My old refrigerator retired this weekend. After 15 years of great service we decided that it was time to replace it with a newer, better model. Though the new refrigerator is much like the old one in both look and features, I was excited at the prospect of having a new toy in the kitchen. Well, it might be stretching things a bit to call a fridge a toy, but it’s new, at least.
Out of all the contents of my old icebox, quite a few items never made it into the new one. Long-forgotten condiment jars and chicken carcasses that were meant to be turned into delicious stock were tossed instead. I still haven’t gotten into the habit of labeling/dating my frozen goods so anything that I considered old was purged.
How old is too old for the freezer, do you know? The FDA website has published these storage guidelines for certain foods. It says that most foods stored at 0° F will keep indefinitely so the guidelines are more for quality rather than for consumption safety. Still, I exceeded some of their limits. Better safe than sorry.
Feeling quite guilty for my wastefulness, I nixed all my weekend cooking plans and decided to play the what-can-I-make-with-what-I-already-have game.
Out of frozen blueberries, overripe bananas and some kitchen staples, this cake came to be. As is typical with buckles or crumbles, blueberries (usually fresh instead of frozen) were mixed into the batter and sprinkled with a streusel topping. I deviated from tradition by adding my last two ripe bananas just because I was determined not to waste anymore food this weekend (and also because this recent recipe yielded such great results).
After 1 1/2 hours waiting for this cake to come out of the oven, I was ready to have a slice. I skipped the prescribed cooling period and cut for myself a generous slice. My initial reaction was to think that the cake could have used more time in the oven. As you can see, the fruit to batter ratio is so high–one pound blueberries and two large bananas–that there is hardly any “cake” visible in my pictures. But beneath the crisp streusel topping is the tasty combination of blueberries, bananas and yes, cake–soft, moist and ridiculously easy to devour.
I’m beginning to think that there is no dessert that can’t benefit from the addition of bananas.
- 8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
- 6 tablespoons plus 1¾ cups flour, plus more for pan
- 1¼ cups sugar
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- ¾ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1½ teaspoons baking powder
- ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg (optional)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 egg
- ½ cup milk
- 1 pound blueberries, fresh or frozen
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- Heat your oven to 350° F. Butter and flour a 9-inch springform pan, tap out the excess and set aside.
- To make the streusel topping, in a separate bowl, stir together 4 tablespoons butter, 6 tablespoons flour, ½ cup sugar, ¼ teaspoon salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.
- In another bowl whisk together the remaining flour, salt and baking powder and set aside.
- In a large bowl, beat the remaining 4 tablespoons butter and ¾ cup sugar with a handheld mixer on medium speed until the mixture is pale, about 1 minute. Add the vanilla extract and egg and beat again until smooth. Add the flour mixture and milk and mix (low speed) for another minute. Fold the blueberries and mashed bananas into the batter with a rubber spatula and pour into the prepared pan. Sprinkle the streusel topping and bake the cake for 1½ hours or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Cool before serving.