I’m usually the one in charge of baking the birthday cakes in my house. While I prefer to have a free reign over the cakes I choose to bake, I would get them to pick a flavour.
It’s interesting to see what everyone would pick but after a few years, you will begin to see a trend. My best friend would usually pick a tart, my mum would like something citrusy or with fruits. J would let me bake whatever I feel like because he claims that he loves everything that I bake. My sister and dad would unequivocally pick a chocolate cake.
While I love chocolate very much, I find it just a little boring to be baking chocolate cake every year. I can imagine all eyes and hands (maybe?) of chocolate fiends on me as I say that. Few will ever call chocolate “boring”.
This year, my sister’s brief to me was chocolate and banana or rather she told me that she really liked this cake that I put together pretty recently. So I’m off to bake this cake once again. It is indeed good, the only difference was that I made honeycomb to top this off just for a bit of fun.
This cake is made up of four layers of chocolate sponge in this cake – light sponge with a good flavour of chocolate, layered with a rich and velvety layer of dark chocolate ganache spiked with rum, and sliced bananas. You can leave out the rum if you wish but why? Rum, chocolate and bananas are so perfect together. The bananas cuts through the richness of the chocolate cake and ganache, making it easy to eat a big slice or two of it in a seating.
Coincidentally, her friends bought her a chocolate and banana cake too! From this, you can probably infer that her love for chocolate and banana is so great that everyone knows about it. While she had two chocolate and banana cakes in one day, she told me that she liked mine better because mine had more chocolate. The cake her friends bought was a chocolate swiss roll filled with chantilly cream and fresh bananas.
So here’s the chocolate and banana cake recipe for your chocolate loving friends, my dad told me he loves this cake a lot and he wants something similar for his birthday.
I can’t say I’m surprised.
If anyone has any suggestions for a chocolate cake (preferably with chocolate sponge layers), please send them my way.
Dark chocolate and banana layer cake
Makes a four layer 6-inch cake
Chocolate sponge recipe adapted from Epicurious
Ingredients for the chocolate cake: (Bakes in two 6-inch round tins)
30g dark chocolate
165g granulated sugar
70g cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
66g egg or 1 large egg
65ml canola oil or any neutral flavoured oil
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbsp brandy/rum
1. Prepare cake layers:Preheat oven to 150 deg cel/300°F. Prepare tins by lining the base with parchment paper and greasing the sides of the tins. I used two 6 inch round cake tins.
2. Finely chop the dark chocolate and in a bowl combine with hot coffee. Stir to unsure that the chocolate is completely melted and mixture is uniform.
3. Beat eggs in an electric mixer or with a whisk lightly before adding in the sugar and beat until the eggs are pale and slightly thickened. Add in the wet ingredients ( melted chocolate mixture, buttermilk and oil) – beat until well incorporated.
3. Add in the sifted dry ingredients (flour, baking, soda, cocoa powder, salt) in a few additions and mix until just combined.
4. Divide the batter between the two pans evenly and bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hr, until the cakes spring back upon touch.
5. Allow the cakes to cool slightly in the tins for about 10 minutes before running a palette knife along the edges of the tin and inverting the cake onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
6. Trim off the top slightly if it is slightly domed. Then, using a serrated knife, divide the cakes into two even portions so you will have 4 cake layers.
Cool layers completely in pans on racks. Run a thin knife around edges of pans and invert layers onto racks. Carefully remove wax paper and cool layers completely. Cake layers may be made 1 day ahead and kept, wrapped well in plastic wrap, at room temperature.
Dark chocolate ganache frosting
330g dark chocolate ( I used 66% dark chocolate couverture)
190 ml double cream
1 tbsp corn syrup (optional, for a glossy finish)
1 tbsp rum
1. Finely chop chocolate.
2. Heat cream and corn syrup in a pot to a boil.
3. Take it off the heat then pour it over your chopped chocolate and butter. Add in the rum and stir with a spatula until well-incorporated.
Rum simple syrup
1 tbsp rum
1. Heat sugar and water in a pot, stirring occasionally until sugar is completely dissolved. Bring the sugar syrup to a boil.
2. Take it off heat and stir in the rum. Use immediately.
To assemble the cake:
2-3 large and firm bananas, sliced thinly and evenly (into rounds)
fleur de sel, optional
1. Place first layer of sponge cake onto a cake board. Secure the cake with a small spoonful of chocolate ganache. This will prevent the cake from slipping when you move it around later. Use a pastry brush to brush on the rum syrup and allow the sponge to soak up the syrup before you continue.
2. Scoop up a dollop of chocolate ganache and spread it evenly onto the first layer of cake with a palette knife.
3. Arrange the banana slices on top of the chocolate ganache and try to cover the entire cake with the banana slices. Repeat step 1 – 3 for the other 3 layers of cake. After you have placed the final layer of cake on, spread a thin layer of ganache over it and over the sides of the cake. Crumb coat it first and refrigerate until firm before you continue to frost the cake with the remainder chocolate ganache until the cake is smooth and even.
4. Decorate with honeycomb (recipe found on this link. You can half the recipe and still have leftovers) , caramelised nuts (recipe found here) or just leave it plain. Sprinkle the top of the cake with some fleur de sel.