Monday, August 4, 2008

Tuesdays with Dorie: Black and White Banana Loaf

Our project for this week's Tuesdays with Dorie was the Black and White Banana loaf, on page 232 of "the book." Thank you to Ashlee of A Year in the Kitchen for choosing this recipe!


My husband expressed a great deal of skepticism about the idea of a banana cake with chocolate flavoring. In fact, he didn't want me to make it at all. Fortunately I have lots of overripe bananas in the freezer, so I promised to make him a loaf of our favorite banana bread as well. (I'll post a picture & the recipe as my next post.)

I followed Dorie's recipe exactly, except for substituting ground mace for the nutmeg. Because I generally buy medium eggs, I measured the eggs by weight to make sure I had the right amount -- 4 large eggs weigh 200 grams. I used 2/3 cup of mashed bananas.

I beat the butter and sugar together for what seemed like forever with my little hand-held power mixer. Cake experts all agree that beating lots of air into the mixture at this stage is crucial, so I didn't want to underbeat. The butter was getting a bit too soft in the warm kitchen, so I put an ice pack under the bowl for a little while. That worked. The mixture never curdled as I beat in the eggs, it just kept getting more fluffy and beautiful, which was very exciting!

After finishing the dark and light batters, I dropped them by alternating spoonfuls into my baking pan, then did a few quick zig-zags to marble them. The pan was almost full--I was worried it would overflow! Into the oven it went. (The oven was at about 335--a compromise temperature between the 325 temperature for Dorie's recipe, and the 350 for mine.)

The cake rose to the very top of the pan, but didn't overflow. I didn't need to tent the top until an hour into baking. After about 1 hour and 15 minutes I took it out. It was looking mighty brown and the cake tester (a long thin knife) came out clean.

I did wait a little while for the cake to cool, but couldn't bear to wait too long. The flavor of mace was much too strong while the cake was still warm. By the next day, the flavors had melded and become milder, but I still thought the mace was too prominent. I'd use half as much next time. The banana flavor was there but subdued. I couldn't taste the rum at all. I could taste the chocolate, though!

While I wasn't enthralled by the balance of flavors, I loved the texture and look of the cake. It was like a pound cake, dense but not too heavy, and very moist because of the banana. The zig-zagging with the knife had almost no effect, but that was okay because the alternating spoonfuls of batter made a lovely marbled effect. My first marbled cake!

While this recipe wasn't exactly to my taste, it was still good, and I was very happy to have the experience of making it with nothing going wrong! My husband even ate some and didn't make a face. He still likes my standard recipe better, though.

16 comments:

Jacque said...

Wow, that looks really cool! your colors are so pronounced.

Nice job! and your plain banana bread looks delicious.

Natalie said...

I love the bold color differences in yours!

Erin said...

Great job, I love the marbling :)

CB said...

Beautiful presentation. Love the marbling. Sorry it wasn't a favorite but there's always next week! Ice cream. Yeah!
Clara @ iheartfood4thought

Mevrouw Cupcake said...

Well done, your loaf looks beautiful!

Kelly H said...

Of all the pictures I've seen and posts I've read about this loaf, I think yours has turned out the best. It looks perfect -- not just the marbling, but the texture as well.

Nice job!!!

Pamela said...

Very nice job with the marbling. You look like a pro!

Andrea said...

Wow, what a gorgeous loaf! I think that's the prettiest one I've seen so far and I've seen lots of beauties! My batter never looked curdled either, I kept thinking it would but it never did, I wonder why...

Jules Someone said...

I didn't love it either. Yours looks really nice!

Michelle H said...

Wow! That looks absolutely amazing! You have some awesome marble skills! :o)

kittymama said...

Your loaf looks gorgeous! I was not a huge fan of this recipe but it was still fun to do the marbling.

Di said...

Your cake looks gorgeous! The texture is so nice. I don't think I've ever used mace, though I do like nutmeg.

Teanna said...

Your first marbled cake!? That was perfect marbling! The best I've seen so far!

TeaLady said...

Those swirls are beautiful. Great looking loaf.

Molly Loves Paris said...

That is great looking marbled banana bread. Bien fait!

n.o.e said...

Such a pretty cake! Your marbling is perfect. Sorry you didn't like it more. Mine was good, but I doubt I'd make it again - too many other cakes out there! It is fun to marble, though.
Nancy