Since Halloween is on a Saturday this year, we are having our Halloween potluck party at work on Friday. We are encouraged to dress in costume and of course, bring a food item to share. I made crockpot mac and cheese and a banana bundt cake. I had four bananas that were past their prime, so I googled until I found the following recipe from Hummingbird High. The sour cream makes this bundt cake really moist and the dulce de leche drizzle takes it to another level. I love the addition of the salt on top, which makes this the perfect sweet and salty treat. Bundt cakes can be tricky – I always say, you bundt and then pray to the unmolding gods that it comes out in one piece. The key is to let it cool, which is easier said than done. I waited, but did not wait long enough. Impatience got the best of me and some of the cake stuck to the pan. Not a bad removal, but it could have been prettier. This is where a glaze comes in handy – it is very forgiving to hide your mistakes.
In honor of Halloween weekend, I thought I would share a few of my past Halloween costumes. I always make my costume and when I worked at the Statehouse, I would make the pilgrimage to the Governor’s Residence to get my photo with former Governor Mitch Daniels and embarrass myself in front of my work colleagues. I had no shame and the photos are still on the state government website under ‘archived.’ It is a fun tradition and I am sure kids get a kick out of seeing the Governor’s Residence up close.
My mom, brother and me circa the 1980’s
I have been thinking a lot about kindness this week and without writing a long novel, I will just say that kindness should never be confused for weakness. I had a great conversation with my dad about kindness – he is known as being a kind man and people often confuse this for weakness or as someone that is easy to manipulate. I can tell you without any hesitation that I am not a weak person nor will I ever apologize for being ‘too kind.’ If I am known for anything in this life, I hope that it is for being kind to everyone. Each new experience, painful lesson, and memory has made me kind in a different way. Truly beautiful people do not just happen – they grow into who they are supposed to be.
WORK HALLOWEEN POTLUCK PARTY
BANANA BUNDT CAKE WITH DULCE DE LECHE
Recipe via Hummingbird High
For the Dulce de Leche:
- 14 ounces (1 can) sweetened condensed milk
- 1 tablespoon sea salt
For the Banana Bundt Cake
- 3 cups flour
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 2 cups granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 1 3/4 cups very ripe bananas
- 1 cup sour cream
For the Homemade Salted Dulce de Leche:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 425 (F).
Use a rubber spatula to transfer the contents of 1 can of sweetened condensed milk to a medium, ovenproof glass bowl. Cover tightly with aluminum foil, before placing the covered dish in a larger roasting or casserole pan. Bring a pot of water to a boil and carefully pour the water into the roasting pan until it reaches three-quarters up the covered dish to create water bath. Carefully transfer the roasting pan into the oven and bake for 60 to 90 minutes, checking the roasting pan’s water level every 30 minutes and adding more water if necessary.
When the sweetened condensed milk has turned into dulce de leche, it will take on a tannish brown color. Remove from the oven and the water bath and place on a wire rack. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon flaky salt over the dulce de leche’s surface and whisk until smooth. Let cool completely before storing.
For the Banana Sour Cream Bundt Cake:
Center a rack in the oven and preheat to 350 (F). Prepare a 10-inch bunt pan by generously spraying with cooking spray, and set aside. In a medium bowl, whisk together 3 cups all-purpose flour, 2 teaspoons baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Set aside.
In the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, add 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter. Beat on medium speed until pale and fluffy. Add 2 cups granulated sugar and continue beating, turning the mixer speed to medium-high. Continue beating for at least 5 minutes, until the mixture is pale and fluffy.
Once the mixture is pale and fluffy, reduce the mixer speed to its lowest setting. Beat in 2 large eggs, one at a time, only adding the next egg until the egg before it has been fully incorporated. Once the eggs have been incorporated, add 1 tablespoon vanilla extract and 1 3/4 cups ripe bananas and continue mixing until just incorporated. Finally, add half the dry ingredients (from the 1st step) until just combined, before adding 1 cup sour cream until just combined, and then the remaining half of the dry ingredients. Be careful not to OVERMIX!
Once the batter is finished mixing, transfer the batter into the prepared bundt pan. Use a rubber spatula to smooth out the top and give the pan a good whack on a hard surface a few times to get rid of any air bubbles. Bake in the preheated oven for 65 to 75 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and cool for 10 minutes, before unmolding onto the rack to cool completely.
When ready to serve, drizzle with dulce de leche and sea salt.