Makes one 9 x 13-inch cake
This delectable cake—inspired by one in The All-American Dessert Book by Nancy Baggett (Houghton Mifflin, 2005)—is moist and tender. Do not use nonfat sour cream or cream cheese in this recipe. The amount of mashed banana can vary from 1½ to 2 cups. Although you could just dust the cake with confectioner’s sugar, the Maple Cream Cheese Frosting is luscious and easy to make.
• ⅔ cup sour cream
• ¼ cup dried OR ½ cup fresh calendula petals
• 2 cups unbleached flour
• ½ cup whole-wheat flour
• ½ teaspoon salt
• ¾ teaspoon baking soda
• Scant ¼ teaspoon mace
• 12 tablespoons unsalted butter (1½ sticks), softened
• 1 cup sugar
• ⅔ cup light brown sugar
• 3 extra-large eggs
• ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
• 5 mashed overripe bananas (about 1 ¾ cups)
In a small bowl, combine sour cream with calendula, stir well, and let stand for at least 30 minutes. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter a 9 × 13-inch baking dish.
In another bowl, sift together unbleached flour, whole-wheat flour, salt, baking soda and mace.
Put butter in a mixing bowl and beat until fluffy. Add sugars and beat until blended, scraping down sides of bowl as necessary. Add eggs and vanilla and beat until combined.
Combine sour cream and mashed bananas. Add about one-third of this mixture to mixing bowl and beat on low speed. Continue beating on low speed while adding about half of dry ingredients, then another third of sour cream-banana mixture, scraping sides of bowl as necessary. Add remaining dry ingredients, followed by the sour cream-banana mixture and beat until just blended.
Turn batter into prepared baking dish and smooth out surface. Bake in preheated oven for 40 to 45 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. The cake should be golden brown and sides should pull away slightly from the pan. Cool on a baking rack and frost when completely cool.
Contributing Editor Susan Belsinger frequently writes about the many aspects of herbs, especially using them in cooking.
For the main article, Calendula Officinalis: Herb of the Year 2008, click here.