Thursday, October 10, 2013

Maple Bourbon Banana Pudding Cake

When Mrs. Hackknife made plans to have some of her staff from the office over to the Canteen one recent Saturday night, I was eager to try out a new dessert recipe that I'd come across in the October 2013 issue of Food & Wine. The recipe (maple bourbon banana pudding cake) met many of the criteria that I generally look for when picking a crowd-pleasing dessert: 1) it doesn't contain too egregious of an amount of butter (6 Tbsp. in this case), 2) it's relatively easy to make, 3) it has both a decadent description and appearance, 4) it can be served warm, and, for adult-only events, 5) it has a little bit of alcohol. The sole iffy part of the recipe (other than having to manually ripen the banana in a warm oven, turning it jet black) is addressing the need for "superfine" or baker's sugar, which is needed in recipes that require sugar to dissolve more easily (such as angel food cake). Upon investigation, I discovered that the superfine variety is not the same as confectioner's (powdered) sugar, nor can it be replaced by regular granulated sugar (this would make the dessert too grainy). Domino does produce a commercial version of superfine sugar, but it's expensive and, more important, generally difficult to find, so I followed the advice of another food blogger and simply ground down regular sugar in my food processor for a minute or two to further break up the grains (this seemed to do the trick as far as I could tell).

All other aspects of the process went pretty smoothly, and after 40 minutes of cooking, out popped what you see above, a golden, pecan-laden cake topping a slurry of bourbon, maple syrup, and banana underneath. When served either alone or with a dollop of vanilla ice cream, I can report that this dessert is a crowd-pleaser and the leftovers reheat well for the next few days...

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