Since March has again turned colder and since I just happened to have some overripe bananas laying around, I decided to do some baking yesterday.
Wait, are you suggesting that I purposely didn’t eat those bananas the past few days just so I could make Louise’s Banana Cake?
Oh, dear blog readers, you know me too well.
So, as mentioned, this week’s What’s Cooking Wednesday is Louise’s Banana Cake. Perhaps you remember that my mom’s name is Mary, and my grandmother was Paulina/Pauline; if so, maybe you’re wondering who this Louise character is.
Louise was my grandmother’s neighbor and “good buddy,” as she always said, whose family surely has no idea that her legacy lives on in my family in the form of an old, tattered recipe.
Yes, it’s that good. In fact, it’s my second favorite cake of all time, after only the chocolate one I shared with you last month.
When writing this post, I remembered that I actually have some old family photos in an album here, and lo and behold, there is one of my grandmother (left) and Louise lounging about in what was at the time our half of the backyard; my family now has the whole thing (without the dividing fence) because after the whole row of houses burned down in 1971–stopping at our house–Louise’s family chose not to rebuild on the same spot; my grandparents bought the entire lot and built the house that I and my brother grew up in and where my father now lives. Check out that car in the background y’all!
Ahem, right. The recipe.
It’s for an ordinary 13 x 9 pan, but this time I made muffins and a loaf (looks like bread but tastes like cake!).
My mom does a fabulous thing with this cake for special occasions–makes a whipped cream icing (recipe also below) and then does a layer cake, putting the whipped cream and fresh banana slices in the middle and then whipped cream, banana slices, and maraschino cherries on top with a sprinkling of walnut shavings. Yum!
For those of you in Italy, you can safely make the following substitutions: (1) 225 grams of butter instead of shortening; and (2) one teaspoon of “lievito vaniglinato per dolci” in place of the baking powder and vanilla extract.
Louise’s Banana Cake
1 c mashed bananas (2 medium, overripe)
1 1/2 c sugar
1 c vegetable shortening
3 c flour
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c sour milk (add 2 tbsp of lemon juice or vinegar to sour it)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla
1 c chopped nuts (optional)
1. Mash bananas and set aside.
2. Mix together sugar and shortening, and then add eggs and beat until pale yellow.
3. Mix together the dry ingredients, and then add them to the sugar/shortening mixture, alternating with sour milk and vanilla. Batter will be thick.
4. Add bananas and the nuts if you’re using them, and beat until blended.
5. Pour or spoon into your baking vessel of choice and bake at 325°F (162°C). If baking a 13 x9 cake, it should take about 45 minutes, but check progress after a half hour or so. Muffins and loaf pans will take less time, so remove when the tops springs back from the touch and/or when a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Whipped Cream Icing
1 pint heavy whipping cream
1/4 c sugar
1 tsp vanilla
Whip (on high speed) until stiff peaks form.