I'm the oldest of seven kids (and I still am). On any kid’s birthday, my mother had a rule that the birthday kid could choose anything he or she wanted for the main meal. I often asked for a casserole with rice, wild rice, sour cream, chicken, and mushrooms, plus a little bit of wine for flavor). The birthday kid could also request any flavor of birthday cake, with any kind of frosting. On my birthday, I was the boss. I chose the dinner meal and the cake. It made me happy because on one special day, I could tell my mom what I wanted for dinner.
My grandmother on my father’s side used to make a delicious banana cake (from scratch) with chocolate frosting (also from scratch). So my mom got the recipe from her mother-in-law. I’ll give you the recipe down below, if you want to try it.
Here's another story.
I started dating a woman named Katie in May 2011. Our first date was on Syttende Mai. When my birthday rolled around several months later (October 18th -- which means I share my birthday with Lee Harvey Oswald (assassin) and Jesse Helms (detestable Republican asshole))… when my birthday rolled around, she asked what kind of cake I wanted for my birthday.
I told Katie I’d love to have a banana cake with chocolate frosting, like my mom and grandma used to make. But the recipe was probably lost when my mother died. So I told Katie she could make whatever kind of cake she wanted to. I’d be happy with anything.
But Katie -- bless her heart -- sent an email to my sister and my sister had the recipe. And Katie baked it. The cake (and frosting) were exactly right. So now I’m going to share the recipe on Daily Kos. Here’s my favorite birthday cake (from my grandmother Nanny, passed on to my mother, then to my sister, then to my girlfriend, then to you):
My Grandmother Nanny's Banana CakeEat and enjoy.
Preheat the oven to 350
1/2 cup shortening (softened butter can be substituted)
1 cup sugar
1 tsp real vanilla
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
2 cups flour
1 tsp salt
1 cup mashed bananas (very ripe, skin mostly black)
1/2 cup sour milk (or buttermilk)
Mix together the shortening/butter, sugar, eggs, and vanilla in one bowl.
Sift/combine the dry stuff -- flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder -- in another bowl.
Mash 3 ripe bananas with a fork to make about a cup of banana mush.
To make the sour milk, either add 1/2 tablespoon of vinegar to 1/2 cup of whole milk or you can use 1/2 cup of buttermilk.
To the wet stuff (shortening, egg, sugar, vanilla) add 1/3 of the dry flour stuff then 1/3 of the banana stuff, then 1/3 of the sour milk. Repeat 1/3 at a time until it's all mixed together. Use your best judgment.
Grease a 9x13 baking pan (and sprinkle with flour). Pour in the mixture and bake at 350 until done. At least 30-40 minutes, or maybe longer. Test it to see if it's done. If you bake cakes, you know there’s a way to use a toothpick to test it. 30 minutes at 350 is the minimum.
2 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup cream (or whole milk)
1/4 cup melted butter
2 squares melted baking chocolate
Mix powdered sugar and cream thoroughly.
Pour in hot melted butter. Mix thoroughly.
Mix in melted chocolate. (If you haven‘t guessed by now, do it thoroughly).
Spread the frosting on top of the banana cake. Let it cool.
In case you’re wondering, Katie and I are still together after two years. She’s a treasure I don‘t want to ever lose. She’s very smart about everything, plus she‘s smart about finding recipes from my childhood. I love her a lot.