Tuesday, 20 April 2010

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)
Banana Cake
240g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
¼ tsp salt
150g butter, softened
300g caster sugar
3 eggs, lightly beaten
1 tsp vanilla extract
110ml buttermilk*
300g mashed ripe banana

Chocolate Frosting
100g butter
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.

Banana Cake
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.

Chocolate Frosting
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.

To Assemble
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.
Makes 1 x 9inch cake. Serves 10-12

38 comments:

Jo (sparkly green knickers) said...

Sounds like a really yummy cake, but I think the star of this blog post is the eclair tin! Love it, hope to find one here in Australia!

Monica H said...

I love these! They're like Twinkies only much better. I used mine as a glaze too but it never set up. I think the cake was delciious and so was the frosting but it seems as though everyone's frosting turned out a little different.

Brownieville Girl said...

I have been looking for a really good banana cake recipe (without any additions) - this looks like it. Thanks:}

Your little cakettes look wonderful.

Joy said...

Cutest banana cakes I have ever seen!

steph- whisk/spoon said...

here in the states they sell those tins as twinkie pans! i have one, actually, but it doesn't get much use. this was a fantastic idea--i'll have to keep this in mind!

Jo said...

Katie, I love how you've transformed a normal cake into something special. Reminds me of eclairs. Truly ingenious. Love the pictures.

Smitten Sugar said...

These turned out adorable! Love the shape of the cakes, they look like twinkies! I made mine into cupcakes and brought them to work today, my post will be up shortly!

Brandy L said...

Oh my goodness, this looks so good! I want them and that pan. :D Awesome job.

symphonious sweets said...

I must have that tin! Your little cakes are the perfect snack cake size! so cute!

Baking Addict said...

This looks really amazing. Loved how creative you've been. Absolutely love the shape of the cakes. Where did you get the tin?

The Bahens said...

Gorgeous results! My frosting turned out great; I'm always amused at the different results we all get, even though we're using the same recipe!!

OvenDelights said...

I want one these pans, so cute!! These are perfect for bagged lunches!

Liss said...

Oh I love the pans! Where do you get those?! The cakes look gorgeous -well done!

Chele said...

How profesh Katie! I'm liking the unique use of the eclair tin too - going to have to steal this idea ... and the recipe too lol

BumbleVee said...

They are absolutely beautiful looking.... love how the glaze worked out.... perfect!

Future Grown-Up said...

These look amazing! Seriously yummy and gorgeous. I love how eye catching they are.

And now of course I'm thinking I need an eclair pan too.

Allison said...

My mom bought one of those pans to make Twinkies! I love how your little cakes turned out. Its such a creative and unexpected way to present the cake. I might need to get one of those pans now.

Katie said...

Hi Baking Adict & Lizz,
I got the eclair tin from T.K.MAX. I think they used to be sold by Lakeland but not sure if they still are. Searching online for one might be the best best.

Thanks for all the kind comments everyone :)

natalia said...

Ciao ! I love your new mold !! Your mini bananas are really wonderful looking !!

The Caked Crusader said...

These look amazing - from the shape of the cakes to your snazzy white chocolate decoration. Extremely professional and - more importantly - extremely delish!

Nicisme said...

Those cakes are beautiful Katie. I've seen the tins and thought that they would end up in the bottom drawer after 1 use, did you try eclairs in them yet?

C said...

They look lovely Katie, it's such a good feeling when a recipe you hadn't been expecting much of really delivers on flavour and texture.

I love the way they look - perfect individual sizes but more interesting than cupcakes, and you've reminded me that I bought the very same tin for exactly that reason but haven't got round to using it yet. Must think of something to make in it now. I got mine from Lakeland, but at least it was in their sale a while ago!

maryb said...

The recipe really looks delicious! But the pan!!!!!! I did buy online on ebay for Twinkies, it is called a canoe pan but looks exactly like your eclair pan, and being a baker who really likes precision what a great 'other' way to use this pan- Banana cakes AND eclairs!! GORGEOUS!

Anita said...

Your cakes look so cute! I've never seen a tin like that here... hmmm....

Rachel said...

Wow the mould and the end product is amazing...

Mary said...

Wow! How great are these! A must try!

xxMK

http://delightfulbitefuls.blogspot.com/

Maria said...

Banana and chocolate are the perfect combo!

oneordinaryday said...

You mean this isn't called a twinkie pan? Just adorable. Great take on the recipe.

Heavenly Housewife said...

Wow, aren't these just adorable! I love these. This is definitely going into my bookmarks. Thanks for sharing the recipe.
Wishing you a wonderful weekend ahead.
*kisses* HH

Joy said...

Hi Katie!

How are you? Thanks so much for getting back to me so quickly with your thoughts and much needed support. It was wonderful to hear from you, and I'm so glad to be back in action with CSB! (I just got my post up- I apologize that it's a bit past due... I got bogged down by a wicked sinus infection at the last minute!) I'd love for you to stop by and check out the finished results, if you get a chance.

Your banana cakes are TOO CUTE for words! I'm so jealous of that eclair pan (what a fantastic find... I feel like I absolutely must have one in my collection even though I've only made eclairs once!) Way to show a baking utensil's versatility- how creative of you! I think your glaze ended up looking more polished and beautiful than a thick frosting ever would, so it all worked out in the end :) And the white chocolate drizzle was a lovely touch.

Hope all is well across the pond! Have a great weekend and I can't wait to hear from you!

<3,
Joy

Leslie Limon said...

I am so jealous of your pan. I want one of those! :)

Your cakes are always so elegant, Katie.

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Oh wow. I am in Love with that tin. And how perfect your glaze looks!

Avanika [YumsiliciousBakes] said...

Oh wow. I am in Love with that tin. And how perfect your glaze looks!

Vanille said...

I like the finger shape of these little banana cakes !

jayasri said...

I too felt like that!!, I must have the tin!! they look great!!, such cuties I had never seen eclairs tin's they are so cute!!

Frisco Divorce Lawyer said...

Very nice baking ideas. Thanks a lot for sharing your talent. The banana cakes looks excellent.

Fakharuddin40 said...

Adorable and Gorgeous! It really looks very sweet and delicious. I will try it in my home.

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jhon paul said...

Waoooo this post is just awesome. In-fact I m going to tell all of my friends also. Very well post thanks for sharing...

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