Sunday, January 11, 2009

Mini Banana Bundt Cakes with Sticky Maple Walnut Glaze

mini bundt

This was going to be a post about how to use up your ripe bananas. But it turned out to be a treatise in post-Kenysian economics. Much more interesting.

Food prices are high. I paid 99 cents for a dozen of eggs last year; the same eggs are $2.29 today. A 5-pound bag of flour that used to be $2 is now closer to $5. And good luck finding a carton of orange juice or a loaf of good, crusty Italian bread for under $5.

Having lived with these price increases for the last year or so, I'm no longer shocked at the price of most things at the market. Until last week. There it was, right at eye level. I squinted. I checked to see if it was for 1 or perhaps they meant for a whole case of it.

Maple syrup: $17.99.

"You gotta be kidding me," I muttered not very softly to myself, "Are they nuts? I mean, this is Trader Joe's. Who's gonna break a 20 for maple syrup at Trader Joe's?"

Thinking I would outsmart the forces of economics, I went to Costco. They had imitation maple syrup (in large quantities) for $14. Imitation maple syrup? Uh, don't think so. I mean, I'm Susan of Food Blogga. No imitation-maple-syrup for my readers. I gotta have the real thing.

I went to a local market that I sometimes hit for that hard-to-get items. I ended up paying $14 for a 12.5 oz. bottle, but Ha!, I gave my money to the little guy. Strutting off happy with my antidisestabolishmentarianism self, and having spent more money on gas and maple syrup than I ever wanted to, I was ready to bake.

ripe bananas 2

It was all worth it after one bite of these Mini Banana Bundt Cakes with Sticky Maple Walnut Glaze. (See I told you, this was supposed to be about bananas.) Moist, aromatic mini banana cakes become irresistible when drizzled with a sweet and gooey maple walnut glaze.

Oh, and don't expect things to get better this year; food prices are projected to rise 7% in 2009.

Mini Banana Bundt Cakes with Sticky Maple Walnut Glaze
Makes 24 mini bundt cakes
Print recipe only here.

Cake Batter:
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 1/2 sticks (12 Tbsp) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup light brown sugar
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup whole milk
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
4 very ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 cups)
1/2 cup raisins
1 cup coarsely chopped lightly toasted walnuts

Maple Walnut Glaze:
1 stick butter (1/2 cup)
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
2 tablespoons heavy cream
pinch of salt
6 tablespoons confectioners' sugar
3 tablespoons finely chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Position oven racks in the upper and lower thirds of the oven. Coat two (12-mini bundt cake) pans with cooking spray.

In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, salt, nutmeg, and cinnamon together.

In a large bowl, beat the butter until creamy. Add the sugars and beat at medium speed for a couple of minutes. Add eggs and beat well. Add the vanilla, milk, and maple syrup; beat until batter is silky. Lower the speed; add the bananas and beat briefly.

Add the dry ingredients to the liquid ingredients, and mix until just incorporated. Using a rubber spatula, gently stir in the raisins and walnuts. Divide the batter evenly among the 24 molds.

Bake for 25-30 minutes rotating pans mid-way through. Cakes should be deep golden brown, and a toothpick or cake tester inserted in the middle should come out clean. Transfer the cakes to a rack for 3-5 minutes. Then flips the pans upside down and place cakes on a cooling rack. Cool completely before glazing.

For the glaze, in a small pan over medium-low heat, melt butter and maple syrup; add heavy cream and a pinch of salt. Pour into a small metal bowl. Add confectioners' sugar, and whisk vigorously until smooth. If necessary, pour glaze through a fine mesh sieve to remove any tiny clumps of sugar. Let glaze rest for 3-5 minutes, or until slightly thickened. For easy clean-up, place a piece of parchment paper underneath the cooling rack. Drizzle glaze evenly over cakes, and sprinkle with chopped walnuts. Cool completely before serving.

Coming soon to a Food Blogga near you:
Since I always have lots of ripe bananas to use up, I'm going to turn this into a 4-part series. Each week for the next four weeks, I'll post a recipe for using up ripe bananas. And let's just say cookies, muffins and breads are involved.

You might also like:

Chocolate Chip, Cherry, and Pistachio Cookies

Pumpkin Pie Pudding with Candied Pecans and Freshly Whipped Cream

Pear and Cardamom Cake