Monday, October 5, 2015

Alpha Bakers -- Banana Chiffon Cake

I have a new home! After lots of soul-searching and apartment-searching, I've moved deeper into Brooklyn, to a quiet tree-lined street very near the buildings where some of my grandparent-generation family grew up. The apartment is, to me, a grandma apartment, with parquet floors and built-in cabinets and arched doorways. I love it. And it's a mess. A work in progress.
Between moving and other life things, baking and blogging has slowed. I did make an apple pie and some scones in there somewhere, and I'm sure I'll blog about them, but meticulous multi-step cakes were not on the docket. Even after my little kitchen was more or less set up (hello, Small Appliance Shelf!), I found myself avoiding cooking or baking, or gingerly cutting fruit as though I didn't belong there. Moving engenders in me a camping mentality that is hard to break, and I just didn't feel comfortable settling down to a big project. A few weeks in, I'm starting to feel easier, although everything still feels like it's in the wrong place and it would be a crime to smear the shine off of the microwave (this kitchen is so white).
Those who know me would be shocked to hear that I hadn't baked at all since moving on 9/14, until yesterday, 10/4, when I made both popovers and the Alpha Bakers project du jour, a Banana Split Chiffon Cake. Yes, people, it had been so long since I baked that there were beetles in the flour. Luckily, I am myself and there was a backup bag of non-beetled flour.

Everything else in place, at 10pm last night I pre-heated the oven, mushed up some bananas, separated and whipped some eggs, and made a chiffon cake. I used coconut oil in place of the recommended amounts of walnut and canola oils, but was otherwise faithful to the recipe on pp. 92 of The Baking Bible. The only place where I went astray was in getting it into the oven. As I went to put it in, I mistakenly picked it up by the center tube of the tube pan, causing a bit of a gusher that resulted in the 'undercrust' pictured above. No lasting harm was done, though, and the final result was a squishy, moist banana sponge with a strong (and welcome) lemon tang.

My original intention was to drizzle it with a bit of the chocolate ganache from the white chocolate brownies, but when I re-warmed that in the microwave at work I took it a bit too far and it was burned and separated, and best kept away from cake. Luckily, the cake itself was full-flavored and full of moisture and stood up well on its own, sans chocolate or even the other option, caramel (or my favorite suggestion, strawberry ice cream). I would definitely add all of the 'split' condiments for a fancier presentation, but the non-split banana cake holds up well on its own.

When I get my act together I'll post a little kitchen tour, and you too can see the wonder that is Small Appliance Shelf. For now, I made cake, don't be greedy!


Vicki said...

Coconut oil! Be still my heart, what a great idea! Your apartment sounds charming. Moving is such a stress-or, so disorienting for a while. It's like waking up in a hotel room trying to get the right bearings of "Where am I?" Your cake turned out with good height and great crumb, even with the gusher.

anitsirK said...

Glad you've managed to break the seal on the "newness" and feel at least enough at home to bake a bit. I can only imagine how long it would take me to settle into a new kitchen.

Unknown said...

Those beetles are so opportunistic. I'd love to see your new kitchen and the Small Appliances Shelf. Congrats on the move and starting to bake again.