Ten days ago, I bought four bananas. I put them in a basket on my counter and waited for them to ripen. My little cake “bible” had a category called “cakes with fruit” and therein was not one, but two recipes for banana cake. Not banana bread, no, that is something different. I’m talking about a banana cake, made by creaming butter and sugar, sifting flour, and mashing bananas with buttermilk and eggs. Upon close examination, the “Banana Layer Cake” and the “Gold Nugget Cake” were essentially identical. The difference was in the frosting and presentation; the Banana Layer Cake was frosted with either “Seven Minute Icing” or fresh whipped cream.
That wouldn’t work for me; I’m not feeding a hungry herd of cake nibblers all at one sitting. I need cakes that can sit safely and freshly under the dome of my atomic cake carrier for a few days, waiting for drive-by visitors and impromptu cake salon guests.
I opted for the Gold Nugget Cake with Banana Frosting.
The cake tastes good (like a cake should) and the frosting is loveable. Mashed bananas, lemon juice, butter and sifted confectioners’ sugar whip up quickly with a butter knife. But the cake itself didn’t inspire my writing muse as I had hoped it would and that’s a problem at 4:00 a.m. on a Friday morning.
First, I thought I might sew today’s post together with the Franco American thread I’ve been weaving lately. One of my work friends had a Franco American grandmother who used to say “shoot the banana.” I’m not sure what that means, maybe it’s an expression of frustration or maybe it’s like “Voyons.”
(Voyons, for those who have been wondering, literally means “we see” or “let’s see.” When I asked my mother what she meant when she said it, she translated it as “what is going on here?” I like her translation best.)
But I didn’t know my friend Colette’s grandmother, so I was unable to embroider much meaning into that particular Franco American thread. It’s her mémère memory, not a universal Franco American meme.
Hoping for the internet to reveal some of its magical meaning, I googled “shoot the banana” and “Quebec” and found an interesting story about a Canadian artist who envisioned floating a giant helium-filled Hindenburg banana over Texas. The artist received approximately $105,000 in funding, most of it from Canadian taxpayers. As of this writing, the banana has yet to get off the ground. For more information on the geostationary banana over Texas, you can click here.
With a few more clicks, I found a “Banana Festival” in Northwest Tennessee. Why? Because refrigerated rail cars used to pass through this location, back in the days when bananas had to travel from South America by rail. The highlight of the festival is a one ton banana pudding which travels along the parade route and is dished out to hungry festival visitors at the end.
I’m not sure what to say about that.
It’s Friday and I’m serving Gold Nugget Cake today. Sometimes, a cake is just a cake. You know where to find it.