The Cake Slice April 2010: Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
When April’s winning cake was announced I was happy but not overly excited. Banana cake with chocolate frosting… sounds nice but pretty standard. The banana cake didn’t even have any nuts, chocolate chips or spices in it, so I was feeling rather nonplussed when I set about making this cake. All that changed when it came to tasting it though.
I didn’t want a large cake this month and so I halved the recipe and baked it in my latest baking tin purchase – do you know what one of these is?
It’s an éclair tin! Apparently you pipe the choux pastry into the tin and end up with perfectly shaped éclairs. However, me being me didn’t buy it to make éclairs – I bought it with the sole intention of using it to bake interesting shaped cakes! This month’s recipe was the perfect excuse to try it out and half the recipe filled the moulds perfectly.
The banana batter baked up lovely and springy and pleasingly golden brown. I could tell before they were even finished baking that I was on to a winner. I tasted a little of the raw mix and it was very light and creamy and obviously banana flavoured. I hate cakes that claim to be banana but have only the merest hint of banana, not so with this mix. If anything the lack of extra additions, that I was grumpy about earlier, actually let the banana shine through and be the star of the show.
I loved the shape of the cakes once they had finished baking, each one the perfect one person portion but much more interesting than a regular cupcake or loaf pan shape.
My frosting gave me a few problems. It was meant to be thick and spreadable but even after letting it cool it was still quite sticky and gooey. I tried spreading it as a middle layer inside one of the cakes but this just made it slide around and so I decided against doing a middle layer and instead used the frosting to coat the entire top and sides of the cakes. This worked well and the frosting actually set into a thick chocolate coating glaze.
In order to jazz them up a bit I melted some white chocolate and did a few arty drizzles over the top which I think makes them look much more elegant and rather like éclairs – only much more tasty in my book.
The flavour of the cake was wonderful. Very intensely banana with the sweet chocolate frosting being a perfect contrast. It wasn’t too thick or rich and provided a great outer shell to the sponge and helped keep them moist. The sponge itself was very light and springy and incredibly moist thanks to the use of buttermilk in the cake. So what started out as potentially being a bit of a plain Jane, turned into an unexpectedly delicious cake. Hurrah!
Click to see my fellow Cake Slice Bakers. Banana Cake with Chocolate Frosting
(Recipe from Southern Cakes by Nancie McDermott)
40g cocoa powder
85ml evaporated milk or normal milk
500g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
* If you don’t have buttermilk you can make your own by stirring 1½ teaspoons of vinegar or lemon juice into 110ml of milk and leaving for 10 minutes.
Heat the oven to 180C. Grease and flour two 9 inch cake pans. Combine the flour, bicarbonate of soda, baking powder and salt in a medium bowl and stir with a fork to combine well.
In a large bowl, combine the butter and sugar and beat well, about 2 minutes. Add the eggs, one by one, and then the vanilla. Beat well for 2 to 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally until you have a smooth batter.
Using a large spoon, stir in half the flour just until it disappears into the batter. Stir in the buttermilk and then the remaining flour the same way. Quickly and gently fold in the mashed banana and then divide the batter between the 2 cake pans.
Bake at 180C for 25 to 30 minutes until the cakes are golden brown, spring back when touched lightly in the centre, and begin to pull away from the sides of the pan.
Cool for 10 minutes in the pans on wire racks. Then turn out onto the racks to cool completely.
Combine the butter, cocoa and evaporated milk in a medium saucepan. Place over medium heat and bring to a gentle boil. Cook, stirring often for about 5 minutes, until the cocoa dissolves into a dark shiny essence. Remove from the heat and stir in the icing sugar and vanilla. Beat with a mixer at low speed until you have a thick smooth frosting.
Place one layer, top side down, on a cake plate and spread about a third of frosting evenly over the top. Cover with the second layer placed top side up. Spread the rest of the frosting evenly first over the sides and then covering the top of the cake.