Saturday, February 13, 2010

American food: Banana Bread and Carrot Cake

Banana bread and carrot cake are two desserts I remember from my childhood in America. They are so good that I decided to make both of them yesterday. Clearly, we do not follow Lent. Don’t worry. I’ve kept up my pseudo-Catholic façade by frying up a big batch of cod- nice and stinky for the whole klatka to smell. C’mon, I had to prepare provisions for the weekend ‘cause my vampire books finally came in at Empik. Yeah!

Anyhow, back to the cake. layer cakeI made them as a layer cake which prompted Lizzie to ask whose birthday it was. I sometimes make them in a loaf pan or as muffins as well, without any frosting. Both banana bread and carrot cake are kinds of quick bread. They are moister and heavier than regular cakes. You can add honey, raisins, dates, almost anything that you want.

cakeTort in Polish can be translated as simply torte or as layer cake (or layered cake). The act of cutting the cake into layers is to tort the cake. I am not adept at such things as torting cakes so instead I baked my cakes as 4 shallow cakes in round spring form pans. It is best to allow the cake time to set after frosting. The layers stay together better. This cake was sliced much too early thanks to my little ones hungry bellies and the layers are net yet stuck together very well.

If you’d like a taste of America, here are my recipes:

Carrot Cake


1 1/2 cup flour image

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/8 teaspoon ginger

1/8 teaspoon nutmeg

2 cups of grated carrots

1 grated apple

1/2 cup raisins (optional)

3/4 cup finely chopped walnuts

3/4 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup sugar

4 eggs

1 tablespoon of vanilla extract (not vanilla oil) or replace some of the sugar with vanilla sugar.


1. Heat oven to 180° C. Butter baking pan(s) and lightly dust with flour. You can line the bottom with baking paper.

2. Mix all dry ingredients (except sugar) in a bowl (flour, soda, powder, salt, cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg)

3. With an electric mixer, mix sugar, eggs, oil and vanilla.

4. Combine the dry and wet mixtures and then add the carrots, apple and nuts and raisins (optional).

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 20 minutes for a shallow cake to up to 60 minutes for a loaf.

Banana Bread


1 1/4 cup flour

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 cup sugar (can be white or brown or 1/2 each)

2 eggs

1/2 cup vegetable oil

3/4 cup chopped walnuts

1 tablespoon vanilla extract (not vanilla oil) – optional

1 tablespoon honey – optional

3 ripe bananas, mashed (a little more than a cup)


1. Heat oven to 180° C. Butter baking pan(s) and lightly dust with flour. You can line the bottom with baking paper.

2. Mix together dry ingredients except sugar (flour, soda, cinnamon, salt)

3. Beat together sugar, eggs and oil (and optional honey and vanilla)

4. Add bananas and nuts.

5. Mix the wet and dry mixtures together.

6. Pour the batter into the prepared pan(s) and bake for 20 minutes for a shallow cake to up to 60 minutes for a loaf.


2 packages of Philadelphia cream cheese or any other serek śmietankowy (one package in Poland is 125 grams)

1/2 cup butter, room temperature

1/2 cup vanilla sugar (homemade) or 1/2 cup sugar including 1/2 package vanilla sugar

1/2 cup or more powdered sugar

1/3 cup whipping cream

Beat all the ingredients together. If too thin, add more sugar. This frosting and the frosted cake will need to be refrigerated.

True to form, Lizzie after receiving her piece of cake and a fork switched to a spoon, scraped off all the frosting and left the cake.

Happy Baking!


AnetaCuse said...

Looks yummy. I love both the carrot cake and the banana bread. There is no baking in my house, though.

Stardust said...

It took me 5 years to get the guts to even taste a carrot cake:)) In my (polish) book, I considered carrot a vegetable and as such didn't belong to desserts:)) But when I finally tasted, I had to say that, it was very tasty. But still, after all this years I never baked carrot cake myself. Maybe one of these days I'll use your recipes. First I have to loose some weight;))

miss said...

I had the same problem with carrot cake as Stardust, but now I love it! I even saw a recipe for a cake with courgette, I didn't try to make it though, maybe one day...
But what your cakes have to do with Lent? Veges are healthy and not forbidden yet?;):)

Chris said...

I've also heard of a chocolate cake with beets. Anyone heard of that one?

Miss - Exactly, carrots are a vegetable and bananas are a fruit. Nothing sinful about that!

Stardust said...

Chris, the chocolate w/beets, isn't it the red velvet cake?

Stardust said...

Chris, please come to my blog and get the price for a creative blogger:))

Chris said...

Stardust - It isn't red velvet although that is good too. I will look for the recipe when I get a minute but now I am on the way to your blog for something interesting???

AnetaCuse said...

Correct me if I'm wrong, but even if one observes Lent, it doesn't start until Ash Wednesday next week.

Bee said...

I will use your recipe for carrot cake, when I finally make it. It looks yummy. Banana bread is already a regular on my table and in my oven and is one of my favorite everyday cakes because you can fix it in a matter of minutes, tastes good even when you get zakalec and it's not expensive.

Chris said...

Aneta-You are right about Lent starting next week. See how much you can forget when you don't go to church.

Bee-Carrot cake is pretty much the same-yummy and cheap.

Misiu says that I should put a warning that for people used to American cakes, these cakes can seem bland. If so, experiment by adding more sugar and more spices until you get a cake that you like.

hjuston said...

I love carrot cake. Carrot cake is one of the american cakes I really like. My husband has a good recipe for a 'healthy' carrot cake.

Jaghoda said...

Thank you for sharing the recipes. Like many other Polish people I had thought it strange to add a vegetable to cake but found out it was sweet and delicious. I must make one myself.