Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Banana Split Cake

In addition to making a triple chocolate mousse cake for my birthday, I also made this cake which I decided to entitle "Banana Split Cake". Although I loved the mousse cake I am even more proud of this cake because I made it up all by myself, without any recipe to follow. Even though I am used to creating my own cheesecake recipes by now, this cake was a whole new ballgame. First of all, I don't normally make layered cakes, at least not ones where layers have to be stacked and filled, not just all compiled one after the other in the same pan. Secondly, I don't have very much experience frosting cakes; the only other time I have done it (outside of a cake making class I attended once) was when I made a black and white chocolate cake a few months back. Still, I decided that I wanted to challenge myself and really try something new.

Considering my lack of experience with layered cakes and the fact that I was making everything on a whim without any recipe to guide me, I would say this cake was quite a success. The banana cake itself was very moist and delicious and definitely had a lot of banana flavor. I alternated the fillings between chocolate ganache and vanilla pastry cream, both studded with sliced strawberries. My personal favorite was the vanilla cream layer because it was silky smooth and melted in your mouth. I think I should have used a slightly different chocolate:cream ratio for the ganache because it ended up getting to hard in the fridge and turned out more like chocolate chunks in between the cake layers rather than a smooth filling. For the top and sides I used a simple whipped cream frosting and tried to make it as smooth as possible by using an offset spatula I had purchased specially for the occasion.

When my friends came over to celebrate my birthday they were all quite impressed with the cake. I have to admit, the height itself was striking and the white frosting with sliced strawberries on top gave it a simple elegance. Obviously I had to take a picture of it from all angles and then more once it was sliced, making my friends a little impatient to dig in. But once they did I received praises all around. Looking back, I am extremely pleased with both cakes I made for my birthday and I think I will start to make mousse cakes and layered cakes more often now that I have some experience under my belt.

Banana Split Cake
Note: Because I had no recipe to follow and was making things up as I went, I made one full batch each of chocolate ganache and vanilla pastry cream from previous desserts I have created. As a result, I ended up with extra ganache and cream. I don't know how to adjust the portions for this cake, but the extras can be used up some other way or just eaten on their own if you have a big sweet tooth.

Banana Cake
Note: This recipe makes two 9" cakes.
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tbsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into pieces
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 ripe bananas (about 2 cups) mashed
  • 2/3 cup yogurt or sour cream
  1. In a small bowl whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugars until light and fluffy. 
  3. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, then the vanilla. Mix in the bananas until fully incorporated.
  4. Add half the flour mixture, then the sour cream/yogurt, and then repeat with the remainder.
  5. Divide the batter evenly between two greased 9" cake pans. Bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 25-30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.
Whipped Cream Frosting
  • 1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
  • 1/2 cup powdered (confectioner's) sugar
Whip the cream on medium speed until foamy, about 30-60 seconds. Increase the speed to high and slowly add the sugar. Continue to whip until soft peaks form, about 1 more minute.
To assemble:
  1. Take each banana cake and slice across in half to create four separate layers. Tip: it's easier to slice the cakes if they are cold therefore chill them in the refrigerator for a couple of hours prior to assembling the cake.
  2. Place the bottom of one of the cakes onto the serving platform, preferably at least 10" wide. Spread some chocolate ganache all over the surface of the cake and cover with sliced strawberries.
  3. Place the top of the corresponding cake on top and gently press down a little to secure it into place. Spread some vanilla pastry cream onto the surface and also sliced strawberries.
  4. Place the top of the second banana cake on top and repeat the chocolate filling with the strawberries. Cover with the bottom of the corresponding cake, bottom side up.
  5. To frost place a large spoonful of whipped cream on top of the cake and use an offset spatula or the back of a large spoon to spread across. Let the excess go onto the sides and then spread additional frosting along the side of the cake until covered. 

No comments:

Post a Comment