Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Banana Cake with Nutella Frosting

What is it about bananas and nutella that makes my mouth and my belly so happy? The textures combined together? The flavors? I don't know. It's just amazing.

I made this cake on a snow day last month. It was an awesome day as I got to stay home with Abe all day which doesn't happen during the week. 

It was really hard to let the cake cool so I could frost it.

The cake part is really awesome. Moist and banana-y. The real shiner is the frosting, of course. I'm fairly sure I lapped the bowl.

I don't give Abe sweets very often. But it was a very special day so we splurged.

He was a very happy little boy.

It may look like he is blowing a kiss but he is shoving the last piece of cake in his mouth.

And he couldn't believe it was all gone.

You must make this cake.

Banana Cake with Nutella Frosting

Source: The Ginger Snap Girl

For the cake:

2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 sticks (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups superfine sugar
1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 large bananas)
2 large eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Line 9 x 13 cake pan with parchment paper.  Or alternatively you can butter and flour the pan, knocking off excess flour. 

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt and set aside.  Cream butter and sugar in a stand mixer on medium speed for about 2 minutes until light and fluffy.  Add eggs, one at a time and beat on low until just combined.  Add in vanilla and mashed bananas and mix until just combined.  With mixer on low add 1/3 of the flour mixture and beat until just combined.  Add half the buttermilk.  Alternate flour and buttermilk, starting and ending with buttermilk.  Do not over mix.  Pour batter into prepared pan and bake on center rack for 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the cake comes out clean.  Cool for 10 minutes in the pan and then turn cake out onto a cooling rack and remove parchment.  Allow cake to cool completely before frosting.

For the frosting:

3/4 stick (6 tablespoons) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup Nutella
3 cups confectioners (powdered) sugar, sifted
2-4 tablespoons heavy cream (or condensed milk)

In a stand mixer beat butter and Nutella on medium, about 1 minute until fully combined.  Add in confectioners sugar 1 cup at a time.  Mixture will appear crumbly.  Add in 2 tablespoons of cream and continue beating on medium-high speed for about 3 minutes.  Add additional tablespoons of cream until the frosting reaches a soft, spreadable consistency.  I used 4 tablespoons in total.  Generously spread frosting over cooled cake.  For a smooth finish, run your knife or offset spatula under hot water and gently smooth the surface, rinsing off it off after each swipe.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites

These little pretzel bites are so easy to make. Basically you make a peanut butter ball, squish it between two pretzels, and then dunk half of it in dark chocolate. You can use milk chocolate if you want, I had dark already melted for another project so I whipped these up. YUM!

Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites
Source: 17 and Baking

1 cup creamy peanut butter
2 tsp butter, room temperature
2/3 cup powdered sugar
3/4 cup light brown sugar
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
2 cups bittersweet chocolate chips
In a small bowl, beat the peanut butter and butter together until smooth and creamy. Beat in the powdered sugar, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract until well mixed – you may need to add more to get the filling thick and stiff enough to hold its shape.
Roll teaspoons of the peanut butter mixture between your palms to form balls. Sandwich between two pretzels and put on a plate or cookie sheet. Freeze the pretzel sandwiches for half an hour.
Melt the chocolate chips, using the microwave (30 second intervals) or a double boiler. Dip half of each pretzel sandwich in chocolate. Return the tray to the freezer and chill until the chocolate sets. Store the Peanut Butter Pretzel Bites in the refrigerator until serving time.