Sundays with Dorie: Classic banana bundt cake and an open letter

Dear Tuesdays with Dorie,

You suck.

I can accept that you closed your club to new members for awhile; it must take a lot of time and effort to run an online baking club for hundreds and hundreds of Dorie Greenspan fanatics. But when you re-open membership (yay yay yay!), you tell us to email if we want to join and you say you’d „love to have us!”

And then you ignore us. You won’t answer our emails: multiple, polite emails inquiring if we may indeed join your club, pretty please? We’re not added to your blogroll or members' list. Six weeks go by and we are invisible to you.

Maybe it’s just me and Christie at Coco Bean that you don’t like the look of. Perhaps our fabulous good looks and dazzling culinary skill is intimidating to you. Well, guess what? Christie and I have our own club: Sundays with Dorie is official. Unfortunately Christie’s busy with Daring Cooks this week so I’m kicking off solo, but from next week, watch out. Sundays just got a whole lot more delicious.

Bitterly,
Hilary

Enough with the vitriol – onto the recipe.

For our official inaugural effort, I chose a favourite: Dorie’s take on banana cake. With banana cakes, there’s a benchmark against which all other recipes are measured: it’s the Ridiculously Simple Banana Bread that was a staple of my childhood and still frequently find its way into my oven.

While that cake is simplicity itself and can be thrown together before the oven has had time to preheat, this bundt cake requires a little more work. But that’s okay; while it’s humble enough for a cheeky breakfast, I think this cake is also special enough to serve to company.

Not only is the texture awesomely moist, but the sharp sourness of the optional lemon drizzle icing tarts up the cake nicely (both in taste and presentation) and provides a foil for the natural sweetness of banana (as usual I reduced the amount of sugar and still found the cake quite sweet).

And the positive reviews don’t end with me. My resident taste tester raved about this cake. Phrases like „best thing you’ve ever made”, „oh my word” and „you need to sell this” came forth from his mouth. Dorie just might have raised the benchmark for banana cake the teensiest bit higher.

Classic Banana Bundt Cake
Adapted from Baking: From My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan

3 cups plain or all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
250 g (8 oz) (1 cup) unsalted butter
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, at room temperature
4 very ripe bananas, mashed (should make 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups)
1 cup sour cream or plain yogurt

Preheat the oven to 350F / 176C. Generously butter and flour a bundt pan.

Whisk together the flour, salt and baking soda.

In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, or in a large bowl with an electric mixer, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugar and beat on medium speed until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and then the eggs, one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each egg is added – be sure to turn off the mixer and scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times. Turn down the mixer to low speed and add the mashed banana. With the mixer still on low speed, add half the dry ingredients, all the sour cream, and the rest of the dry ingredients. Mix until just combined.

Scrape the batter into the pan and smooth the top using a spatula. Bake in the centre of the oven for 65 to 75 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean and the bottom of the cake looks set. Check the cake periodically while in the oven; if at any point it is getting too brown, cover it loosely with foil. When done, let the cake cool on a wire rack for at least ten minutes before unmoulding from the pan.

If you wish to ice the cake, sift 3/4 cup of icing sugar into a bowl and squeeze in some fresh lemon juice (start with about 2 tsp) to make an icing that can be easily drizzled all over the cake. Make sure the cake is completely cool before icing it, otherwise the icing will melt.