Bananas can have a blink-and-miss-it quality when it comes to the ideal eating window. It can seem at times they go from a touch too firm to far too ripe before you have a chance to recognize the change. Fortunately, an overripe banana doesn't have to mean a trip to the waste bin — you can make some pretty delicious creations at that point if you mash them up, like a moist and cloud-like banana cake.
But believe it or not, the way you mash your bananas can make a difference to your baking project, and there's a great method to ensure the most cake-ready fruit. You don't even need any fancy equipment, just the two most versatile tools in any kitchen — your hands — along with a zip-top bag.
Simply peel your bananas and stash them inside, then work to pulp-ify them from the outside by hand until you have a smooth consistency that would be perfect for feeding a baby. It won't be as smooth as a puree from a food processor, but this is a convenient (and more delicate) way to achieve a creamy banana mash that will yield a light and fluffy crumb for your favorite cake. The mushier your banana gets, the fluffier your cake will become.
Baking With Bananas
Bananas are more fun than a barrel of monkeys when it comes to baking. That's because they can bring so much to the table in a recipe, from texture and moisture to a delightful sweetness -- not to mention a whole lot of nutritional value (they're high in vitamins like C and B6, as well as a strong source of fiber and potassium).
You can tell a banana is ripe and ready for baking when the aroma is strong and the peel is speckled with brown spots. This stage will occur more quickly if you place your bananas in a paper bag and keep them in a warm place. While it's ideal if you can give bananas enough time to naturally ripen and develop those natural sugars, it is possible to encourage the ripening process with a few hacks, using either a traditional oven, a microwave, or an air fryer.
It always pays, for both flavor and moisture levels, to have patience if you can, but the beauty of this hand-mashing technique is that it works just as well even if your bananas haven't quite reached the ripeness you prefer for your baking project. Just remember that achieving consistent results will rely on your bananas being about the same ripeness each time you recreate your cake.
Other Ways To Go Bananas In The Kitchen
Banana cake is a moist and fluffy snack that can satisfy just about any time of day. It's wonderful with coffee in the morning or a perfect tea-time snack in the afternoon, but it is easily an impressive after-dinner dessert, too. If you want to lean into a version more tailored to a sweet tooth, add chocolate chips. You can lightly spice your slices with cardamom, cinnamon, or even a pumpkin spice blend. Make a peanut butter whipped cream frosting, and maybe even sprinkle it with crushed-up candied bacon for a cake Elvis himself would come back to life to taste.
In cake-adjacent banana baking, find seasonal inspiration in loaf form by trying out strawberry banana bread in summer or a white chocolate blueberry version. Mashed banana makes an excellent ingredient for a chewy, fudgy brownie or a naturally sweetened oatmeal cookie. And of course, classic banana pancakes are a favorite no matter the time of day. Once you've mastered this "handy" technique for mashing, you can make so many of your baking dreams come true.
Read the original article on Daily Meal.