This cake was never supposed to happen. I was goofing around one day in the kitchen with some ripe bananas and impulsively added a packet of dry pudding mix to the batter. I didn't realize until after the cake cooled and I had a bite that I had created my favorite banana cake of all time.
This is a dense cake, similar to banana bread in cake form. The pudding and sour cream help the cake stay incredibly moist and the glaze is heaven sent--rich, buttery, intensely caramel-flavored--and takes an already stellar cake to the next level. This is one of my favorite recipes in my Peanut Butter Comfort cookbook (Skyhorse Publishing, Inc., June 2013, $17.95).
Preheat oven to 350ºF, line a 9-by-9-inch baking pan with aluminum foil, and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
In a large microwave-safe bowl, melt the butter, about 60 to 90 seconds on high power. To the melted butter, add the peanut butter and heat for about 20 seconds on high power to melt it. Stir the mixture until combined and smooth.
Add the sugars and whisk or stir to combine. Add the egg, sour cream (thicker Greek-style yogurt may be substituted), and vanilla and whisk until smooth and free from streaks. Add the bananas and stir to incorporate.
Add the pudding mix and stir to incorporate. (Note: Don't make the pudding as directed on the box; simply use the powder as a dry ingredient. The pudding mix powder may be omitted; however, it adds softness, moisture, vanilla flavor and some sweetness to the cake and I consider it to be the secret ingredient to this cake's success.)
Add the flour, baking soda, and salt and stir until just combined. Do not overmix because it overdevelops the gluten, resulting in a tough cake.
Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for about 35 minutes, or until top is golden, set in the middle, edges have slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan, and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow cake to cool in the pan for at least 20 minutes before removing, serving or glazing with Vanilla Caramel Glaze.
This is a fast-moving recipe; have everything in place before you begin.
In a small saucepan, melt the butter over medium-high heat. To the melted butter, add the brown sugar and bring to a boil, stirring continuously. Allow the mixture to boil quite rapidly for 2 minutes, stirring continuously.
After the bubbling has subsided, add the vanilla and whisk to combine, using caution because the alcohol in the extract could cause the mixture to bubble up again.
Add the confectioners' sugar 1/2 cup at a time until desired glaze consistency is reached (this is a situation I absolutely recommend using sifted sugar for). Drizzle or pour glaze over cake and serve immediately.
After this glaze has been applied, it will crystallize and solidify a bit, which does not affect taste, but if serving cake for a special event, you can make the cake ahead of time and glaze it immediately prior to serving.
Peanut Butter Comfort author Averie Sunshine began blogging in 2009, and hasn't stopped baking since. Named a top-10 food blogger by the Huffington Post, she's contributed recipes to Better Homes and Gardens, Martha Stewart's Martha's Circle, Gourmet Live, Glamour and more.
Publisher: Skyhorse Publishing, Inc.
Penned: June 2013
What's Inside: More than 100 delectable dessert and comfort-food recipes featuring America's favorite spread.
We're talkin' peanut butter-inspired breads (think Cinnamon Raisin Bread Pudding), cakes (such as The Best Peanut Butter Cake) and cookies (make mine Molasses Ginger Spice). You'll also find ideas for candies (like Foolproof Chocolate Peanut Butter Fudge) and frozen treats (Ummmm! Creamy Peanut Butter Softserve) as well as tips for making your own peanut butter. Quick, easy and highly satisfying, these recipes are perfect for anyone who adores the rich, nutty goodness of peanut butter.
Time Out: 224 pages
Available: $17.95 at Amazon and other retailers
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