Last month, I challenged readers to submit their favorite cake recipes in the hopes of winning a brand new copy of Entenmann’s Big Book of Baking, courtesy of — you guessed it — Entenmann’s. Well, I’m happy to announce that I’ve since decided upon two finalists, baked up the recipes, and shared the end products with an esteemed panel of judges. The winner — and pictures of the baking process — after the jump…
First things first. Let’s meet our finalists. In one corner, we have Maureen, who submitted a frosted banana bars cake from the Taste of Home website. In the other corner, we have Rachel, whose recipe for the Daisy Brand Sour Cream Chocolate Cake is something she requests annually from her mother on her birthday. Banana vs. chocolate. How would this all turn out??
I start with the chocolate cake. Into the bowl goes some oil, and vanilla extract. My Hamilton Beach hand mixer lords over the mixture like a squirrel and its acorn.
Some melted chocolate joins the party. Look Ma, no hands!
Next comes some white and brown sugar.
In another bowl, I prepare the dry ingredients: flour, cocoa, baking soda, salt. All good stuff.
I alternately add dry ingredients and warm water into the chocolate mixture. There’s a good amount of mixing involved.
Eventually the batter winds up looking like this. Pretty exciting.
Can’t have sour cream without sour cream! Here it is!
And into the oven go the cake rounds, ready for the metamorphosis.
On to cake #2. This is BANANAS. (Get it?)
Anyhoo, I cream together some butter and sugar and then add three eggs and some vanilla extract. Standard fare.
Meanwhile, I’ve let some bananas ripped a little bit. I mash them up and add them to the batter too.
The banana batter, blended.
You might not be able to tell, but there are three bananas in there. Blew your mind, didn’t I?
Here come the dry ingredients: the usual mix of flour, baking soda, and salt. Blah blah blah.
In other news, the cakes are done.
And now they’re cooling.
Oh, and um, I guess we’ll just fast forward the process because here’s the banana cake! Apparently this was the first picture I took after having added the dry ingredients to the batter. Oops.
Moving on to the frosting: I start with the banana cake. First I cream up some cream cheese and butter.
Next comes a whole lot of powdered sugar and some vanilla extract. There’s gonna be a sugar cloud rising from here in 3…2… 1…
Well, wafting powdered sugar be damned. In no time, I have real deal cream cheese frosting! Yum!
I plop the frosting on top of the cake and begin the spreading process. Luckily, it’s quite easy.
Back to the drawing board for frosting #2. This one involves butter, cocoa powder, and vanilla extract.
Soon I get a substance that looks more or less like poop.
The poop phase is brief as I then pour in a good amount of powdered sugar and mix.
Next up: some 2% milk.
Oh, and more sour cream!
Miraculously, it all comes together to make frosting. Not sure I’ve ever had sour cream frosting before, but I am intrigued. Unfortunately, it’s not the smoothest frosting I’ve encountered.
Time to frost. This is not necessarily where I shine.
The first glob is on.
We have achieved stack status. Sort of looks like lips.
And now the true adventure begins. Will I be able to frost this adeptly?
I think I did a decent job.
As luck would have it, I had four people over to watch the Golden Globes, and afterwards, I announced that they’d all be taking part in the taste test. I would cut a slice of each cake for all of them, and then we would all sample the goods. We all kept our opinions to ourselves, however, until the time came for us to unveil our votes. On the count of three, we each thrust our hands into the middle and either put out one finger (to vote for the chocolate cake) or two fingers (to vote for the banana cake). It was all rather exciting. Which recipe would TAKE THE CAKE?
The answer was unanimous.
We all agreed, much to our surprise, that the winning cake was…
The frosted banana bar cake!! Who would have thunk it? I know that I was certainly surprised, especially since I’m a through and through chocoholic. It takes a lot, and I mean a lot, for me to put a banana cake above a chocolate cake (especially a double decker chocolate cake with frosting as far as the eye can see), but Maureen’s submitted recipe was really pretty awesome. That’s not to say that the chocolate cake wasn’t any good. It was totally delicious also. However, the banana cake was a bit moister, and in some way, it just worked better. Plus — and this may have been the deal breaker — the cream cheese frosting on the banana cake was definitely better than the chocolate sour cream frosting on the chocolate cake. Again, it’s not to detract from the chocolate frosting, but the cream cheese iteration was just too good to be denied.
So congratulations, Maureen! Be sure to email me your shipping address at bsideblog at gmail.com, and we’ll get a cookbook sent right out to you!
In other news, I’m looking forward to not baking anymore for a long time.