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Published: Tuesday, 3/6/2012

Chocolate Banana Coffeecake for the ones you love


Among the many great traits of my sister Suzanne is the fact that she’s a chocoholic and manages to stay so slim that if I didn’t love her, I’d hate her.

When we’re out together shopping, there’s never a bakery or ice cream or coffee shop that we don’t step foot in for a little treat.

When Suzanne decided to make a spur-of-the-moment visit so we could spend our birthday together (same day, three years apart) I gave the house a quick cleaning, then went looking for the perfect chocolate cake recipe to celebrate.

I didn’t have the time or patience to bake in layers and certainly didn’t have the wherewithal to make frosting, but I wanted something that would look great on the cut glass cake stand so that she would notice right off and want to grab a fork.

Sure enough, as if on cue, Suzanne walked into the house, put down her things, spied the cake and dug right in.

After dinner, she enjoyed another slice of cake, and the next morning when I went in to wake her for our big day of adventures, she was propped up in bed, reading a book and enjoying yet another slice along with her morning cup of coffee.

Later, we stopped in a boutique where she tried on a very cool form-fitting black dress, which she looked amazing in and decided to purchase. When we got home, I think she sneaked another slice of cake when I wasn’t looking.

As I said, if I didn’t love her so much, I’d hate her.

Chocolate Banana Coffeecake

1 1/4 cups cake flour (not self-rising)

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (not Dutch-process. I used Hershey’s Dark Cocoa Powder)

1 teaspoon baking soda

3/4 teaspoon salt

4 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/2 cup sour cream

1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter, softened

1 cup granulated sugar

1/2 cup firmly packed light brown sugar

2 extra-large eggs

1 tablespoon instant espresso powder dissolved in 1 tablespoon hot water

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Garnish: confectioners’ sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease and flour a 10-inch (3-quart) Bundt pan, knocking out excess flour.

Into a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. In a small bowl, stir together bananas and sour cream. In another large bowl with an electric mixer, beat together butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in espresso and vanilla. Beat in flour mixture in batches alternately with banana mixture, beginning and ending with flour mixture, until batter is just combined.

Spoon batter into pan and bake in middle of oven 50 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean and cake pulls away from side of pan. Cool cake in pan 10 minutes, and invert onto a rack to cool completely. Let cake stand, wrapped tightly, at room temperature overnight.

Dust cake with confectioners’ sugar.

Yield: Serves 16 (or 1 chocoholic sister)

Source: Adapted from Bon Appetit

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