On most days my house is a hive of activity. There's a steady stream of family and friends that regularly cross my threshold, not to mention the three men I live with and cook for on a daily basis. There's Hubby, the American and the Little Man, all of whom have different tastes, schedules and appetites. Here's how I stopped being a short order cook and turned my fridge into an open all hours self serve buffet.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Banana Caramel Choc-Chip Cake with Brown Butter Frosting

Banana Cake

125g (4.5oz) butter, softened
3/4 (175g/6oz) cup brown sugar firmly packed
2 eggs
1 cup mashed banana
1 1/2 (260g/9.2oz) cups cake flour
(you can substitute all purpose flour)
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
3/4 cup sour cream
1 cup (170g/6oz) chocolate chips

Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, until combined.  Stir in banana.  Stir in half the sifted dry ingredients with half the sour cream then stir in remaining dry ingredients and sour cream, stir until smooth.  Mix in chocolate chips.

Spoon mixture into mason jars until jars are about 1/3 to 1/2 full.  Pour about an inch of boiling water into the crockpot and put in the mason jars.  Cook on high for an hour.  The cakes should feel firm and set.

Banana Cake

Brown Butter Frosting

80g unsalted butter
400g icing sugar mixture (confectioner's sugar)
3 - 5 tbspn thick cream
1spn vanilla extract
pinch salt

In a small saucepan, melt butter over medium-high heat until nut-brown in color, watch it like a hawk, when you start smelling deliciousness it's done, burnt butter is easy to do and totally unusable for this purpose. 

Step by Step Brown Butter

Step by Step Brown Butter
The butter will start to bubble...

Step by Step Brown Butter
As it bubbles it will begin to clarify, and become clear....

Step by Step Brown Butter
Then it will start to foam, and you can see the butter starting to brown at the edges....

Step by Step Brown Butter
As you swirl the butter around you can see it is perfectly clear and a rich golden colour.

Remove pan from heat and pour butter into a bowl, leaving any burned sediment behind.  I like to do this twice by pouring from the saucepan to a jug, then from the jug to the bowl.  Allow to cool at room temperature until it firms up again.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, add confectioners' sugar, vanilla and butter.  Beat until light and fluffy.  Add cream until you have the desired consistency.

Decorate with frosting as desired.  I'm generally not a fan of cupcakes that have a high tower of frosting.  Frosting is essentially pure sugar, exceptionally sweet, to me a cake should have enough to compliment it, not drown it.  Also, I wanted this to fit in the jar with the lid on for transportation.  Sprinkle with grated dark chocolate.

Banana Cake

The verdict?  Cooking cakes in the crockpot in this way gives a beautifully moist, soft texture, no dried out edges or corners.  All three men were hanging around waiting for me to finish taking photos so they could dig in.  A big hit with all three. 

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