Thursday, August 9, 2007

Banana Cake

I don't really like bananas. I only eat them at a certain point of ripeness: just ripe. Perfectly yellow; no green and no spots. A very narrow frame of banana goodness! I tend to buy bananas that are a bit green.

Buying bananas in Japan can be a bit tricky. Many times I have bought some perfect-looking bananas only to have them turn out to be chalky. Even if I leave them to ripen, they don't improve. Where do chalky bananas come from? Is it a certain kind? (plantain maybe?) Or, are they picked too soon? I don't know. However, I have found the place to buy perfect bananas: Costco. I almost always buy my bananas there, because they are the cheapest, and they are never chalky.

In summer, the bananas go 'bad' quickly. With two small children in the house, bananas usually disappear fast, with only one or two that go too far to be eaten. In winter they last longer, but my husband refuses to eat bananas then. He says that bananas make you feel 'cool', which is bad in winter. (I have never heard this. I keep meaning to look it up on the internet but, meh.) Often, when I get bananas, I have 'leftovers'. Perfect for banana cake.

I got this recipe from my mom; I'm not sure where she go it. I think it's in a book of recipes that she got from friends when she got married. Anyway, if you ever have some extra-ripe bananas and sour milk in your kitchen, this recipe should work for you.

(Note: the measurements in this recipe are American. I brought my measuring cup from the US. Japanese and American teaspoons/tablespoons are the same.)

Banana Cake

1/2 cup shortening (I use Crisco, which I buy at Kaldi)
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs, well beaten
2 cups flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
3/4 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 cup sour milk or buttermilk
1 cup mashed bananas (2 or 3 bananas)
1 tsp. vanilla
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream shortening and add sugar gradually.
Add well beaten eggs.
Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together.
Add alternately with sour milk and bananas which have been pushed through a sieve (or you can liquefy them in a blender.)
Stir in vanilla and chopped nuts.
Pour into a greased and floured tube or Bundt cake pan
Bake at 350F for 50 minutes or until done. (Toothpick inserted into middle comes out clean.)


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