Thursday, December 13, 2012

banana cake + oreo swiss meringue buttercream

i've noticed that i like documenting, i like looking back.

at the end of each day, i try to write one little thing.
it's one part nice and reminiscent, one part just compulsive.

it comforts me though, the thought of saving these days from eventually becoming a blur.
they're individuals, these days.
each with their small things, their feelings and moments.

i have a google doc special for this chronicle, titled daily daze. i write one little blurb, no more than one line.

this is how it's been looking this holiday-looming season.

november 20 - went to the grocery store in my boxers with joe to to buy wine and gum.
november 21 - staples pen spree.
november 22 - thanksgiving. margaritas and unbuttoned pantalons and drunk moms.
november 23 - case of the sads. tons of leftovers to distract the brain.
november 24 -  if only there was a competition for speed biscuit is definitely work.

november 25 - got sick rapidly. migraine all day. hated life.
november 26 - sleep, watching louie, eating english muffins. i crave english muffins when i'm sick.
november 27 - my cough is gross. i'm gross. grilled cheese please.

november 28 - survived the day with my buddies Advil, Afrin, and Sudafed. thanks cvs.
november 29 - why did i give the tip that i really didn't want to give? the guy was a rude douche.
november 30 - it's friday, it felt like it was saturday. it kept being a bummer.
december 1 - today felt like it was yesterday.
december 2 -  neighborly love. sunday night dinner. i like this part of the week.
december 3 - talking out loud about yourself feels strange sometimes. citrus and ice creams.
december 4 - stop spending so much money on iced coffee drinks, dammit.
december 5 -  new egg nog soft serve, i made gingersnaps and bourbon caramel to go with it.
december 6 - um...i watched top chef
december 7 - 14 hour day. spent the late night preparing seattle attire and amenities.

oh yes! seattle!
i took an extended weekend trip up to seattle. i had never been and it's always been somewhere i've longed to be. i had a feeling i was going to fall in love with it.

i totally did.

but before i get to that, oreo swiss meringue buttercream. on banana cake.

swiss meringue buttercream is awesome.
first you make glossy meringue, then you beat butter into it. then you can make it taste like anything you want it to by adding flavors.

oreos. today, i want my frosting to taste like oreos.

but it can't be too sweet.
sickeningly sweet frosting can go suck it.

i thought, hm..the less sweet nature of swiss meringue buttercream will be a perfect fit with bashed up oreo.

then i needed to decide what kind of cake this frosting will sit atop. i was considering coffee and almond, i heavily contemplated peanut butter, but in the end, something in my brain just kept pointing me back to banana.

i know i may not be right about what day it is or choose the proper grocery store attire.
i'm not always right about who started the argument or if i should bring a sweater or not.
i wouldn't be right if i was asked to explain how the internet actually works.

i probably won't be right about what will make the perfect present for my dad.
and i definitely don't always know what's going on in the world, or on twitter, or have any clue what i'm gonna do with my life...but when it comes to dessert, i feel sure, like i know i'll be right about something.

banana cake with oreo sm buttercream was the bees knees.
it feels good to be right.

(right, yes, i have a thing for banana and cake. had you noticed?)

Oreo Swiss Meringue Buttercream

5 large egg whites
1 cup sugar
pinch of salt
1 lb (2 cups) unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 - 1 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 vanilla bean (optional)
10 oreos, smashed to crumbs and small pieces

combine the egg whites, sugar, and salt in a heatproof bowl set over a pot of simmering water. heat, whisking constantly, until the mixture reaches 160 degreesF. (if you don't have a candy thermometer, just rub a small bit of the mixture between your fingertips and make sure it's not grainy and the sugar has completely dissolved)
transfer the mixture to the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment. beat on medium high speed until the mixture is thick and glossy, stiff peaks form, and the mixture has cooled to room temperature, about 8 minutes. 
reduce speed to medium, and add the butter a little at a time, adding more once each addition has been incorporated. stir in the vanilla extract and bean, if using. then fold in the oreo crumbs until they're evenly incorporated into the frosting. 

Banana Cake
from Momofuku Milk Bar, used in this cake

6 tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup (110g) buttermilk
2 tbsp (20g) grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp banana extract
2 (225g) very ripe bananas
1 1/3 cups (225g) flour
3/4 tsp (3g) baking powder
1/2 tsp (3g) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2g) kosher salt

heat oven to 325. combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium high for 2-3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and mix on medium high again for 2-3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more. 
stream in the buttermilk, oil, and banana extract while the paddle swirls on low speed. increase the mixer speed to medium high and paddle for 5-6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, and twice the size of your original fluffy butter-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. 
on low speed, add the bananas and mix for 45-60 seconds til the bananas are broken apart. still on low, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix for 45-60 seconds, just until the batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
spray a quarter sheet pan (10x13 inches) with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. give the bottom of the sheet pan a tap on the counter to even out the layer. bake for 25-30 minutes. the cake will rise and puff, doubling in size. at 25 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger; the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. leave the cake in the oven for a few extra minutes if it doesn't pass these tests. 
take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack. the cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 5 days. 


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