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.