Banana Caramel Bundt Cake

 

My early Christmas present to you.

Christmas is only a week away.  Wowzers.  Luke and I did the last of our Christmas shopping yesterday, and boy was it a madhouse out there. Thank goodness for Amazon.com.  It makes holiday shopping so much easier and safer.  And it saves on gas.

This is our first post-graduation/official (engaged) couple Christmas, not that it will be much different from last year, since I spent the holidays with Luke’s family then too.  Still, it can be disorienting when you cross the line from college student to bill-paying adult, because of the changes.  Or, at least it has a little bit for me.  Maybe I’m a special case because I immediately started celebrating the holiday with a different family.  I’ll be a proponent of the “change is good” school on this one though.  This is what being an adult is all about.  You gotta roll with the changes.

This cake was made for a member of my new Christmas family, almost a month ago.  Sorry!  I’ve had a lot of things to post about!  Luke’s dad’s birthday was just before Thanksgiving, remember the Bananarrot Cake I made?  Well, that was for the office celebration, but this cake was for the private family celebration.  I had my eye on this recipe for a while, and Luke’s dad likes bananas, so it seemed like a good fit.

This cake is like the best banana bread you’ve ever had times 50.  It’s soft and moist, full of banana and chocolate chips, and covered in a caramel sauce that sinks in and coats the cake.  So delicious, especially with vanilla ice cream.  The leftovers made it to Thanksgiving, and then wound up at my parent’s houses when we went down to CT after the holiday.  My mom and stepdad even ate it for breakfast, so it’s versatile!  And delicious…did I mention it was delicious?

Banana Caramel Bundt Cake

Adapted from Crepes of Wrath via Cookworm

3 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 large eggs
1 1/4 cups canola or other neutral-flavored oil
1 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 cup coarsely chopped toasted pecans or walnuts (I omitted these)
4 ounces bitter or semisweet chocolate chips or chunks
4 ounces butterscotch chips (these too since I didn’t have any)
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe bananas (I used 3)
Powdered sugar (for dusting)

Caramel:
1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar
4 tablespoons (2 ounces) unsalted butter
2 tablespoons milk

Adjust rack to middle and preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Generously grease and flour a 12-cup (10-inch) nonstick Bundt pan.  I actually greased and floured instead of Pam spray to ensure this cake actually made it out of the pan intact.  Also I used a tube pan.
In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt, and baking soda. Set aside.
In a large bowl, combine the eggs, sugar, vanilla extract, almond extract, and oil. Mix until well combined, scraping the sides of the bowl if necessary.
Slowly add the flour mixture, about 1/2 cup at a time, until fully incorporated. Fold in the bananas, nuts, chocolate chips, or whatever else you’d like to add.
Spread batter into the prepared pan, and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester inserted in the center of the cake comes our clean.

To make the caramel:
A few minutes before the cake is done, combine the brown sugar, milk, and butter in a small saucepan.
Bring to a boil over medium heat, stirring until the sugar dissolves. When the sugar is bubbling vigorously and is a medium amber color, remove from heat.

Remove cake from oven and set on a cooling rack. With a long, thin skewer or toothpick, poke holes all over the cake. ( I used a chopstick)
Pour the hot caramel all over the cake, pushing gently with a spoon to encourage absorption and gently pushing the cake slightly away from the sides of the pan to allow the caramel to soak the top and sides.
Cool cake until only slightly warm to the touch, then unmold onto a serving dish. Dust with powdered sugar if you like.

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