Pharm Fresh

The foodie alter-ego of a pharmacy student

Banana Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting November 9, 2009

Filed under: cake,dessert,fruit,sauces etc. — pharmfresh @ 4:02 pm
Tags: , , , , ,

I know I’ve professed my love for banana flavored baked goods before, but let me reiterate: I love them!  I think it has to do with the fact that I have so many happy memories of my Nana Dee and her famous banana muffins and banana bread.  Banana bread and banana cake have always been really homey foods to me, and I find them incredibly comforting.  I happened to have some over-ripe bananas attracting fruit flies in my kitchen, so I decided to branch out from the usual banana bread and go for banana cake.

The recipe will make either one 9×13 inch sheet cake or two 8 or 9 inch round cakes.  I like to go with the sheet cake because it’s simpler.  The vanilla bean is completely optional in the frosting, but I think it gives this otherwise very simple, no-frills cake a little bit of fanciness.  Oh, and it tastes good, too.

IMG_4104

Banana Cake with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Frosting

 

Makes: 1 (9×13 inch) sheet cake or 2 (8 or 9 inch) round cakes

 

Adapted from: my Nana Dee

 

For the cake:
1/2 c. vegetable shortening
1 1/2 c. granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
3 bananas, mashed
4 tbsp. milk
1 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1 c. walnuts, chopped (optional)
1 tsp. cinnamon (optional)

 

For the frosting:
1 package (8 oz.) cream cheese (reduced fat is fine, I wouldn’t use fat-free)
1/2 c. (8 tbsp.) butter, softened
3 c. powdered sugar
1-2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla extract
1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise, seeds scraped out

1) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2) In a large mixing bowl, cream the shortening and sugar with an electric mixer until combined.  Add the eggs and vanilla, mix until smooth.

3) Mix in the bananas, vanilla and milk.

4) Stir in the flour, baking soda, walnuts and cinnamon (if using), mixing until smooth.

5) Pour into a greased 9×13 inch baking pan or divide into two greased 8 or 9 inch round cake pans.

6) Bake for 30-35 minutes, until the cake is golden brown.  Cool completely before frosting.

7) For the frosting: In a medium mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese and butter until combined.  Add the vanilla, vanilla bean seeds and powdered sugar and mix until smooth and fluffy.  If the frosting is too thick, add enough milk to reach the desired consistency.  Frost cake.

 

Chocolate Banana Bread March 1, 2009

Filed under: bread,chocolate,fruit — pharmfresh @ 7:55 pm
Tags: , , , ,

img_3349

I am a sucker for a good banana bread.  Take me to a bake sale, and if there’s a loaf sitting there looking moist and pretty, I’ll buy it.  I am also a HUGE chocoholic.  So much so that I have a chocolate stash in the top drawer of my nightstand (but shhhh!  It’s a secret!).  I love putting chocolate chips in my banana bread (if you haven’t ever tried that, give it a shot…it brings banana bread to a whole new level!), so when I saw a recipe on Joy the Baker’s blog for a chocolate banana bread with chocolate chips, I thought to myself, “this is genius!  Why didn’t I think of this before?!”  Luck was on my side, as I had all of the ingredients already in the house, including two very ripe bananas just begging to be used.

(Also, if you have never seen Joy the Baker’s blog, make sure to check it out!  She does amazing things in the kitchen, and her pictures are always gorgeous.)

The bread turned out fantastically, and will definitely be added to my ever-growing list of things to DEFINITELY make again.  I adapted the recipe just a bit — I added a teaspoon of vanilla extract and upped the amount of chocolate chips (I just couldn’t resist!).  As you can see from the picture, it has a very crumbly texture which makes it very difficult to cut nice slices, but the taste is so amazing that I don’t really even care. But even though the texture is crumbly, it still is extremely moist. You get a nice jolt of chocolate, followed by a mellow banana aftertaste.  It’s perfect plain, or if you want to get fancy,  slathered with a bit of salted butter.

img_3319

Chocolate Banana Bread

Source: Joy the Baker

Makes: 1 loaf

1 stick (8 tbsp.) butter, at room temperature

3/4 c. granulated sugar

1/2 c. brown sugar

2 eggs

1 tsp. vanilla extract

2 very ripe bananas, mashed

2 c. all-purpose flour

1 c. unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 tsp. salt

1 1/2 tsp. baking powder

1/4 tsp. baking soda

3/4 c. buttermilk

1 c. mini chocolate chips

img_3321

1) In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cocoa powder, salt, baking soda and baking powder.  Set aside.  (Note: If you’re wondering why my cocoa powder is two different colors, I ran out of regular unsweetened cocoa powder and had to use 1/4 c. dark cocoa powder)

img_3315

2) Place the butter and sugars in a large bowl.  Using an electric mixer, beat until well-mixed.

img_3317

3) Add the eggs and vanilla and beat until smooth and fluffy.  Then beat in mashed bananas.

img_3326 img_3327

4) Mix in the dry ingredients and the buttermilk.  I did it in 3 installments – about 1/3 of the dry ingredients and 1/3 of the buttermilk each time.

img_3329

5) Fold in the chocolate chips.

img_3333

6)  Spread batter into a greased loaf pan.  Because of the long baking time, Joy suggested placing the loaf pan on top of an insulated cookie sheet, or two cookie sheets stacked on top of each other to keep the bottom of the bread from browning too much.  This worked perfectly for me!

7) Bake at 350 degrees for 70-75 minutes or until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.  If the top of the bread is getting too browned, place some foil over the top after it’s been in the oven for about 30 minutes, and then remove the foil for the last 10-15 minutes of baking time.





 

Banana Cream Pie Parfaits June 14, 2008

Filed under: dessert,fruit — pharmfresh @ 4:47 am
Tags: , , ,

Hello, world! Welcome to my blog!

My name is Katie, and I’m a 22 year old soon-to-be pharmacy student in Michigan. I’m quite enthusiastic about cooking, and thought that a food blog would be a fun thing to start and work on over the summer, and hopefully carry on while I’m in pharmacy school, which starts this fall. This first entry is probably the least complicated thing I’ve ever made, food wise, but I thought the pictures turned out really pretty, and figured that it would be a good place to start.

At the moment, I’m living at home with my parents for the summer. I’ve never been one who was all about growing up and getting away from their parents as soon as possible. Don’t get me wrong — I love living on my own during the school year, but I have no problem coming back to mommy and daddy for the summer. I love my parents to death, and they’re very easy to live with. And, best of all, they let me cook for them…and they pay for all the ingredients!

I made dinner for them last night, which, of course, got eaten before I could get any pictures. To be honest though, it tasted great, but the meal wasn’t very photogenic.

Dessert, however, was a different story. My dad is diabetic, and both he and my mom are trying to watch their weight. This dessert turned out to be satisfactory in both categories — I used sugar-free, fat-free pudding mix, skim milk, and light Cool-Whip, but feel free to use the full-fat and full-sugar versions. It tasted fantastic though…just like a real banana cream pie, without the sogginess a larger pie gets after sitting for a day or two, waiting to get eaten.

Banana Cream Pie Parfaits

Banana Cream Pie Parfaits

Makes 4 parfaits in medium-sized drinking glasses

1 large package (5.9 oz) instant fat-free, sugar-free vanilla pudding

3 c. skim milk

3-4 ripe bananas, sliced

1 c. Cool-Whip Light

8 graham crackers

1) Prepare the pudding with the milk as directed on the package.

2) Pour 1/8 of the pudding mixture into each of four medium sized clear drinking glasses.

3) Place banana slices in one layer on top of pudding.

4) Spread 1/4 c. of Cool Whip on top of banana slices in each cup.

5) Crumble 1 graham cracker in each glass on top of the Cool Whip.

6) Repeat with remaining pudding, bananas, and graham crackers. Top with more Cool Whip if you want (I would have, but I ran out)