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Brandon Sun - PRINT EDITION

Mmm chocolate

AMY BONCHUK Enlarge Image

This week is the first official full week of November and with the extra hour of sleep we are getting, I think that it’s the perfect time to start planning, decorating, and preparing for the upcoming holidays.

It has been raining on and off all week and even the rain can’t melt the thick layer of snow that blankets our yard. So I am taking that as the most obvious sign that winter is definitely here to stay.

So what better way to curb the early onset of winter than with a huge dose of moist chocolate cake? It offers clinical relief of the blues and its texture is so much more than just cake — it’s the physical representation of lusciousness.

I love this recipe because it includes a lot of those down-home ingredients that add to the final flavour in ways that my other recipes never could. Buttermilk and bananas not only add moisture to the cake, they add character and depth to the flavour profile.

My school recipe book has cakes that include ingredients like hi-ratio shortening — not a sexy ingredient. For me, its virtues are far overshadowed by a shelf-life longer than margarine. I use common sense on this one: I would only use high-ratio shortening to grease wheel-bearings, because there is no way it can be good for your health.

This recipe is not only healthier than my others, it’s delicious and versatile. Some options I have considered for this cake is cut it into layers and fill the layers with caramel, or peanut butter, or berry preserves. It’s open to your imagination and covering it can be just as exciting as filling it.

It would be great in 9x13 pan topped with marshmallows and baked. The original recipe bakes it in a bundt pan, but I thought I would try something more visual interesting for the photograph. I baked it in two round pans and one 9x9. No matter what pan you choose to bake the cake in, just ensure it is baked through, keeping a close eye on the oven.

I haven’t constructed a layered cake since my school days, so I wanted a challenge — and what better way to get ready for Christmas?

Typically I would coat my chocolate cake in more chocolate, but in the theme of winter wonderland, I figured it needed a good frosting. So to finish my cake for the photograph, I filled it with orange cream cheese and frosted it with a triple sec whipped cream — a fantastic tower of chocolate drifted with delicate white cream.

I used a few tricks to improve the texture of this moist-style of cake. I pureed the bananas until they were extra creamy and more fluid. Just mashing the bananas doesn’t eliminate the stringiness that makes for a coarser cake texture.

I also double-sifted all the dry ingredients. This eliminates any lumps and adds air, which enhances the mixability of it once you combine it with the liquid. Also, when you are mixing your eggs in, ensure you do it one at a time and scrape the bowl before additions.

And never over-mix your batter. Once it is just combined, stop mixing, or this will develop the gluten in the flour and result in a tough cake.

No matter how you decide to bake this cake or frost it, it is a very forgiving and versatile recipe that should please the whole family. It is also the best cure for the dealing with the daylight-savings blues as we shift into the season of snow. @15.6.2 sat tab turn cont:CHOCOLATE BANANA BUTTERMILK CAKE

2 cups ripe bananas, pureed (about 3 large)

2 tsp lemon juice

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted

1/2 cup cocoa, sifted

1 1/2 tsp baking soda, sifted

1/4 tsp salt, sifted

1/2 cup canola oil

2 cups lightly packed brown sugar

3 eggs

1 Tbsp vanilla

1 1/2 cups buttermilk

1 cup Chocolate chips, optional

Preheat oven to 375 F. Grease and flour a bundt cake pan, or whatever pans you choose to use. In a med bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt. Sift again and set aside.

In a mixing bowl, beat oil and brown sugar until well mixed. Beat in eggs, one at a time, and add vanilla. Scrape bowl after each addition. Blend in half the flour mixture and half the buttermilk, then mix in remaining flour and buttermilk. Fold in bananas and the chocolate chips (if desired). Do not overmix. Spread into prepared pan.

Bake until a skewer inserted into the thickest part of the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Time for the bundt pan is about 55 minutes. My smaller pans baked in 18 minutes.

Set pan on a cooling rack and let rest for 15 minutes before turning out onto a cake plate.

Republished from the Brandon Sun print edition November 10, 2012

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This week is the first official full week of November and with the extra hour of sleep we are getting, I think that it’s the perfect time to start planning, decorating, and preparing for the upcoming holidays.

It has been raining on and off all week and even the rain can’t melt the thick layer of snow that blankets our yard. So I am taking that as the most obvious sign that winter is definitely here to stay.

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This week is the first official full week of November and with the extra hour of sleep we are getting, I think that it’s the perfect time to start planning, decorating, and preparing for the upcoming holidays.

It has been raining on and off all week and even the rain can’t melt the thick layer of snow that blankets our yard. So I am taking that as the most obvious sign that winter is definitely here to stay.

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