Sunday, October 4, 2015
Banana Split Chiffon Cake: A Baking Adventure With Woody
This is the third of four things that Woody and I baked for the Boys of Broomball. As you can see, it's done up with plastic wrap, waiting for its trip to northern Minnesota. I told Woody that he must bring at least one piece back for me, and he promised that he would sneak a slice off the cake so that the hungry broomballers wouldn't scarf it all up for dessert. You can see why the t'ai chi and the broomball people are so fond of Woody (aside from his winning personality, of course)--he never comes empty-handed.
The TSA folks were quite curious about the black, smelly objects that Woody had in his bag. Just overripe bananas, nothing to worry about. Apparently overripe fruit is not on the list of forbidden objects, and they were allowed. I also had some very ripe bananas stored in my freezer, so we had a surfeit of them. I didn't understand why this cake was called a banana split cake. Woody was vague, but he assured me I'd like it. I said I'd only be able to judge if I actually got to eat a piece, and he assured me again that he'd make sure I got a taste.
I love this recipe for no other reason than that it contains almost equal amounts of yolks and eggs, and it lets me subtract from, rather than add to, my burgeoning supply of frozen egg whites. It's also quite easy to put together: bananas, oil, lemon juice, eggs, and vanilla all go into the food processor. (Woody kindly gave me permission not to go out and buy a bottle of walnut oil).
Then the batter is finished with flour, sugar, and baking powder.
Well, it's a chiffon cake, so of course there are egg whites involved.
And the meringue is gently folded into the batter.
You can tell this is going to be a high riser.
I don't know what this is supposed to look like, but it looks just about perfect to me.
Woody didn't complain about the way the cake looked, but he was deeply disappointed in my angel-food cake pan, which didn't have legs. "Why don't you have a better pan? How are we going to cool this?" I said we'd use a bottle of wine, the same way we cooled the angel food cake for Heavenly Bakers. (I didn't remind him that the cake had been a dismal failure). For the dismal failure, I'd used a Riesling, which usually comes in a thin-necked bottle.) This time, I had no Riesling, and the only bottle that fit was a Sancerre that I'm quite fond of, so I was relieved that nothing bad happened to it.
As with the Black and White Brownies, there is no picture of the cake because, like the brownies, the banana cake made its way to the Great North Woods in its pan.
I asked Woody when we were going to make the chocolate drizzle glaze. He quite shocked me by saying he wasn't going to bother (which is generally my phrase, not his); he'd just pick up some chocolate sauce at a grocery store near their cabins. He must have seen the look of disbelief on my face, and he said, "Oh, the guys will never know the difference." That way lies danger--if you start telling yourself that no one will ever notice, you'll start using cheap chocolate.
Woody was true to his word. When he came back, he first told me that the guys had devoured the banana cake. I was about to reprimand him, when he pulled out a healthy hunk of cake. "I cut this part off for you and Jim and hid it from the broomballers."
After I tasted it, I was very grateful. I had low expectations for this cake, because it seemed that it would be very plain and not particularly interesting. I put some strawberry ice cream and chopped walnuts on my plate, and took a big bite. What a wonderful surprise! I finally understood why Rose called it a banana split cake; the banana flavor is very big and ripe, and you can make the cake in many different ways, using any of the traditional flavors associated with a banana split. The strawberries and nuts were terrific, but you could also use chocolate and/or caramel sauces, or hot fudge, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream, or chocolate ice cream with fresh strawberries and caramel drizzle. The permutations and combinations go on and on, and I'll bet you can't make a bad variation.
Next time I want a banana split sundae, I may just have to bake a cake instead.