Alicia Kennedy, Food & Drink Writer

old blog

brooklyn tourist / banana cake w. pb frosting

I thought I'd be taking this week off from posting, but one cannot take a week off from living, you know? Plus, I made a cake to celebrate the news that La Pirata Kitchen is going to be back in 2015, starting with a relaunch party at Passenger Bar on January 28. I'll be DJing and selling you cookies, and I am pretty freaking stoked.

Last weekend, on the unseasonably beautiful Saturday that we had, Sareen and I went to the Brooklyn Botanic Garden to gaze, mostly, upon dead branches, but also to see some beautiful plants kept in sweltering greenhouses. After hitting up Cheryl's Global Soul for lunch, which is so good for a nosh—I love comforting neighborhood spots that play excellent music—but not vegan friendly. If they just added a good tofu scramble and some housemade tempeh bacon, they'd kill it. Then it was on to the Brooklyn Museum, which I realized has always been my favorite art museum in the city. It always feels so relevant. It felt even more so once we got to the "Killer Heels" exhibit, which I expected to enjoy for the eye candy and not much else. Instead, they perfectly contextualized heels as both art and feminist statement. It was the first exhibit I've seen that moved me to buy the catalogue, so that I could return both to those shoes and the really wonderful copy they wrote to go along with it. 

We saw Inherent Vice that night and I slept through it, but I didn't sleep through the giant pretzel I ordered at Fort Greene's Black Forest. On Sunday, much chore-doing was accomplished and then followed with pizza at Union Pizza Works, where the pizza and service are wonderful and you don't have to wait an hour and a half like at some other Bushwick places.

Yesterday I toured a commercial kitchen in Long Island City, where I had to wear a hairnet. I'm so excited to get back to baking on a bigger scale again. I will be dancing from mixer to table to rack oven.

Here's a recipe for banana cake with peanut butter frosting! Great for if you let some bananas get a bit too ripe while celebrating the holidays. I decorated the sides with bananas brûlée. You don't have to do that, but if you want to, just lay the slices on a surface you can't burn, sprinkle them generously with sugar, and go at them with your torch until they caramelize to your heart's desire.

Peanut-Butter Frosting
300 g coconut butter
430 g powdered sugar
1/4 C peanut butter
1/2 t vanilla extract

1. Put these ingredients in your food processor and let it go till it's a fluffy frosting. This is a lot of frosting to make in a mini Cuisanart, so definitely take down your cumbersome 12 cup if you don't want to smell the metal overheating. I might be talking to myself.

2. Chill it until you're ready to frost the cake. If it's in there a few hours, you're gonna need to let it come to room temperature before it's spreadable.

Banana Cake
12 cupcakes or one 6-inch cake
1 medium banana, mashed — about 100 g
275 g almond milk
73 g coconut oil, melted
166 g sugar
2 t vanilla extract
1 t almond extract
200 g flour
1 1/4 t baking soda
1 t baking powder
1/2 t kosher salt

1. Heat the oven to 350. Grease and line your pans.

2. Melt the coconut oil in the microwave or over a double boiler. Set aside.

3. Mash the banana well, and then add the rest of the wet ingredients, including sugar and the melted coconut oil. Whisk until blended.

4. Measure your dry ingredients into another bowl, whisking to combine.

5. Pour the dry into the wet and whisk, making sure to get through any chunks.

6. Put about 350 g of batter in each of your 6-inch cake pans, or 1/3 C into each cupcake liner. Bake cake for 15 minutes, then rotate, and bake for another 15, or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. If baking cupcakes, do about 12 minutes per rotation.