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Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Banana-shaped Chocolate Banana Cake

I've been on a baking dry spell recently. My mind has been filled with tons of ideas, but because of the failure of my matcha macarons and mango souffle earlier in the week, I've been a little sian or wary of trying new recipes. People always say that it's okay to fail, but maybe because I've always been a results-oriented person, I get particularly dejected when something I imagine inside my head doesn't translate into what I am baking. This puts me off baking for quite some time, until something I see gets stuck in my head again and I decide to bake it, knowing that the worse I can do is to fail, which I've already done anyway. Thing is, the pantry is running dry, literally. The flour has been running out and so has a number of other ingredients, and I've been too lazy to get out to stock up the pantry. So I'll have to wait for the weekend until my mom is willing to buy them for me. 

The original cake in Rose's book, Rose's Heavenly Cakes, was actually a chocolate banana stud cake - chocolate cake which had a banana flavour, and with chocolate studs (or chips) decorating the exterior. It really is quite a pretty looking cake, but I wanted the end product to be more banana-y (if there's such a word), and I thought, why not add banana slices into the banana and present the cake as a banana too! This was actually made some time ago, as it was meant to be a surprise for Jon who especially likes bananas and the color yellow :] This was my first attempt at cutting cakes into shapes and second attempt at doing a ganache exterior, so the result's still pretty messy =/

BANANA chocolate cake :]

Chocolate Banana Cake
Adapted from Rose's Heavenly Cakes
Makes an 8 inch round cake 

Janine's jots: 
  • Taste: The banana taste isn't too obvious actually - the cake should be able to hold at least twice as much banana. Be sure to use good quality cocoa, because the cocoa is really the star of the cake. 
  • Texture: The cake is not as light as a sponge cake, but not as dense as butter cakes or brownies. It isn't too heavy - which some chocolate cakes are. 
  • Storage: The cake keeps well in the fridge - just be sure to let it cool to room temperature before consuming. 
  • Would I make this again? Definitely! The recipe is really easily adaptable - I did the same recipe at least twice more, in the form of cupcakes and they tasted equally heavenly. The amount below makes about 8 cupcakes. 
  • Modifications: The only thing is that the original recipe calls for a whole lot of sugar, but I've reduced this to a mere 70g in my adaption below. My cakes tend to be less sweet than normal, so do increase this up to 100g if you like a sweeter cake. 


21 g unsweetened cocoa powder
44 g boiling water
56 g large ripe banana, peeled and mashed (about half a banana)
Slices of banana (the remaining half of the banana)
45 g sour cream
50 g egg (about 1 large egg)
½ tsp vanilla extract
78 g all purpose flour
70 g sugar
½ tsp baking soda
3/8 tsp baking powder
1/8 tsp salt
70 g butter, softened

  1. Mix the cocoa and water: In a medium bowl, whisk the cocoa and boiling water until smooth. Cool to room temperature before using.
  2. Preheat the oven: Set an oven rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat the oven to 175°C.
  3. Mix the liquid ingredients: Mash the banana together with the sour cream until smooth. Add in the cocoa mixture, egg and vanilla extract and mix well.
  4. Make the batter: In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater, mix the flour, sugar, baking soda, baking powder, and salt on low speed for 30 seconds. Add the butter and half the banana-cocoa mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Raise the speed to medium and beat for 1.5 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl. Starting on medium-low speed, gradually add the remaining banana-cocoa mixture in two parts, beating on medium speed for 30 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and strengthen the structure. The batter will be light but creamy. Using a silicone spatula, scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface evenly with a small offset spatula. You can add in banana slices into the batter at this point. 
  5. Bake the cake: Bake for 30 minutes, or until a wire cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the center. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.
  6. Cool and unmold the cake: Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Run a spatula between the sides of the pan and the cake, pressing firmly against the pan, and invert the cake onto a wire rack that has been coated lightly with nonstick cooking spray. To prevent splitting, reinvert the cake so that the top side is up. Cool completely.

Chocolate ganache
110 g dark chocolate, chopped (60% cacao)
110 ml heavy whipping cream
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
  1. Chop the chocolate into fine pieces and place into a bowl.
  2. Scald the cream in a saucepan (small bubbles will form around the edges).
  3. Pour the cream onto the chopped chocolate and whisk rapidly. Add in the vanilla extract at the same time. 
  4. Allow the ganache to cool to room temperature until the mixture reaches a frosting consistency.
Tip: The ganache stores well in the fridge - Rose recommends keeping it for a maximum of 3 weeks refrigerated and 6 months frozen.

Whipped cream topping
Makes enough to frost at least 3 'bananas'

55ml heavy cream
½ tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp confectioners’ sugar
½ tsp yellow coloring
  1. In a large bowl, whip the cream until soft peaks form. 
  2. Gradually add in the vanilla extract, yellow coloring and sugar until stiff peaks form.

Assembling the cake
  1. When the cake is completely cool, cut your desired shapes from the cake. Be sure to cut two of the same shape so that you can stack them up. 
  2. Spread the cooled ganache on either side of the banana shapes before sandwiching them together. You can add more sliced bananas here if you wish for a more banana-y taste :]
  3. Add more ganache all around the sides and top of the cake - this will be your crumb coating. Put the cake into the freezer for about 5-10 minutes and continue with a second coat of ganache. 
  4. Using a spatula, add some of the yellow whipped cream onto the top of your banana cake and you're done!

Mix the cocoa with the boiling water - this really helps the cocoa powder bloom and achieve maximum flavor. 
Once you get a smooth paste, add in your mashed banana and sour cream, egg and vanilla extract. 
Pour the batter into a greased pan. You can choose to add banana slices if you wish. Use a spatula to smooth the top of the cake, otherwise you'll end up with bumpy bits like I did :/
The cake is baking in the lower third rack of my oven =]
I've cut out two (almost) identical banana shapes from the cooled cake. 
Apply the chocolate ganache onto either side of the banana shape. Line up more slices of banana if you desire. 
Sandwich both sides together and apply the first layer of crumb coating. This will ensure that the second layer of ganache will go on properly without crumbs sticking to it.  
The end product, complete with ganache and yellow whipped cream. Looks almost like a real banana no? ;]

I'll be submitting this for Aspiring Bakers #5 : Fruity March (March 2011) hosted by Jess of Bakericious!  


CaThY said...

This is so cute! I love the banana shaped cake. I thought you used a banana mould. hehehe. looks so inviting :)

Unknown said...

this looks familiar

ann low said...

You're so creative! Nice job :)

j3ss kitch3n said...

cute!! well done!

Anonymous said...

Hahaha! Soo Cute! maybe you should add some streaks of black like how a banana has?

Bakertan said...

hey janine,

Thats really interesting! I though the yellow frosting is buttercream. Turns out to be yellow whipped cream.

Well its really ok to fail when it comes to baking. You haven't seen me failing. The more I fail, the more I want to get it corrected. Now, I have conquered bakes like chiffon and swiss rolls, which used to be quite problematic for me.

Actually I'm glad sometimes my bakes don't turn out as well as they should be. These are vualuable experiences/ opportunities for me, and I will relate these experiences to what is written in articles or books. Well, you don't fail, you'll never learn. At least thats what I believe.. in baking that is.. =]

hanushi said...

You have a lot of patience and well done! :)

The Sweetylicious said...

hey janine! i felt the same way when i failed making what i wanted to bake too. i wouldnt say is okay to fail because it just dont feel that way. but i would tell you to try it again (: at least you attempted souffle but i've NOT. you can give me advice and tips on how to not fail it after you tried again (: it surely feels great!
anyways, i LOVE your creativity! the cake is NICE! i wouldnt be able to do it like you do (:

Cuisine Paradise said...

Wow Janine!!!! Cannot resists giving this abite :) Lovely cake u have there.

Janine said...

@cathy, ellena, hanushi, jess, anncoo: thanks :)

@bakertan: yup i do know that failures are valuable, and I do learn from them. but it's just that sometimes, i just think it's a huge waste of food (esp if it's not nice to eat) and i feel so bad having to throw it away :(

@jasmine: thanks for sharing about your own experience :) i guess that's one of my reasons for starting a blog - to learn from experiences of others as well as to let others know of my own experiences :)

The Sweetylicious said...

congrats! i've got award for you. pick it up from my blog (:

Little Inbox said...

Chocolate and banana are perfectly match!

Xiaolu said...

How cute is this? I was just about to say that I have that book and would've remembered such a wonderful presentation. Way to be creative for your friend!

Allie said...

This is sooo cute! I'm a huge fan of Rose's and her recipes always yield good results! You did a fantastic job here, it looks really delicious!

Awayofmind Bakery Hoiuse said...

Janine, this cake is super cool! You are creative!

Janine said...

@jasmine: thanks for the award! now I need to think of random things about myself and award it to other ppl :)

@little inbox: yup i totally agree!

@xiaolu: thanks! I was just looking at the real bananas lying on the counter and the idea occurred to me then ;p

@allie: yes I'm a huge fan of Rose too! I've two of her books and I want more to complete my collection!

@ah tze: thanks :)

shaz said...

Ha ha ha ha,this is the funniest post I've seen in a while. I love Rose's recipes, I have the Cake Bible which I use, um, religiously :). Wish my family ate bananas but sadly they dislike it very much.

My Little Space said...

Oh boy, I'm drooling here! I'll be a total spoil if I can have this right now. Thanks for sharing it.

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