Sugar, Honey, Honey

23 Apr

Hello sweet talkers. Welcome to the party.

Welcome to the second ‘cake walk’ posting. I’d like to address the flood of recommendations I have received from you fellow bowl-lickers.

For this post, I want to focus on some great combinations: both classic and strange-but-tasty.

Could there ever be a better pair than peanut butter and jelly?  If you love your PB&J like an eight year old at recess, head over to Bite on Pico in Santa Monica and try their peanut butter and jelly cupcakes, but go early, they are still only open until 3pm on weekends (noon weekdays) as I eagerly await the roll out of their dinner menu. Bite even makes a homemade version of Nutella, and by the way, a late night sweets menu is in the works, so you’ll know where to find me.  I myself was always a PB and banana sandwich kid which led me to this brilliant discovery. My favorite banana cake recipe (from the Silver Palette; recipe below) works just as well with peanut butter frosting as with its assigned cream cheese frosting. If you dig the banana/peanut combination too, head to Buster’s, a South Pasadena hangout, to grab some frozen yogurt. They will mash bananas and peanut butter into the yogurt for you.

Speaking of great combos, let’s talk about bacon and maple. Heaven on a breakfast plate. And also in a biscuit. Grab it at Huckleberry on Wilshire. The local and seasonal menu and filtered tap water in reusable bottles in the fridge add to my love of this place.  If you want to talk more about going local, I should mention that they serve their delectables on Luna Garcia Pottery, which is handmade right in Venice and has been since 1979.

While we’re on the topic of breakfast-y combos, we’d be remiss to leave out pancakes and maple, but how about pancakes and avocado? That’s right, Brent the Brewmaster wins the contest for the strangest melding of flavors with his suggestion of Alton Brown’s Pancake Cake with Avocado Frosting (recipe below). Got kids? I’m thinking they will love digging in to this slime colored tower of flap jacks while you sip your coffee.

And if you don’t limit your coffee consumption to the AM, I highly suggest heading over to Vincente for their coffee crème brûlée with licorice gelato.

There are many more bakeries to come in following posts. Again, baking and sweets remind me of my childhood, so I’ve always been a fan of the vast and colorful cookie array at Beverlywood Bakery. I’ve had many suggestions sent my way for local ethnic bakery items including the legendary strawberry cake at Pheonix and the delicate, not too sweet Japanese desserts at Angel Maid Bakery. My friend Reg was even kind enough to bring me a delivery from his favorite panaderia, Cuscatleca, in Pico Union.

Save room for (more) desert.

No, I'm not sharing. But thank you for asking.

Silver Palette Banana Cake

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed extra ripe bananas
  • 1 3/4 cup unbleached all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon table salt
  • 2/3 teaspoon baking soda
  • 5 tablespoons buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla

-Preheat oven to 350, grease and flour two 9 inch layer cake pans

-Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add mashed bananas, mixing thoroughly.

-Combine dry ingredients in bowl and add to butter mixture.  Stir until flour is completely incorporated. Add buttermilk and vanilla and mix for 1 minute.

-Pour into pans and set on middle oven rack. Bake for 25-30 minutes.

-Cool in pans on rack for 10 minutes. Unmold and cool on rack for 2 hours.

Alton Brown’s Pancake Cake with Avocado Frosting

For the pancake “cake mix”

  • 1 pound 5 ounces all-purpose flour
  • 8 1/2 ounces cake flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 3 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

-Place all of the ingredients in a mixing bowl and whisk well to combine. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

For the pancakes

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled slightly
  • 2 whole eggs, room temperature
  • 2 cups buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 cups Instant pancake mix from above

For the frosting

  • 8 ounces avocado meat, approximately 2 small to medium
  • 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 pound powdered sugar, sifted
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract

-Heat an electric griddle or frying pan to 350 degrees.

-Place the butter, eggs and buttermilk in a mixing bowl and whisk to combine. Pour this over the 2 cups of pancake mix that is in a separate bowl and whisk just to combine. Do not try to remove all of the lumps.

-Once your griddle or pan is hot, use a large ice cream disher to scoop the batter onto the griddle. Cook for 2-3 minutes or until golden brown, flip and cook for another 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a cooling rack to hold. Repeat until all of the batter has been used. You will have 10-12 pancakes. Frost between pancakes and on top and sides if desired.

For the frosting

-Peel and pit the avocado.

-Place the avocado into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment along with the lemon juice and beat until lightened in color, approximately 2 to 3 minutes. Add the powdered sugar a little at a time and beat until smooth. Add the lemon extract and mix to combine. If not using right away, store in the refrigerator.

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