Hot fudge banana pound cake

Sometimes I want my one-day-from-fruit-flies bananas to become a relatively healthy breakfast bread.

Most times, though, I want this. And how could I not? The flavor profile is perfect in its simplicity: just a dense, rich banana pound cake, swirled through with hot fudge sauce. You would be crazy not to serve it fresh out of the oven with vanilla ice cream that melts down into the nooks and crannies of the poundcake + more fudge sauce on top. What more could you ask for on a cold winter’s night? Leftover fudge sauce, you say? This does that, too, so stock up on ice cream.

There are a few steps here: making the fudge sauce, mixing the wet ingredients, mixing the dry ingredients, layering the batter with the sauce, and licking every bowl and spoon that the sauce came into contact with. But none of the steps are hard (and someone needs to lick that chocolate-covered spoon), and the rewards are oh-so-great.

Hot fudge banana pound cake (makes one 9″ loaf pan)
As with our house cookie, my mom has been making this since the 1980s. As a result, neither of us can locate the original source.

Ingredients
Sauce
1 1/2 cups whipping cream
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
Large pinch of salt
3/4 teaspoon vanilla extract
Cake
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (about 2 large) mashed overripe bananas
1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 1/4 cups sugar
4 large eggs, room temperature
Optional, but really, you need this:
Vanilla ice cream

Instructions
Sauce
Stir whipping cream, sugar, unsweetened chocolate, unsalted butter, light corn syrup, and pinch of salt in a heavy medium saucepan over low heat until chocolate melts.

Increase heat to medium and bring to boil, stirring occasionally. Boil until reduced to 2 3/4 cups (you can eyeball this; no need to be on the dot), stirring constantly, about 6 minutes.

Cool; mix in vanilla extract. Set aside.

Cake
Preheat oven to 350F. Lightly butter a 9x5x3-inch loaf pan. Line pan with waxed paper or baking/parchment paper, leaving 1/2-inch overhang. (This makes removal much easier.)

Mix flour, baking powder, salt, and baking soda in medium bowl.

Blend banana and lemon juice in a small bowl.

Using an electric mixer, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

Using a rubber spatula, mix in dry ingredients alternately with banana mixture, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.

If necessary, heat sauce until just slightly warm, stirring often. Spoon 1/3 of batter into prepared pan. Drizzle 1/3 cup of sauce over and spread gently to within 1/2 inch of pan edge. Repeat with another layer of batter and sauce. Top with remaining batter. Run small sharp knife through cake in zigzag motion to swirl sauce lightly.

Bake cake about 1 hour and 15 minutes, or until toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in pan on rack 30 minutes. Turn out cake onto rack. Peel off paper and cool until it is solid enough to slice it. Slice, plate, top with a scoop of vanilla ice cream and warm fudge sauce. Serve.

Cake will keep for a few days at room temperature (or maybe more; I’ve never, um, managed to keep it around long enough to find out). Leftover sauce should be stored in the fridge and reheated as needed to serve–just scoop out a little bit into a bowl and chuck it in the microwave.

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