Every year my sister and I buy shirts for our father’s birthday. Every year he asks us “Why do you waste money on this?” It is his way of saying “Aawww”.
Every year we make a big deal of surprising him. We steal out of the house and when he asks us where we’re going, we explain in elaborate detail where we’re going to buy what for whom while usually we’d say “out” or “shopping”. He knows we’re going to buy him shirts. He has even noticed that we have taken one of his shirts for size reference. He doesn’t show. He plays along. Once we’re back he asks much like Hasini “I know you have bought me shirts. I know.” We act like he is crazy. It is a surprise. Next day we give him the shirts. He says he had known all along. He wears it and finds it is too tight or too large. We go back to the store with him and exchange. This is the birthday ritual.
Another recent addition to the ritual is the cake I bake for him. I bake him a birthday cake, usually a simple, hearty old-school cake without frosting, glaze etc. He refuses to be photographed cutting the cake, scolds us for singing “Happy birthday” and generally fusses around.
This year I made banana foster cake. The recipe is from foodnetwork. It is simple, easy and a treat for banana lovers. I love that you brush the cake with rum when it is still warm. It adds a lovely depth of flavour. The caramel and sliced bananas that you line the bottom of the pan with becomes the top once baked and inverted – a lovely molten, crimson top. The cake itself is soft with a beautiful crumb. This is a beautiful cake to bake as a dessert for a party. I wouldn’t make this much ahead of time though as the caramel-banana top tends to discolour a bit when chilled. It still tastes yummy. It just doesn’t look as glamorous.
Banana Foster Cake
A simple old-school cake with a dramatic crimson caramel-banana top. Perfect for a birthday or party!
- For the Cake
- Bananas – 4 sliced on a slight bias
- All purpose flour – 1-3/4 cup
- Baking soda – 1 tsp
- Salt – ½ tsp
- Eggs – 2
- Milk – ¾ cup
- Yogurt – ¼ cup
- Butter – 8 tbsp
- Granulated white Sugar – 1 cup
- Vanilla essence – 1 tsp
- Rum – 25 ml for brushing cake
- For the Caramel syup
- Sugar – 2/3 cup
- Water – 1/3 cup
- Butter – 1 tbsp
- Butter the sides of a 9 inch round cake pan. Set aside. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade.
- Prepare the caramel. Combine sugar and water in a small saucepan and heat. Wait for the sugar to dissolve and for the solution to turn amber in colour. Do not stir. You may swirl the pan if necessary.
- Stir in the tablespoon of butter into the caramel. Pour the caramel into the prepared cake pan. The pan will be hot. You could swirl the pan so that the caramel covers the bottom of the pan.
- Arrange the banana slices over the caramel layer in tight concentric circles to cover the entire base of the pan. Set aside.
- Beat butter and sugar for about 4 minutes till light and fluffy. Add eggs one by one beating after each addition. Add vanilla essence and beat.
- Combine yogurt and milk and set aside.
- Sift flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
- Add flour mixture and yogurt mixture alternately beating just enough to incorporated all the dry ingredients.
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan over the banana layer. Level the batter and bake in the middle rack of the oven for 50-60 minutes or till the top is golden and springs back when touched.
- Remove cake from oven and let cool. Use a thin knife to loosen the edges of the cake from the pan. Brush the cake with rum. Let cake cool completely. Don’t invert the pan until the cake is completely cool as the cake tends to break.
- Invert a large plate (serving platter) over the top of the pan and invert the entire setup so that the pan now lies inverted over the plate. Gently lift the pan, tapping lightly to release the cake.
Adapted from Foodnetwork