JoyBoy made all my Christmas dreams come true in a gift sense this year.  When my sisters and I spent part of November in Maui, our ziplining escapades were earmarked as my Christmas gift for this year.  In my mind, that helped justify the expense.  However, in a combined annoying/delighting move, JoyBoy countermanded my strict injunctions to meander no farther into the Land of Gifts.  As is his way, he promptly ignored me and came home a few days before Christmas, heavily laden with something I've coveted for years and years. 

For very close to a decade, I've wanted a Kitchen Aid mixer, but could never justify getting one for myself.  There were many more pressing financial priorities obscuring my view of the Land of Unlimited Kitchen Glory.  Things like braces for cute kids with gnarled teeth.  Disability insurance:  the most decidedly unsexy financial priority I've yet paid hand over fist for.  This type of thing.   So when that guy walked in, lugging in the monstrously heavy and tangible fulfillment of all my kitchen fantasies, I very nearly swooned.  And then I made this.  I highly recommend that you do, too.  It's even better the second day, chilly and freshly liberated from it's refrigerated confines.

Old Fashioned Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Recipe courtesy of Barefoot Contessa’s How Easy Is That

3 very ripe bananas, mashed (I used four)
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Grated zest of 1 orange
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts
Cream cheese frosting (recipe follows)
Walnut halves, for decorating

PREHEAT oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour a 9 x 2-inch round cake pan.

MIX bananas, granulated sugar and brown sugar in bowl with an electric mixer on low speed until combined. Add oil, eggs, sour cream. vanilla and orange zest. Mix until smooth.

STIR together flour, baking soda and salt in a separate bowl. With mixer on low, add dry ingredients and mix just until combined. Stir in chopped walnuts. Pour batter into the prepared pan and bake for 45 to 50 minutes, until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool in pan for 15 minutes, turn out onto cooling rack and cool completely.

SPREAD frosting thickly on top of cake and decorate with walnut halves. Slice and serve.

Makes 8 servings.

Cream Cheese Frosting

6 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar (1/2 pound)

MIX cream cheese, butter and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment on low speed until just combined. Don’t whip. Add sugar and mix until smooth.


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