The vinegar was a little bit sweet, with a strong tropical aroma of bananas all underscored by hints of woodsy, piney rosemary. I used it in salad dressing and marinades, and discovered it was the perfect vinegar for baking or for adding a little something special to jams and compotes. Amazed by its many uses, I have nursed this little bottle, prizing each drop like it's made out of gold.
About a week ago, I decided to reorganize my pantry (more about that soon!) and came upon the bottle of vinegar. I opened it up just to take a quick sniff of the syrupy aroma, when an idea suddenly came to me. What if I were to combine the banana and rosemary in a cake?
It took a few days before I could get started on the idea, but I knew it would work. I started with my favorite classic banana bread recipe and lightened it up a bit for a more delicate, cake-like texture. To infuse the cake with rosemary flavor, I browned the melted butter with several sprigs of rosemary, letting them infuse the butter. For another layer of flavor, I made rosemary sugar, blitzing together granulated sugar with fresh rosemary sprigs until smooth.
I baked the cakes in the new mini-bundt pan I bought at the Wilton tent sale on my trip to the Wilton blogger workshop a couple weeks ago, and I was excited when they came out just as I'd imagined--soft, springy, golden, and buttery. The aroma was fragrant and positively intoxicating--sweet banana with the perfect hint of rosemary wafting all throughout our apartment.
To top off the little cakes, I made a browned butter glaze, also infused with more rosemary. Drizzled on top of each one, it was the perfect complement.
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Banana Rosemary Baby Bundt Cakes with Rosemary Brown Butter Icing
For the Cakes
4 ripe medium-sized bananas, mashed with a fork
4 3-inch sprigs of fresh rosemary
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup granulated white sugar
1 large egg, whisked
1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
For the icing:
1/2 cup butter
2 3-inch sprigs of fresh rosemary
1 cup confectioners' sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a mini bundt or muffin pan and set aside.
Place the mashed bananas in the base of an electric mixer with the paddle attachment and beat for 2 minutes until smooth.
In a medium saucepan over medium heat and combine butter and 2 of the springs of rosemary (reserving the other two sprigs). Heat the butter until it melts and then let continue to cook until the butter turns golden brown and starts to smell a little bit nutty--about 5-7 minutes. Remove from the heat and let cool with the rosemary still in the butter.
While the butter cools, place the granulated sugar in a food processor or blender and add the leaves from the two remaining sprigs of rosemary. Be sure to remove the stem--only add the leaves. Pulse in the food processor or blender until smooth.
Remove the rosemary sprigs from the cooled butter and add the butter to the banana puree. Add the rosemary sugar, the egg, and the vanilla, and beat for 2 minutes until all well combined.
In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, baking powder, and baking soda. Stir into the wet ingredients with a light hand only until thoroughly combined.
Spoon the batter about 3/4 of the way in each of the prepared mini bundt molds (or muffin tins). Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the cakes are golden and spring back when touched. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 10 minutes before unmolding onto wire racks to let cool completely.
Make the icing:
In a medium saucepan over low heat, melt 1/2 cup of butter and 2 sprigs of rosemary for 5-7 minutes until golden brown and nutty. Pour into a medium bowl through a fine sieve to remove most of the solid bits and rosemary sprigs. Whisk in 1 cup of confectioners' sugar until smooth.
Dip each cooled cake in the icing and return to the rack to let set.