Monday, February 11, 2013

Day 3 with Rose: Cordon Rose Banana Cake

Holiday (with Greg's family), a badly bruised hand (from said holiday), work (business trip to London), and a snow storm (resulting in canceled flights back to NY) have kept me away from my beloved kitchen these past two weeks.

I'm back now, and all I want to do is bake! 

On my third day with Rose, I make a fruit cake.  Lest the words "fruit cake" conjure unpleasant images of leaden cake stuffed with unnaturally colored, jellied fruit pieces, rest assured that this is a remarkably different kind of fruit cake.  It is the Cordon Rose Banana Cake.  It's one of Rose's personal favorites (which to me says a lot), and it's also become one of my new favorites.  (I have a strong feeling that I'll be adding very quickly to this list in the coming weeks.)

The Cordon Rose Banana Cake is a variation of the basic butter cake, which I've previously written at length about.  Pureed banana supplies much of the liquid for this cake.  Like the other of Rose's butter cakes, it is exceedingly moist.  The flavors are also exquisite: the slight tang of the sour cream plays off the sweetness of the bananas, and a hint of lemon further brightens up the flavors.  I can't think of a better frosting to top the cake than a sour cream ganache.  The result: a dessert that's equal parts simple and sublime.

Cordon Rose Banana Cake

Recipe from The Cake Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum

2 large ripe bananas
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar 
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons unsalted butter

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

In a food processor process the banana and sour cream until smooth.  Add the eggs, lemon zest, and vanilla and process briefly just to blend.

In a large mixing bowl combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and 1/2 the banana mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed and beat for 1 1/2 minutes to aerate and strengthen the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining banana mixture in 2 batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and develop the structure. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape the batter into prepared pan* and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until a wire cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake spring back when pressed lightly in the center.

*One 9-inch by 2-inch cake pan, greased, bottom lined with parchment or wax paper, and then greased again and floured. 

Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Allow the cake to cool completely before wrapping airtight.


  1. Can you also post a recipe for the sour cream ganache frosting? Thanks!

    1. L.K.: Here's a simple recipe for sour cream ganache: Melt bittersweet chocolate (for a 1-layer cake, 2 (3-oz bars) should be sufficient). Using a microwave is fine; just take care to stop and stir every 10-20 seconds. Once hot, add the sour cream (1 cup); the sour cream should be at room temperature when combined to avoid lumps. Stir until uniform in color. It's best to frost the cake when the ganache is still warm. Otherwise, if you store the ganache in the fridge before use, once you're ready to frost the cake, soften it by placing it in the microwave for a few seconds. Enjoy!

  2. This looks so moist and perfectly rich! Banana bread is never complete without chocolate chips in my opinion, so a banana cake with chocolate frosting sounds just about right. :)

  3. Hannah, yes, the cake is really moist. I also love the combination of banana and chocolate -- it brings me back to my childhood days when I couldn't get enough of fudge-drizzled banana split ice cream!