banana sheet cake with dulcey cream cheese frosting

February 19, 2019 Portland, OR, USA


Remember that children's book, Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day? I swear to god that book was based on my last week. Everything I touched literally broke: after waking up at 4AM to catch my flight to Los Angeles, my shoot was rescheduled due to stormy weather and I was sent back home early. I had to cancel all the food plans I was so excited about — no lunch at Kismet with Adrianna, no Filipino food at Ma'am Sir with Alana (though we did manage a quick trip to Gjusta Bakery, where I fell in love with their pistachio orange cookie and baklava croissant). And once I arrived back home, I was met with even more bad news: I'd missed the delivery for some long awaited new appliances, causing the company to cancel my order completely; a suitcase company had accidentally charged my credit card with $13k (YEP, you read that right — $13,000) of luggage; and TSA cancelled a TSA Global Entry interview I scheduled back in October and have literally been waiting four months for. With no word on rescheduling, of course.

Plus, I got the flu!


I know I'm supposed to keep Hummingbird High a positive space, but so many things went wrong last week that it was almost funny. To be honest, I didn't even register most of it while it was all happening — I was too busy coordinating all the changes with my agent, my credit card company, and all the other moving parts. It was only on Thursday, during me and Erlend's biweekly climbing session, that it finally sunk in: I'd skinned my knee badly on a 5.11D climb (which, by the way, I failed to get up because I am not actually that good at climbing) and made a crack about how, with the week I was having, it was lucky I hadn't broken my neck. Erlend shot me a look of concern and I burst into tears, right there in the middle of the gym.

So yeah, all in all, last week was a pretty lousy week.


But no matter. I can feel you rolling your eyes from afar. No more complaining. You're here for the recipe! And it's a good one, too. In between the chaos of last week, I found sometime to bake the frozen bananas at the bottom of freezer into this lovely banana cake. This recipe is a variation of the banana cake that will be in #weeknightbakingbook, and it tastes exactly like banana bread but light and fluffy because it's cake.


I frosted it with a creamy, luscious cream cheese frosting that I spiked with Valrhona dulcey white chocolate, all topped with Valrhona crunchy pearls and leftover mini peanut butter cups from these white chocolate and peanut butter cup cookies. This cake is legit all my favorite things: banana bread, cake, cream cheese frosting, and chocolate candy. Enjoy!


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Some baker's notes:
  • Valrhona Dulcey chocolate is white chocolate that's been roasted to give it a toasted, caramelized flavor; it tastes like dulce de leche caramel, but in chocolate form. It's absolutely amazing. You can buy it online as feves (chocolate discs that melt easily) or in chocolate bar form; because this recipe doesn't use too much, you can probably get away with doing the latter since it'll be much cheaper. In a pinch, you can use this Food52 recipe to roast your own white chocolate too!

  • If you're feeling lazy and DON'T want to buy dulcey chocolate online or make it from scratch, go ahead and just swap it for regular white chocolate. The recipe will be just as good, I promise!

Yield: one 9 x 13-inch sheet cake

Banana Sheet Cake with Dulcey Cream Cheese Frosting

ingredients:

For the Banana Sheet Cake
  • 1 large egg, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) crème fraîche, at room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) cake flour
  • 1 cup (7 ounces) granulated sugar
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 6 tablespoons (3 ounces) unsalted butter, cubed and at room temperature
  • 9.5 ounces very ripe, peeled bananas (from around 2 large or 3 medium bananas)


For the Dulcey Cream Cheese Frosting
  • 4.5 ounces Valrhona dulcey chocolate (see baker's notes for sources), roughly chopped
  • 8 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups (8 ounces) confectioners' sugar
  • a pinch of kosher salt

instructions:

For the Banana Sheet Cake
  1. Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). Generously spray the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13-inch cake pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper. Spray the parchment paper too, and set aside.
  2. Whisk together 1 large egg, 1/2 cup creme fraiche, 2 tablespoons canola oil, and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract in a liquid measuring cup.
  3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat 2 cups cake flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 3/4 teaspoon baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon baking soda, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt on low until combined. With the mixer on its slowest setting, add 6 tablespoons cubed unsalted butter, one piece at a time, and continue mixing until the batter has the texture of coarse meal. Add the wet ingredients (from the 2nd step) in 2 additions, beating until just combined, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula after each addition. Add 9.5 ounces bananas a handful at a time, and beat just until broken and mixed throughout the batter.
  4. Pour the batter into the prepared cake pan and smooth its surface with an offset spatula. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes, or until the top of the cake bounces back when gently pressed and a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out with few crumbs. Cool completely to room temperature on a wire rack before frosting.
For the Dulcey Cream Cheese Frosting
  1. Place 4.5 ounces Valrhona dulcey chocolate in a double boiler (or, make a homemade version by placing a heatproof bowl on top of a saucepan filled with few inches of water, but ensuring that the water does not touch the bottom of the bowl) over medium heat to melt.
  2. Once the chocolate is melted, remove bowl from heat and set aside while you work with other ingredients. Combine 8 ounces cream cheese and 1/2 cup unsalted butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on medium until creamy, about 2 to 3 minutes. Reduce the mixer to low and gradually pour in melted Valrhona dulcey chocolate (from the 1st step) and 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract. Gradually add 2 cups confectioners' sugar and a pinch of kosher salt, scraping down the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula occasionally. Once all the sugar is added, increase the mixer to medium and beat until light, fluffy, and creamy, another 2 to 3 minutes.

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