Sunday, July 25, 2010

Banana Peel Cake, or How to Make Something Out of Trash

Here for your culinary pleasure is a recipe—two recipes, in fact. The first is a simple banana nut bread recipe. The second is something I picked up from some folks at Conspire! Magazine—a how-to for a delicious banana peel cake.
I'm crazy about repurposing things that would normally be thrown away. The lowly banana peel certainly seems like a poor choice for a sweet delicacy, but I assure you: this is one of the most mouth-watering cakes I've ever made.

Here's everything that you will need for both recipes.
We start with the banana bread recipe. For this recipe (which makes two loaves), you will need:
  • 3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 4 egg whites
  • 1/4 cup chopped walnuts (you can leave them out if you don't like them)
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-fat margarine
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white sugar
  • 4 cups unbleached flour (I use King Arthur brand—it's one of the least processed and most socially responsible brands on the market, according to recent research)
  • 6 very ripe bananas (Alyssa and I don't eat bananas very often, so the ones we bought we simply froze until we needed them—hence the discoloration and sliminess in the photos. Be sure they are completely thawed by the time you are ready to bake)
Preheat the oven to 375°. If you don't have non-stick bread pans, lightly grease your pans with margarine.

If the bananas you are working with have been frozen, slice off the fibrous ends (i.e. the stems) and throw them away (or compost them, if you'd like!). Gently squeeze the bananas out of their peels. They should slide right out. If you're working with fresh (overripe), just peel them like you normally would. Place the peels in a bowl and set aside—we'll need them later.

In another bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and sugars with a fork.
In a mixing bowl, mix the fat-free sour cream, egg whites, vanilla, margarine, and bananas at medium speed until smooth and creamy.
Gradually add the flour mixture into the mix, and stir with a spoon until thoroughly combined. Add more flour if necessary until a thick and resistant dough is formed. Fold in the walnuts, and mix for 1 minute on the mixers lowest speed.
Divide the dough evenly between the two loaf pans, and bake until golden brown—for us, it was about 25-30 minutes. Just keep an eye on it.

In the meantime, here's what you'll need for the banana peel cake:
  • Those six banana peels that you set aside
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 4 egg whites beaten into firm peaks
  • 2 1/2 cups white sugar
  • 3 cups unbleached flour
  • 5 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 cans of cream cheese icing, combined with cinnamon to taste
In a blender or food processor, chop the peels with 1/2 cup of water. They should quickly turn to a dark brown, aromatic mush. Set aside.
Combine the margarine, yokes, and sugar in a mixing bowl until homogenous—it should have the consistency of fluffy scrambled eggs.
Add the banana peels, the flour, and the baking powder, and mix well.
Whisk the egg whites until frothy, and gently fold into the mixture, careful to preserve the air.
Pour into a cake pan. We wanted to make a layer cake, so we used two small, round pans. Bake at the same temperature you've baked the banana bread (375) for about 30 minutes, or until the cake passes the toothpick test.
Remove from oven and let cool for 2-3 hours. Remove the cake layers from their pans, and gently slice off the top of one, leaving it level. This will be your bottom layer. Place a layer of icing on top of the bottom layer, and then carefully place the other layer on the icing. Proceed to ice the rest of the cake.
And there you have it! Two delicious treats. Now, I realize that this is a lot of baked goods for just one person (or even two people!). But the brilliance of making these sweets is that they are meant for sharing—we kept one loaf of banana bread for ourselves, and gave one to my parents, and we gave the cake to my sister for her birthday! So give and share these recipes (and the fruits thereof) with one another. I altered them for my own purposes, but you can find the original recipes here and here. Enjoy!

Grace and peace be with you,


1 comment:

  1. I saw this in Conspire magazine yesterday and wondered about it. I'm so glad you took pictures and wrote about it. So cool. Can't wait to check out the rest of your blog!