Friday, July 15, 2011

Banana Blueberry Cake





Remember this cake? I made it for my birthday this year. If you're a fan of banana bread, you will love this cake. Very pure banana flavor punched up with cream cheese icing and of course, blueberries - both on top and in the batter! There's something very simple about cakes like these (essentially, glorified quick breads). I love the drama of the beautiful, dark berries against the pure, clean icing. Above all else, it tastes amazing!

Ever since I found this recipe for banana cake on The Kitchn (yes, where I found my beloved measuring cups! Love this site), I've made it many times with great success using the unique freezer method. It sounds like a step you'd want to just glide past, but trust me, it's critical! Try it and let me know how it turns out.

This would have made a perfect dessert for 4th of July weekend, but it's really perfect for anytime berries are in season. Perhaps a belated Bastille Day treat? Just add a few pretty strawberries to complete the red, white and blue theme. ;)

Happy weekend, friends!

Blueberry Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe courtesy of the The Kitchn

9x13-inch cake (or two 8"-9" circular pans), serves 10 to 12

3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 tablespoons rum (optional)
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (from about 3 bananas)
3 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 lemon, juiced and zested
1 1/2 cups milk
2 cups blueberries, washed and picked over

For the cream cheese icing:
1/4 cup butter, softened
1 (8 ounce) package light cream cheese, softened
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon rum (optional)
3 cups confectioners' sugar
Pinch salt

Preheat the oven to 325°F. Line a 9x13-inch pan with parchment paper, with enough paper that paper hangs over the two long sides. Grease lightly with baking spray or butter.

In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a large bowl with a handheld mixer) cream the butter with the sugars. Blend in the eggs one at a time, and whip until creamy. Add the vanilla and rum, if using, as well as the bananas. Mix until creamy.

Add the flour, baking soda and salt. Stir the mixture roughly, but do not combine completely. In a large measuring cup, mix the lemon juice with the milk. (Reserve the lemon zest for the icing.) With the mixer running, slowly pour the milk into the bowl with the rest of the ingredients. Mix until smooth. Fold in the blueberries. Spread the batter in the prepared pan.

Bake the cake for 75 minutes (*mine were ready in 40-45! I have a hot oven), or until a tester comes out clean. (Start checking after 60 minutes.) When the cake is firm and a tester comes out clean, remove the cake from the oven. Run a knife between the cake and the short edges of the pan to help release the cake. Lift up on the parchment paper to remove the whole cake from the pan, and place the cake, parchment and all, on a cooling rack. Place the rack in the freezer for 30 minutes. Remove from freezer and let the cake cool completely before icing.

For the icing: In a large bowl, whip the butter and cream cheese together until very smooth, with no lumps remaining. Beat in 1 teaspoon vanilla and 1 tablespoon rum, if using. Add the confectioners sugar, reserved lemon zest, and salt and beat on low speed until combined, then on high until frosting is smooth. Spread on cooled cake. Garnish with blueberries.

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