After the smashing success that was my Mom’s birthday on Saturday, we took Sunday to rest our still-full bellies down, and to give our sleepy selves a quiet day. We had a lazy morning, complete with the signature “house lattes,” and all but finished the World’s Greatest Coffee Cake. When we eventually pulled ourselves out of the kitchen, and got into presentable clothes, we went for a quick visit to check the building progress at the new house, and then visited Goose at the barn.
I’ve never talked about Goose here, so he deserves a quick introduction — he is my wonderful horse, not to be confused with the animal he’s been named after. He was once a very silly, silly boy, so when we called him a Silly Goose, and once he grew out of the silly he just became Goose. Somehow, it stuck! At any rate, I hadn’t seen him since Christmas break, so we had a nice visit, and I got to ride around in the beautiful late-winter weather. On the way home we stopped by the supermarket, and picked up ingredients for this delicious dessert.
I only had two extremely emaciated bananas, and didn’t want a ton of leftovers, so I halved the recipe (though the full recipe is below), and decided to use leftover espresso syrup from the night before to create a chocolate-espresso-rum ganache to drizzle over the top. But I’m getting ahead of myself here! So. I’m not a fan of bundt cakes, but virtually anything made mini is a-okay, so instead of making a full recipe in a regular sized bundt pan, I made 4 mini ones. Another good choice. They cooked in half the time, and came out looking like they might have cooked too much (oops), but they were surprisingly moist, and so yummy. I can’t account for how well they stay fresh, because by the time we’d returned to Boston that night, both of the mini cakes we brought with us and fully intended to save were gone. I don’t regret it though. I wasn’t sure whether to expect a banana bread-like cake, or something entirely different, and I was pleasantly surprised.
They had less sweetness then my favorite banana bread recipe, and had a more sophisticated, less banana-y taste. It might have been due to the state of my bananas though, and I’d recommend for the best results not using bananas that are nearly three years past their prime. But I digress… The chocolate ganache concoction I created was the absolute perfect accompaniment, and really made these cakes special — I almost wish we’d had an occasion to share them for! I think they’d wow even the harshest critic.
All in all, they were probably the easiest little cakes for the effort exerted — they took all of about seven minutes to whip up and throw in the oven (the cakes were ready to bake before the oven was even preheated!), and they tasted great! I didn’t think initially that you could tell the butter was browned, however I do think it contributed to the more sophisticated taste than what you’d typically find with plain-old banana bread. And the chocolate chips add an additional textural element, as well as some dark, sugary sweetness. The ganache was a total last-minute addition, but I would HIGHLY recommend it. I made traditional ganache, and then added an espresso sauce I’d used earlier in the weekend (a post on that to come soon too!) — it was a reduction of espresso, rum extract, and sugar. Mixed with the chocolate, it was rich and intense, and so wonderfully delicious. I was imaging it mixed into my morning coffee, or drizzled over my ice cream. But then it was gone…
At any rate, I’m babbling tonight, so let’s just get to it, shall we? Here’s the recipe so you can try this too! No alterations this time.
(From Fine Cooking 68, pp. 44, Dec 1 2004)
With love, and sugar! Until next time… enjoy!