Sunday, October 3, 2010

Going Bananas for Chocolate

We all reminisce on those days when the simple things were all that mattered: swings sets, grilled cheese sandwiches, snow angels, etc. One favorite staple of my childhood was chocolate banana pops. Granted, that favorite confection has been revisited with chocolate fondues and such, but it's the concept of marrying chocolate with bananas that I'm aiming for here. It's simple, yet irresistible. When I discovered that my friend Zach loves bananas, I knew I had to find a way to utilize this flavor combination for his birthday cake. As such, I unearthed this amazing recipe: Chocolate Banana Cake with White Chocolate Frosting and Chocolate Ganache. 
This recipe has been on my "to-do" list for quite some time. The flavor profiles are profuse, making it a more interesting, colorful dessert than its cousin - the chocolate banana pop. Yet the concept of chocolate and banana is the inspiration here, and both white and dark chocolate have keys roles in this recipe. The cake, a spin on your classic sour cream chocolate cake, is extremely rich and delicious. I do have a small confession - the recipe calls for 3/4 cup of butter, and being highly distracted by the beautiful October morning and scent of fall (my favorite season) I used a whole stick! The cake was still amazing, so I can only credit one of my favorite Southern butter lovers, Paula Deen: “Butter is a very, very beautiful thing." 
This is a highly labor intensive cake, and requires a large amount of downtime (for allowing the cakes to cool, the frosting to set, and more). If the idea interests you, though, this cake would be just as effective in a deconstructed form: cake slices with dollops of frosting and ganache drizzled on top. I mention this because I myself encountered difficulties in assembly - the frosting, have a whipped cream base, is very fragile and doesn't set quite as well as a cream cheese or buttercream frosting. I believe this was partially my fault from over-beating the cream. Additionally, the ganache makes the cake a bit top heavy, so balance also becomes an issue. The photo below illustrates my quandary - nonetheless, this cake is DELICIOUS and I highly recommend it to anyone who misses the classic from their childhood.
Chocolate Banana Cake with White Chocolate Frosting and Chocolate Ganache 
Adapted from Canadian Living Magazine
Serves 12-14 


- 3/4 cup butter, softened

- 1 cup sugar

- 3 eggs

- 1 1/t tsp vanilla

- 1/2 cup sour cream

- 3 cups cake flour
 (I used, as always, loosely-measure all-purpose flour, leaving about 1/2 inch at top) 
- 1 1/2 tsp baking soda

- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped
 (I used Baker's)
- 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas

White Chocolate Icing:

- 3 cups whipping cream

- 10 oz white chocolate, chopped
 (I used white chocolate chips) 
- 1 tsp vanilla

Dark Chocolate Ganache:

- 1/2 cup whipping cream

- 4 oz semi-sweet chocolate, chopped


- 4 bananas, sliced

- 1 oz melted chocolate

For cake: Grease two 8 1/2 inch cake pans, then line with parchment paper and grease and flour. Cream butter and sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Beat in sour cream and banana. Combine flour, baking soda and chocolate. Add in 3 additions to creamed mixture. Mix until wet.

 Spoon into cake pans. Bake at 350F for 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool on rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pans. Let cool completely.

For white chocolate icing: In sauce pan, bring half of cream to a boil, pour over chocolate in bowl, whisking until melted. Add vanilla. Chill until cooled (1 hour, whisking often).

 Beat chocolate and cream just until ridges hold shape. Beat remaining cream just until soft peaks form. Gently fold cream into chocolate cream. 

For assembly: Slice cakes in half horizontally. Spread each layer with about 3/4 cup of white chocolate icing and a layer of sliced bananas. Using a palette knife cover cake with a remaining icing and chill until firm (about 1 1/2 hours).

For ganache: bring 1/2 cup cream to a boil, pour over chocolate. Whisk until melted and let cool 20 minutes until room temperature but still pourable. Pour over cake, letting some run down the sides.
 Drizzle melted chocolate over remaining banana slices and arrange on top of cake.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

This looks fabulous.

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