Tuesday, 3 July 2007

Baby Banana Cakes with Chocolate Fudge Swirls

It was Sunday afternoon and I had spent most of the previous week planning what to make to take to work for the Monday Munchers. I decided to make mini banana muffins and to top them with a chocolate icing. Only it didn’t go quite as planned and I had to have a quick rethink. I didn’t have any mini muffin cases but I had looked at Asda’s online shopping page and found that they sold them. Perfect, I thought, I can go there Sunday morning and buy some. So off I went, only to find that not only did they not have any, but they don’t even stock them in that store, despite it being a big one. It seems not everything listed online is available in the shops. Grrr. I walked home again and even called in an a little Co-op in the hope they might have them, but no such luck.

Upon arriving home I decided I would just have to make something else instead. But after flicking through a few recipe books nothing else appealed. I had had my heart set on the mini banana muffins. I had even bought a banana and let it go brown and mushy specially. I decided to improvise and to make the banana cake recipe anyway but to cook it in a swiss roll tin and then stamp out circles of cake and sandwich them together using the icing I had planned as a topping. I wasn’t sure how it would work out and I didn’t have the right sized tin. I spread the batter out to a reasonable thickness that just covered ¾ of the tin and hoped for the best. (I used a 30x40cm tin but only used about a 30x30cm surface).

It cooked surprisingly evenly and remained lovely and moist. I was able to stamp out a good number of cake circles using a biscuit cutter and sandwiched them together with my favourite chocolate icing. It’s a recipe by Nigella Lawson that I have adapted slightly. It produces a really rich, chocolaty icing that remains soft and fudgey in texture.

These baby banana cakes are very cute and absolutely delicious. Moist, light and flavoursome with the rich, fudgey, intensely chocolaty icing complementing the banana flavour wonderfully. Being so small they are easy to hold and only about two bites big, meaning that even people on a diet feel they can have one and that people not on a diet can eat two or three without feeling guilty. They’re only small afterall! I think these turned out looking better than the mini muffins would have done. They were joyfully received at work and were pronounced “the best yet.” The little diamond shaped ones you can see in the photo are the off cuts from stamping out the circles, I used them too as I thought they were equally attractive.

If you have any of the icing leftover it’s wonderful for cakes, spreading on bread instead of Nutella or melting and pouring over ice cream, pancakes or waffles. If you double the recipe, you will have enough to fill and completely cover an 8inch/20cm layer cake.

Baby Banana Cakes with Chocolate Fudge Swirls
For the cake
1 large overripe banana
75g butter or margarine
60g soft brown sugar
150g self raising flour
½ tsp baking powder
½ tsp cinnamon
1 egg
40ml vegetable oil

For the chocolate icing
35g butter
75g dark chocolate
½ tbsp runny honey
140g icing sugar
50ml double cream
½ tsp vanilla

Method
Preheat the oven to 180C. Get a dry, non stick swiss roll tin ready.
Peel the banana and mash with a fork until very soft and mushy.
Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Beat in the banana mush, followed by the egg and vanilla until just combined.
Sift in the flour, cinnamon and baking powder and work everything together in a folding motion. I find a spatula works best.
Finally add the oil and beat until well incorporated.
Pour the cake mixture into the tin, and smooth out into an even layer.
Bake for 10-12 minutes until golden brown and springy when pressed.
Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling wrack.

Meanwhile, prepare the icing.
Brake the chocolate into pieces and add to a pan along with the butter and honey.
Melt gently over a low heat, stirring when it all starts melting. Remove from the heat when a few lumps still remain and allow to cool slightly while finishing melting.
Pour the chocolate mixture into a large bowl and stir in the vanilla.
Sift a few tablespoons of icing into the chocolate and beat/stir together until all the sugar has been incorporated. Repeat until all the sugar has been used up. The icing will be quite thick at this point.
Then pour over the double cream and beat until all combined and glossy.
Leave to cool and thicken while preparing the rest of the cake.

Take the cooled cake and place on a clean work surface.
Stamp out small discs of cake using a 4cm cutter. Try to get as many circles out of the cake as you can.
Match the cake discs into pairs and place back on the cooling wrack.
Once the icing has cooled to room temperature, place into a piping bag complete with a small star nozzle.
Pipe a swirl of icing onto the underside of one of the discs in each pair. Top with the second cake circle so that it faces top side up.
Pipe another swirl of chocolate icing on top of the sandwiched cakes. Repeat with rest of the cakes.
Makes 14 baby sandwiched cakes or 28 discs.

2 comments:

gigi said...

Wow! Great improvise! The baby cakes look absolutely fab! I am sure your co-workers were quite happy.

s.j.simon said...

lol. did you know that chocolate was banned in switzerland for many years. read this