Banana Upside Down Cake

This cake is as beautiful as it is delicious. Super easy and inexpensive too!

Banana Upside Down Cake
Topping:

1/4 cup butter
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
2 large bananas

Cake:

1/4 cup butter, softened, or canola oil
1/2 cup sugar
1 large egg
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400°F. Butter an 8″ or 9″ round or 8″ square cake pan. Put the butter into the pan and put it into the oven as it heats; once melted pull it out and stir in the brown sugar. Slice the bananas and lay them over the bottom.
In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar for a few minutes, until pale and fluffy. Beat in egg and vanilla. In a small bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
By hand or with the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 batches, alternating with buttermilk, beginning and ending with flour, and mixing each time until just combined.
Spread the batter into the pan, over the bananas. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until golden and springy to the touch. Let cool for 10 minutes, then invert onto a cooling rack or plate, or eat warm, straight from the pan.

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Lemon Pistacho Layer Cake

whole cake

This could be one of the most unique cakes you’ll ever make. The bottom has a shortbread cookie-like pistachio layer, while the top has a tender and light lemon cake layer. On top is a lemon glaze and a sprinkling of bright green crushed pistachios. Very elegant and would be impressive for a party!

Pistachio Layer

1 1/2 cups AP flour
2 cups raw pistachio nuts
1 cup powdered sugar
1 cup cold butter, cut into small pieces 1⁄2 tsp salt

Lemon Buttermilk Cake Layer

1 stick unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup sugar
1-2 Tbs fresh lemon zest, (skin of 2 large lemons) 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups cake flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 cup buttermilk
slice
Lemon Glaze

1 1⁄2 cups powdered sugar 1/3-1/2 cup lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Prepare a 10” Spring form pan with baking spray.
For the Pistachio Layer:
In a food processor, combine the flour, pistachios, sugar and salt. Pulse until well combined. Add the butter and pulse until a green, uniform dough forms.
Pour the dough into the spring form pan.
Press into a firm crust on the bottom of the pan. Set aside.
For the Cake Layer:
In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a whisk attachment, add the butter, sugar and lemon zest.
Beat the butter, sugar and zest together until they are light and fluffy.
In a separate bowl mix together the dry ingredients and set aside.
With the mixer running on low, add the eggs one at a time, combining thoroughly in between. Add the lemon juice, (it will look curdled, but it’s not!)
Add one half of the dry ingredients, and then half of the buttermilk.
Finish with the rest of the dry ingredients, and mix the batter until all of the ingredients are completely combined and the batter is light and fluffy.
Pour the cake batter on top of the pistachio layer.
Bake the cakes on a middle shelf for 25-35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool before removing from the pan.
While the cake is cooling, whisk until the desired consistency: Opaque and thick enough to coat, but still runny enough to drip down the sides.
When the cake is completely cool, pour the glaze over the top, letting it drip down the sides. Sprinkle with a few Tbs of chopped pistachio nuts.

Devil’s Food Cake

This cake has a deep chocolate flavor, yet is not too rich or too sweet. The icing has a light texture and is absolutely perfect.cake slice

Note: Be sure to use Dutch-process cocoa (a brand like Droste) for both the cake and the icing, instead of regular cocoa powder. It will significantly affect the flavor.

1 1/2 cups (3 sticks) unsalted butter, plus more for pan
1 1/4 cups unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
1 1/4 cups hot water
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons coarse salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
4 large eggs
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup sour cream

DIRECTIONS

. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 9-by-2-inch round cake pans, line bottoms with parchment paper, and butter paper. Or just use nonstick spray oil. Whisk together cocoa powder and hot water until smooth.
. Sift together flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda; set aside. Melt butter and sugar in a saucepan over medium-low heat. Remove from heat, and transfer to a mixer. Beat on medium-low speed until cooled, 4 to 5 minutes.
. 
Add eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition. Beat in vanilla and cocoa-powder mixture. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with sour cream and beginning and ending with flour. Beat until just combined.
. Divide batter between pans, and bake until a cake tester inserted into centers comes out clean, about 35 minutes. Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool for 45 minutes. Invert cakes onto rack, peel off parchment, and let cool completely.
. Using a serrated knife, trim tops of cake layers to make level. Transfer one cake layer to a cake stand, and spread with 1 cup frosting. Top with remaining cake layer, and coat top and sides with remaining frosting, spreading it in a swirling motion.

BEST CHOCOLATE FROSTING

3 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar
1 cup Dutch-process unsweetened cocoa powder
12 tablespoons (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup milk, room temperature
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS
. 
 In a small bowl, sift together the confectioners’ sugar and cocoa powder. Add butter, milk, and vanilla; stir until smooth and free of lumps.

Buttermilk Bran Muffins

If you are someone who dismisses bran muffins as being too bland or dry, these muffins will surely change your mind.  The use of buttermilk and oat bran instead of wheat bran creates a tender, springy texture, better than what you find in most coffee shops.bran muffins

INGREDIENTS

Nonstick canola oil spray
1 cup oat bran
2/3 cup unbleached all-purpose flour (spoon into a measuring cup and level top)
2/3 cup whole wheat flour (spoon into a measuring cup and level top)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/4 cups low-fat buttermilk
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
1 large egg
1 1/2 tablespoons canola oil
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond extract

DIRECTIONS
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350°. Lightly spray twelve 2 1/4 x 1 1/2-inch nonstick muffin cups with oil.
In a medium bowl, whisk the bran, flours, baking soda, and salt until well combined. Set aside.
In another medium bowl, using a handheld electric mixer set at high speed, beat the buttermilk, sugar, applesauce, egg, oil and vanilla until frothy, about two minutes. Make a well in the center of the dry ingredients, and pour in the buttermilk mixture. Using a spoon, stir just until combined. Do not over-mix.
Divide the batter equally among the prepared muffin cups. Bake until the tops spring back when pressed gently in the center, about 20 minutes. Do not over-bake. Cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes before removing from the cups. Serve warm or cool completely on the rack.

Banoffee Pie

single sliceA traditional British dessert, Banoffee Pie has a cookie crust with toffee filling, topped with sliced bananas, whipped cream, and chocolate and cocoa powders. Leave the sugar out of the whipped cream to prevent it from being too sweet.

INGREDIENTS

FOR THE PIE CRUST:
1 stick unsalted butter, melted
1 10-oz. package of digestive biscuits, such as McVities brand

FOR THE FILLING:
1 stick of unsalted butter
½ cup (4 oz) packed dark brown sugar
1 14-oz. can condensed milk, such as Carnation brand
4 bananas
1 pint heavy cream
Grated chocolate
Espresso powder

INSTRUCTIONS
1. Make the crumb crust: Crush the digestive biscuits in a food processor until you get a fine crumb texture. Transfer to a bowl and stir in melted butter. Press into a 9″-diameter tart base with a removable bottom. Press the mixture up the sides of the tart form with the back of a spoon. Chill the crust in refrigerator for at least one hour.

2. Make the toffee: Melt the butter in a small saucepan. Stir in the brown sugar and melt over low heat. Add the condensed milk and bring the mixture to a boil for a few minutes, stirring continuously. The toffee should darken slightly. Pour the filling into the crust. Cool and chill again for at least one hour until the caramel is firm.

3. To serve, remove the tart from the pan and carefully transfer to a serving plate. Slice the bananas and place them in a single layer on top of the caramel. Whip the cream and spoon it over the toffee and bananas, sealing the filling in. Sprinkle the top of the pie with grated chocolate and espresso powder to taste.