We celebrated Chub’s birthday this week. I bought him a very pretty and tiny coffee machine; and I’ve been travelling on the train with my pretty new travel mug full of a mood enhancing cappuccino every morning since. We went out for dinner. And we ate cake. So really, it’s kind of felt like my birthday too although the best part is that I didn’t turn a year older. Happy birthday Greig!
This cake has been in my head for a while, I tried well before Christmas to make it; but me and that cake didn’t get on. It fell on it’s side and it was ugly. It tasted nice but it needed some work. I sent it off on the bus with my sister to bring to her day centre and I’m sure it got even uglier on its journey there. But everyone still liked it so I knew I had to try it again.
- To do ahead, make the cake up to a day ahead and wrap tightly in clingfilm and store in an airtight box. The icing can also be made a day ahead and stored in the fridge, although allow to warm up to room temperature slightly before using or it will be too stiff to pipe with.
- I found the caramel flavour to be very slight, so if I was doing it again, I would increase the caramel by half and add another 100g of icing sugar to keep the icing stiff.
- If you feel intimidated by making the caramel, or just want to cut out a step, use 150g dulce de leche or caramel sauce instead.
- If I had smooth peanut butter in the cupboard, I would have added 2 tbsp of it to the chocolate ganache for some added flavour.
- Banana cake adapted from Rachel Allen’s ‘Cake’
2.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
350g caster sugar
210 ml of sunflower / vegetable oil, plus extra for greasing
370g (weight after peeling) bananas, mashed
3 large eggs
75ml natural yogurt
1.5 tsp vanilla extractMethodPreheat the oven to 180 degrees or 160 degrees fan.Grease and line two 8inch / 20cm diameter circular cake pans. (One pan should be at least 8cm in depth)In a large bowl, sift the flour, baking soda and bicarbonate of soda together and add the sugar.
In a separate large bowl, whisk together the oil, bananas, eggs, yogurt and vanilla extract.
Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined.
Add one third of the batter to the smaller of the pans and the remaining two thirds of the batter to the larger tin.
Bake on the same shelf in the preheated oven. If it’s not possible to bake on the same shelf, put the smaller tin on lower shelf and the larger on the middle shelf. Start checking the smaller pan at 25-28 mins, a skewer should come out without any batter stuck to it and remove it from the oven. Start checking the larger pan at 45 mins.
After each of the cake layers have been out of the oven for 10 minutes, run a knife around the outside of the cake and gently remove from the tin and leave on a wire rack to cool. When cool wrap both layers in clingfilm. Place the larger cake in the freezer to firm up.
Caramel Cream Cheese Icing
100g granulated sugar
100ml single or double cream
250g full fat cream cheese, at room temperature
110g butter, at room temperature
500g icing sugar, sifted
First make the caramel, place the granulated sugar in a heavy based saucepan over a medium heat. If any sugar gets on the sides of the pan, brush it down with a pastry brush. The sugar will start to melt and will turn an amber colour, keep swirling the pan, do not stir. Add the cream, it will bubble and hiss a lot, keep whisking it in. Strain the caramel through a metal sieve into a bowl and leave to cool.
Beat the butter and cream cheese together until well combined. Gradually start adding the icing sugar in stages until it is well combined. Add the caramel. Beat for about 5 minutes. Put a Wilton 1M shaped nozzle at the bottom of a disposable piping bag and fill the bag with the icing. Place in the fridge for about 2 hours to firm up.
125g dark chocolate
60ml single or double cream
1tbs corn syrup or golden syrup
Add all ingredients to a bowl and place over a saucepan of simmering water. Don’t allow the water to touch the bottom of the bowl. Stir occasionally until you have a smooth ganache. Remove from the heat and allow to cool.
Place four rectangles of greaseproof or baking paper over the base of the cake stand. Take the larger cake from the freezer and cut in half using a long serrated knife. Place the first layer of the cake on the cake stand and spread a layer of icing over it. Repeat with the second layer and finally add the third layer. Spread a thin layer of icing around the cake, covering the sides and top. This is known as the crumb layer, it catches all the crumbs that come loose from the cake and stops them running into the final layer. Leave in the fridge to set for 20 minutes. Once set, take the cake out of the fridge and do another thin layer of icing, this should hide the crumbs showing through. Start to pipe roses, I did a few a large one and then two smaller ones, fill in the gaps with stars or swirls of icing. Once the sides are covered, pour the ganache on top of the cake and try and encourage it to pour down the sides into the gaps of the piping. Remove the paper from under the cake carefully. Leave to set in the fridge.