edges to loosen the brownies. Place the insert on a wire rack and allow the brownies to cool completely, at least 2 hours. Turn the brownies out onto a cutting board / work surface and slice into 14 brownies. Store in an airtight container.

*If using a larger slow cooker your cooking time will be less. I used a 5.5 quart slow cooker and I probably should have uncovered them for the last 30 minutes at around the 3 hour mark.

Recipe from Martha Stewart

Pumpkin Cinnamon Pudding Cake

Monday has become my day for sharing new pumpkin recipes with you. That’s not a bad way to kick off the week if you ask me. Today’s recipe is a Pumpkin Cinnamon Pudding Cake. It’s a nice light dessert that creates its own sauce for drizzling while baking. I found the recipe during a recent cleaning/organizing frenzy. I went through a bunch of holiday baking magazines I had sitting on a bookshelf for quite some time (some for almost 10 years.) I had flagged recipes in each of them and then never made them. I found quite a few pumpkin recipes, some cookie recipes, and some other goodies that I am hoping to try out sooner rather than later.

You may be wondering how exactly this cake created its own sauce. Well, after making the batter for the cake I spread it into an 8x8x2-inch baking pan I sprayed with baking spray and then sprinkled the top with brown sugar and cinnamon. Next, I poured a mixture of boiling water and butter over the top of the cake prior to baking. While baking the water combines with the sugar and cinnamon to create a sauce under the cake. You may be tempted to reduce the amount of brown sugar you sprinkle over the cake thinking a cup is too much (I did!), but, the end result isn’t overly-sweet. Since the cake itself isn’t that sweet it offers a perfect balance for the cake.

After baking the cake in a 350 F preheated oven for about 35 minutes I let the cake cool on a wire rack before enjoying.

And the best way to enjoy this cake is warm with the sauce drizzled on top with a scoop (or two) of vanilla ice cream on the side. I made the mistake of letting the cake cool for too long before enjoying a piece so I placed it in the microwave for about 30 seconds to warm it up and then added my ice cream.

If you are really in a pumpkin mood you could also make my No Churn Pumpkin Spice Ice Cream from last week to go along with this cake. The best part, you can try both recipes with just 1 can of pumpkin puree.

 

Pumpkin Cinnamon Pudding Cake

Ingredients:

1 1/4 cups flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1/4 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature

1 3/4 cups light brown sugar

1/2 cup sour cream

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water

2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature

Vanilla ice cream, for serving

 

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 F and spray and 8x8x2-inch square pan with baking spray.

In a medium bowl whisk together the flour, baking powder, ginger, salt, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of the cinnamon. Set aside.

In a large bowl, using a handheld mixer, beat the 1/4 cup butter and 3/4 cup of the brown sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add the sour cream, pumpkin puree and vanilla and continue beating until the mixture become light and fluffy again. Add the flour and stir with a spoon until just combined. Transfer the mixture to prepared pan and spread it into an even layer with an offset spatula. Sprinkle the remaining sugar over the batter and then sprinkle the remaining cinnamon over the sugar.

In a measuring cup combine the boiling water with the 2 tablespoons of butter and stir until the butter is melted. Pour this over the batter in the pan.

Bake for 30 to 40 minutes, or until the top springs back when touched. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 30 minutes and then spoon the cake into a bowl and top with vanilla ice cream and drizzle the syrup from the pan over it.

Recipe from Mixing Bowl Magazine from Fall/Winter 2010

A Classic Pound Cake

You may or may not have noticed that I recently streamlined my category groups. I realized that I had too many and that some of the categories only had one or two posts under them. So, I took some time to clean it up. Which meant pretty much re-categorizing about half of my posts. While doing so I noticed how my picture quality has improved since I started blogging. Not to say that they are anywhere near perfect now, but, I have definitely gotten better from the beginning in terms of background and lighting.  It also gave me the chance to see some of the baked goods I have shared with you – some that I can’t believe I haven’t made again and others that tasted good but I am sure I won’t be making again. This all led me to realizing that there was one recipe I haven’t shared… my go-to pound cake recipe. I have been making this recipe for a few years now. I actually posted an almond variation of the recipe a few years ago and today I am finally posting the original recipe.

This cake is super simple to make, moist, delicious and will be sure to please all palates. You can’t beat that!

And while it’s delicious on its own, adding fresh whipped cream (and fresh berries when they are in season) is a nice addition. Since its Fall I decided to whip up pumpkin spice whipped cream to go along with it. I’ve shared my recipe below, but if you have a favorite whipped cream recipe you swear by simply add in a teaspoon or two of pumpkin pie spice to give it a nice twist.

 

Classic Pound Cake

Ingredients:

2 cups flour

1 tablespoon baking powder

1 8oz. package cream cheese, at room temperature

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature

2 cups sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

6 eggs

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 325 F. Spray a Bundt pan with baking spray and set aside.

In a medium bowl combine the flour and baking powder and set aside.

Using a handheld mixer cream together the cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla extract in a large bowl until well blended. Add the eggs 1 at a time, beating after each addition. With the mixer on low gradually add in the flour mixture until incorporated.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan and bake for about an hour or until a cake tester inserted in the cake comes out clean.

Let the cake cool in the pan for 10 minutes before inverting it on a wire rack to cool completely.

Recipe from Kraft

 

Pumpkin Spice Whipped Cream

  • Servings: About 2 cups
  • Print

Ingredients:

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

 

Directions:

Place the beaters of a handheld mixer and a metal in the freezer for at least 15 minutes.

Place the whipping cream, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla extract in the chilled bowl and beat on medium speed until stiff peaks form. Do not over beat. Refrigerate until ready to use.

Strawberry Trifle with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Hope you all had a wonderful 4th! Unfortunately the holiday weekend is now over and it’s back to the daily grind of work, but, on the bright side there is still more summer to enjoy. I had my annual BBQ on the 4th and it was a great time… You can never go wrong with great friends, delicious food and yummy desserts.

This year, one of my friends and his mother-in-law decided to have a rib throw-down. Everyone was a winner in this throw-down. One of them was declared as having the best ribs and the rest of us got to enjoy them. In all honesty both were equally delicious in my book… One had a bit of a kick and the other one had a nice amount of homemade BBQ sauce on it.

I made a few salads (macaroni, potato, black and a Greek chickpea salad), macaroni and cheese, slow cooker baked beans and of course dessert.

I made this very patriotic funfetti cake…

A Strawberry Blueberry Icebox Cake (this is actually a dessert I make every year for the 4th)…

And for the first time ever I made a trifle. It had layers of Angel Food Cake, Mascarpone Whipped Cream and Mint Macerated Strawberries. I took a major time-saving shortcut and used a store-bought Angel Food Cake as opposed to baking one from scratch. If you’re not keen on Angel Food Cake, a Pound Cake would be a nice substitute. And, if you don’t have a trifle bowl you could use a large flat-bottomed glass bowl.

 

Strawberry Trifle with Mascarpone Whipped Cream

Ingredients:

Store-bought or Homemade Angel Food Cake or Pound Cake, cut into cubes

For the macerated strawberries:

2 lbs. strawberries, hulled and quartered

1/2 cup sugar

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

For the mascarpone whipped cream:

1 1/3 cups mascarpone cheese

1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

2 cups heavy whipping cream

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

For the Mascarpone Whipped Cream:

Using a handheld mixer on medium speed beat the mascarpone cheese and sugar until combined. Add the heavy cream and vanilla extract and continue beating until stiff peaks form. Use immediately or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days.

For the strawberries:

In a large bowl stir together the strawberries, sugar and mint. Let stand at room temperature until the strawberries begin to release their juices, about 15 minutes.

To assemble the trifle:

Place a single layer of cake in the bottom of the bowl. Spoon a third of the macerated strawberries over the cake and then spread a third of the mascarpone whipped cream over the strawberries. Repeat these layers two more times ending with a layer of mascarpone whipped cream. Place a few strawberries in the center of the whipped cream for decoration. Serve immediately or cover and refrigerate for a few hours before serving.

Recipe slightly modified from Williams-Sonoma