Mom’s Birthday – 2 Cakes!

Yesterday was my mom’s birthday.  Her fiance, his mom, Zack and I took her out to dinner to celebrate.  I, of course, decided to make her a cake.

I had been so excited about making this cake and just knew it was going to turn out great, because it combined two of her very favorite flavors – peanut butter and banana.

I baked the cake part in the morning and it turned out great.  Then, I caramelized some bananas and put them in the middle of the cake as a filling. I made the peanut butter frosting… and that is when disaster struck.  The first batch I made, I added way too much milk.  It started running off of the cake.  I panicked a little, but scraped that off as best as I could and then made a new, much thicker batch.  It did not go on great, but it looked okay, so I stuck it in the fridge to crust up a little, so that I could smooth out the icing.

Well, when I tried to smooth it out, the icing started rippling.  It was the ugliest cake I had ever made… I knew that there was no way that I was taking that cake to a public restaurant, especially for someone’s birthday as important as my mom.

I looked at the clock and realized we had to leave for the dinner in less than an hour.  I knew I didn’t have time to make another full two-layer cake.  Luckily, I had a recipe for a sweet potato crumb cake that I had been wanting to try that didn’t take that long.  I decided to make that for her (she loves sweet potatoes, too).  It came out of the oven just in time. I slipped it into a casserole carrier straight from the oven and off we went to the restaurant.

Mom, and everyone else at the dinner, really liked the cake.  I was really upset about the first cake, but at least I was still able to make mom a cake.

Happy Birthday to the best mom ever!

I am going to include the recipe for the peanut butter/banana cake because it was my own fault that it didn’t work out.  I added too much (and then too little) milk to the icing!

Here’s a shot of the caramelized bananas.

See?  It is SO embarrassing.  I’ve never made such a bad cake.  Compare this to Mermaid Birthday Cake or Beer Cake or even Fall cake.  I didn’t even want to put a picture of it on here, but I know everyone will be supportive.

Peanut Butter Banana Passion Cake

Yield: 12 servings

Cake:

– 4 T butter, softened

– 1/4 c creamy peanut butter

– 1 1/2 c packed brown sugar

– 2 eggs

– 1/2 c warm water

– 1 c buttermilk

– 1/4 t vanilla extract

– 2 c AP flour

– 1 t salt

– 1 t baking soda

Caramelized bananas:

– 3 or 4 medium bananas, cut into coin shapes

– 1/4 c granulated sugar

Frosting:

Yield: 2 1/2 c

– 1/3 c creamy peanut butter

– 2 c confectioners’ sugar

– 1 t vanilla extract

– 2 t honey

– 4-5 T milk

Make the cake:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Lightly grease and flour 2 (9-inch) round cake pans and set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter, peanut butter, and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Combine the water, buttermilk, and vanilla.  In a separate bowl, combine the flour, salt, and baking soda.  Alternately add the buttermilk mixture and flour mixture to the peanut butter mixture, beginning and ending with the buttermilk.  Mix well 1 minute.

Pour the batter evenly into the prepared pans, then remove, and cool completely on wire racks.

Make the caramelized bananas:

Heat a well greased skillet over medium heat.

Put the sugar into a bowl or onto a plate and thoroughly cover the banana coins with it.  Place into skillet and cook until caramelization occurs, about 5 minutes.  Then flip and cook until the other side is done, about 1 minute.  Place on the bottom tier of your leveled cake. Maybe even have a bowl-like cut into the cake.

Make the frosting:

Combine the peanut butter, sugar, extract, and honey in the bowl of an electric mixer on low speed.  When well combined, add just enough milk to make an acceptable spreading consistency.  For me, 5 T was too much and 3 T was too little!

Here’s the yummy cake that I was really pleased with.  Not the typical birthday cake, but it still made Mom happy.

Sweet Potato Crumb Cake

Cake:

– 1/2 c butter

– 1 c brown sugar

– 3/4 c sweet potato, boiled and mashed

– 2 eggs

– 1 t vanilla

– 2 t cinnamon

– 1/4 t ginger

– 1/4 t nutmeg

– 2 t baking powder

– 1/2 t salt

– 1 1/2 c flour

– 1/2 c oatmeal

– 1 c mini marshmallows

Topping:

– 1/2 c oatmeal

– 1/4 c brown sugar

– 1 t cinnamon

– 2 T melted butter

– 1 T flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Combine all topping ingredients, mix well and set aside.

Over low heat, melt butter in a small skillet until browned, about 5-7 minutes.  Let cool for 2 minutes and pour into a medium bowl.  Add brown sugar, mashed sweet potato, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger, and nutmeg, stir well until incorporated.  Beat eggs in, separately, making sure to mix well after each addition.

Mix flour, baking powder, and salt, adding the 1/2 c oatmeal after the dry ingredients are mixed.  Slowly add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients, mixing well.

In a greased 9×13 baking pan, evenly spread 1/2 the batter over the bottom.  Smear marshmallows over the batter and spread the other 1/2 of the batter over the marshmallows.  Sprinkle the oatmeal crumble topping and bake for about 25 minutes.  Let cool before serving.

Hearty Sweet Potato Braids

I love sweet potatoes and I love bread, so I knew this recipe was going to be a big hit.

I was right 🙂

This bread was sweet, but not overly so and had such a flaky, wonderful texture.  I usually try to limit my bread consumption for nutritional reasons, but I ate a huge hunk of this one.  It was so yummy and moist, too!

I gave my dad this loaf, because he really likes sweet potatoes, too.  Zack does not like them!  Isn’t that crazy?  They are so, so good.

Hearty Sweet Potato Braids

Yield: 2 loaves

– 1 package (1/4 oz) active dry yeast

– 1/4 c warm water (110-115 degrees)

– 1 1/2 cups mashed sweet potatoes, room temperature

– 1 cup warm milk (110-115 degrees)

-1/4 cup canola oil

– 3 tablespoons honey

– 1 cup all purpose flour

– 1/2 cup yellow cornmeal

– 2 tsp salt

– 1 tsp dried thyme

– 2 3/4 – 3 1/4 cups whole wheat flour

– 1 tsp cold milk

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water.  Add the sweet potatoes, milk, oil, honey, AP flour, cornmeal, salt, thyme, and 2 cups whole wheat flour.  Beat until smooth.  Stir in enough remaining whole wheat flour to form a firm dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured surface.  Knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes.  Place in a bowl coated with cooking spray, turn once to coat top.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; divide into 6 equal portions.  Shape each into a 20-inch rope.  Place 3 ropes on a baking sheet coated with cooking spray and braid.  Pinch ends to seal and tuck under.  Repeat with remaining ropes.  Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 35 minutes.

Brush loaves with cold milk.  Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown.  Remove to wire racks.

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet potatoes are so, so good.  When Zack and I lived in an apartment, I would buy sweet potato fries from the freezer section (GASP! I know!). The thought of doing that now is embarrassing.  Making your own makes them a thousand times better.

Don’t judge these entirely from the pictures, though.  Try them for yourselves.  The dark parts are not burned, they are just cooked thoroughly.  The dark parts make them crispy and delicious.

Cooking at such a high temperature (450 degrees) means you really have to watch them, so that they don’t burn, but believe me, it is worth the diligence.

Sweet potatoes complement the fall season so well.  Just another reason to eat some!

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

– 2 medium sweet potatoes

– 2 teaspoons olive oil

– 1/4 teaspoon salt

– 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.  Peel potatoes and cut into matchsticks about 1/4″ to 3/8″ wide.  Place potatoes in a large bowl.  Add oil, salt, and pepper and toss until coated.

Spread potatoes on baking sheet in a single layer and bake for about 10 minutes.  Rotate baking sheet and gently turn over potatoes.  Continue baking about 1o minutes or until crisp.  Watch potatoes and turn frequently to prevent burning/sticking to pan (a little black on them does not make them taste burned – just gives them more flavor).  Serve immediately.