For the Recipes to Rival recipe, please check the previous post.
If you’re here for some chocolate brownies and espresso cheesecake, kick back and set a spell. This week, Melissa of Life in a Peanut Shell chose Espresso Cheesecake Brownies, pages 104 and 105 of Baking: From My Home to Yours. A dense brownie layer, covered with espresso cheesecake and the whole thing topped with a sour cream frosting. This sounded amazing, but it definitely ended up with mixed reviews.
I tweaked the recipe in two ways; one was successful and the other was not. First, I added walnuts to the brownie layer, a must at my house. I know there are nut haters out there, but they do not reside at Chez Chow. That adaptation was a success. Next, I used semisweet chocolate instead of bittersweet for the brownies, and that did NOT work – just too sweet with the cheesecake layer, even though I cut back on the sugar to account for the adaptation. And I didn’t much care for the sour cream topping.
All that being said, I think I would make this recipe again for company, with bittersweet chocolate, as written, but still keep the walnuts. It would make for a very elegant little dessert with some espresso coffee.
And if you’re wondering what the Classic Banana Bundt Cake, chosen by the Food Librarian (you can find the original recipe there) a few weeks ago, is doing here, I finally had a chance to make it between all my flying about. I mean, considering the rave reviews it received, how could I NOT make it? Plus the fact that I am a bundt cake/pan fanatic who looks for every opportunity to make one. Following Caitlin’s lead, I substituted rice bran oil for the TWO STICKS OF BUTTER in the original recipe. And I nixed the icing because I thought it wouldn’t be needed. The result? . . . .
DING! DING! DING! We have another Dorie winner! My husband LOVED this cake. In his words, “this is what banana bread is supposed to taste like, but never does.” Really, what better compliment is there? My adaptations to the Classic Banana Bundt Cake recipe after the jump. And be sure to check out the TWD blogroll to see what results other bakers achieved with the brownies.
Banana Bundt Cake
Adapted from a recipe by Dorie Greenspan in Baking: From My Home to Yours
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
8 ounces clear vegetable oil (I used rice bran oil)
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 large eggs, preferably at room temperature
About 4 very ripe bananas, mashed (you should have 1 1/2 – 1 3/4 cups)
1 cup low fat sour cream
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F. Generously butter and flour a 9- to 10-inch (12 cup) Bundt pan. (If you use a silicone Bundt pan there’s no need to butter it.) Do not place the pan on a baking sheet – you want the oven’s heat to circulate through the Bundt’s inner tube.
Whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.
Working with a stand mixer, preferably fitted with a paddle attachment, or with a hand mixer in a large bowl, beat the oil and the sugar together until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, then add the eggs one at a time, beating for about 1 minute after each egg goes in. Reduce the mixer speed to low and mix in the bananas. Finally, mix in half the dry ingredients (don’t worry when the batter curdles), all the sour cream and then the rest of the flour mixture. Scrape the batter into the pan, rap the pan on the counter to debubble the batter and smooth the top.
Bake for 65 to 75 minutes, or until a thin knife inserted deep into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check the cake after about 30 minutes – if it is browning too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a rack and cool for 10 minutes before unmolding onto the rack to cool to room temperature.
If you’ve got the time, wrap the cooled cake in plastic and allow it to sit on the counter overnight before serving – it’s better the next day.