Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Banana Layer Cake with Mascarpone Frosting

Picture from Food and Wine website (which is acting screwy right now, so I'm copying the recipe here instead of linking to it.)

It was Kevin's birthday on Monday, so today I baked him a cake. I would have had it ready by Monday except the bananas weren't ripe until yesterday, and then I forgot all my butter was in the freezer, and I would have been awake until 3am baking this thing, which I am too old (but not as old as Kevin, ha ha!) to do...

The cake part? Absolutely delicious. The frosting? Blech. Seriously, do yourself a favor and make this cake, but use cream cheese frosting instead. The sweetness of the bananas and the cake (I might actually cut down the sugar to half a cup the next time I make this) really need the tang that only cream cheese can provide. We ended up scraping off the top layer of frosting and eating our slices with a side of peanut butter, which was heavenly.


1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
Scant 1/2 teaspoon salt
1 stick (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large egg yolks
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup mashed ripe banana (1 1/2 large), plus 2 large bananas, thinly sliced
1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons buttermilk
3 large egg whites


1. Preheat the oven to 325°. Butter a 9-inch round cake pan and line it with parchment paper; butter the parchment paper. Dust the pan all over with flour, tapping out any excess. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, baking soda and salt.
2. In a large bowl, using a handheld electric mixer, beat the butter and sugar at medium-high speed until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Beat in the egg yolks and vanilla extract. Add the mashed bananas and beat the mixture until smooth. Add half of the dry ingredients and beat at low speed until the batter is moistened. Beat in half of the buttermilk, then add the remaining dry ingredients and the remaining buttermilk.
3. In a medium bowl, beat the egg whites at medium-high speed until firm peaks form. Beat one-fourth of the egg whites into the batter at low speed. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the rest of the whites until no streaks remain. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake the cake for about 40 minutes, until the top is golden and springy and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean; the top will be very slightly cracked. Let cool in the pan for 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto a rack to cool completely. Peel off the parchment paper.
4. Using a large serrated knife, cut the cake horizontally into 3 layers. Place the top layer, cut side up on a cake plate and spread with frosting. Arrange half of the bananas in a single layer on the frosting. Top with the middle cake layer. Cover the layer with more frosting and top with the remaining bananas. Cover with the bottom cake layer, cut side down, and frost the top. Refrigerate the cake for at least 30 minutes before serving. (We skipped that part!)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008


Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
...make this granola. Switch out the vegetable oil with extra virgin coconut oil. Douse it with cold milk and sprinkle on some pomegranate, and you have the best breakfast ever.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Things I am currently loving....

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
Getting a random email or text message from a college friend, saying they are in town, then meeting up with them here or here.

Roasting pumpkins.

Hot tea with milk and agave nectar.

The yogurt shallot dip at Lavash on Irving.

Barbecue and babies.

Nippy fall weather.

Wii Fit.

Dexter on DVD.

The fact that people actually look at my pictures on flickr. One of my photos is on Schmap!

Truffle oil from my trip to Italy.

Google Reader

Split pea soup.

Things I could currently do without:

Narcissistic, self-absorbed, and/or passive-aggressive people.

Bug bites.

Low back pain.

Watching my IRA shrink and shrink and shrink.

Having to wait an extra eight months for the new Harry Potter movie.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Atlanta split pea soup

So this soup actually has nothing to do with Atlanta except for the fact that I bought the smoked turkey neck at Your Dekalb Farmers Market, a delightful place near my brother's apartment where my mother and I oohed and aahed over the large variety of spices and meats and grains. I went there twice in three days (the first time with my brother to buy the many items my mother needed to cook and freeze food for the next four years my brother is in med school and the second time because my mother was jealous we went without her) and brought back smoked turkey neck, weisswurst, extra virgin coconut oil, celery seed, and whole wheat cream cheese croissants.

This soup turned out delicious, although the turkey neck smelled a lot better than it actually tasted, which was like plain old turkey neck. So next time I make this I'll probably use ham hocks. Maybe my brother could bring me back some when he comes home for thanksgiving??

1 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, crushed
1 carrot, chopped
2 celery stalks, chopped

In a 6 quart dutch oven, saute these ingredients with a little olive oil until they are shiny and smell really good. Then add:

2 three-inch pieces of smoked turkey neck
0.5 tsp smoked paprika
1 tsp celery seed

Saute another minute or so. Then add:

1.5 cup dried split peas
6 cups water

Bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer for half an hour, partially covered. Start checking to see if the peas are getting cooked/mushy. Once they are done, you can fish out the turkey necks and shred the meat into the soup. You can also leave the soup chunky or use a stick blender. The soup will seem too runny, but it will thicken up a lot as it cools down. Add salt and pepper to taste.

Makes 4 servings.

The difference between men and women...

Originally uploaded by starchmouse.
Saturday night Kevin and I met up with Matt and Chari, who had a baby girl in December. They now live in the same town as my parents, so when we went out there to set up my dad's Wii and Wii Fit, we all met up for dinner at Bo's Barbecue.

For a mere $25, you get a whole lot of meat (links, brisket, and super yummy ribs), sweet potato, salad, bread, and some sort of potato thing.

While that was all very delicious, the REAL star of the evening was...

(from Matt and Chari's camera)

Would you look at that smile? Is she not the cutest most adorable thing you've ever seen?? She is just starting to walk, and toddled around, making everybody in the restaurant fall in love with her. Kevin and I could not believe how happy and social she was, and basically talked about how cute she is the entire way home.

And here is now where the fundamental difference between men and women comes into play...the following is an actual conversation that happened, but names have been changed to protect the innocent.

Boy: You know, being around such a cute and happy and well-behaved baby like that makes me think...
Girl: ...that you can't wait to have one of your own??
Boy: Uh, actually, that I'm GLAD I don't have one.