There’s something that happens to a kid when they grow up in a house where there are always wonderful smells wafting from the kitchen. It changes you. It gives you unimaginable wealth of happiness that comes with not only eating, but enjoying, good food with a loving family.
I was one of these lucky children. My mom Penny is undoubtedly responsible for my love of cooking and baking—and for my kitchen confidence. She was always up to something. Not only did she make every meal and greet my brother, Bernardo, and me with snacks every afternoon after school, she baked cakes, cookies, pies, really everything.
People tell me all the time that they cook, but they don’t really bake. And, that baking actually scares them—gluten-free or not. I never understood this since the effect baking has on me is so warming and giving that I can’t imagine how anyone would consciously shy away from it.
As the rush of December sets into our daily lives, the only thing I consciously want to do is bake so I can feel that warmth that only baking (and cuddling with my kids) gives me. Before I develop new cookies for the holiday season, I just had to bake this banana cake. It’s my comfort food. I hope you’ll take refuge in it, too. I adapted the recipe from my mom, of course. It’s just a bit fancier with its upside-down, fosters-like caramelized banana top.
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, buttery sticks or shortening, in 1 piece
1 large egg plus 1 large egg white
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup Silvana's Kitchen Gluten-Free All-Purpose Flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup canola oil or melted coconut oil (unflavored or virgin)
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 325°. Grease a 5-by-9-inch loaf pan. Trim both ends off each of 3 bananas so the bananas will fit crosswise in the pan. Peel the ends and the long pieces and halve the long ones lengthwise; transfer to a plate.
In a large, heavy skillet, bring ¼ cup sugar and 2 tablespoons water to a boil, without stirring. Cook until the water evaporates and the mixture just starts turning amber. Remove from the heat and swirl in the butter with a fork. Add the banana pieces cut side down and cook over low heat for 1 minute; then transfer the banana pieces to the prepared loaf pan, arranging them crosswise, cut side down. Drizzle the remaining caramel on top.
Transfer 1 cup of the banana ends (add more banana if necessary to equal 1 cup) to a medium bowl; mash with the remaining ½ cup sugar. Beat in the egg, egg white and vanilla.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour with the baking powder, cinnamon and salt. Add the banana mixture and oil and whisk until blended. Scrape the batter over the bananas in the pan and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out dry, 50 to 55 minutes. Let cool on a rack for 10 minutes and then invert onto a serving platter and let cool completely.