Are you going Bananas over this heat?
Los Angeles has been like an inferno these past couple of days making me extremely lazy and not willing to leave my house making Netflix and Chill really mean something different to me, literally. Seeing as how the sun has made its grand entrance into our lives, what is summer without desserts?
This week, by the request of my cousin, I made Chocolate Nutella cake with fresh bananas, but I really wanted to do something different with this one. Banana is such an underrated flavor that we sometimes forget just how light and summery the taste is. Unlike other recipes I found online, I really wanted to try something different. I recently tried English toffee and was inspired from the unique flavor and richness of the toffee.
Chocolate Banana Toffee Cake
Electric stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (a handheld on works great too!)
Mixing Bowls (2 is good)
Cake pans (for this recipe I used 2 9"x3" round cake pans
Chocolate Nutella Cake (Sourced from Yolanda Gampps, How to cake it)
2 3/4 cups of All Purpose flour
2 cups of granulated sugar
2 tsp of baking powder
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1 tsp of table salt
4 large eggs, at room temperature
1 cups Cocoa Powder
1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 1/2 tablespoons of Nutella
American Buttercream (recipe from Chelsweets)
4 sticks or 2 cups (434 grams) unsalted butter, room temperature
8 cups (907 grams) powdered sugar
1/2 tsp (3 grams) salt
2 Tbsp (30 grams) heavy cream
3 tsp (12 grams) vanilla
Toffee Filling/ Dulce de leche ( Sourced from Serious Eats)
1 (14-ounce) can of sweetened condensed milk, label removed
To speed up the toffee process:
*I advise you to make the "toffee filling" a day in advanced.
Place the can on its side in a large pot.
Fill the pot with water, making sure the water level is at least 2 inches above the can.
Set pot over high heat and allow to come to a simmer. Reduce heat and simmer for 2 hours (yes 2 hours, that is why I suggest you do this a day before)
Check the pot every 30 minutes and make sure the water level is always above the can, if it isn't you can add boiling water as needed to top it off.
Carefully removed the can from the water and set to FULLY cool to room temperature. It is really important for the can to fully cool before opening otherwise it may explode due to heat and pressure.
Chocolate Nutella Cake:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (duh right) & line the bottom of each cake pan with parchment paper. A good way to ensure you cut the parchment to the correct size is to trace the pan on a large sheet of parchment and cut it to size from the tracing.
Sift the flour, baking powder,baking soda, and salt into a bowl and whisk together. Set it aside.
Put the cocoa powder in a medium heat proof bowl. Bring 3 cups of water to a boil, the carefully (here is where I burn myself) measure exactly 2 cups and pour over the cocoa powder and whisk until smooth. Set aside to cool.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until the mixture looks fluffy. (they say about 8 mins but I don't have time for that)
Add the eggs two at a time beating until each addition is well mixed. You can use your spatula now to scrape down the sides of the bowl, if necessary.
Adding the dry and wet ingredients:
Add the flour mixture in 4 parts, alternating with the warm cocoa mixture in 3 parts, beating just until each addition is mixed well before adding the next, try not to over mix it.
Bake for 40 mins or until a toothpick inserted in the middle of the pan comes out clean.
*half way through the baking time rotate the pans in the oven so they bake evenly*
Once fully baked, transfer to a wire rack or set them aside to cool completely. I always store my cakes in the fridge or you can plastic wrap and freeze them.
To make the American Buttercream:
Beat the butter on a medium speed for 30 seconds with a paddle attachment, until smooth.
Slowly add in the powdered sugar, 1 cup at a time. Alternate with small splashes of cream.
Once fully mixed, add in the vanilla and salt, and beat on low until the ingredients are fully incorporated, and the desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, add in additional cream (1 teaspoon at a time).
If the frosting is too thin, add in more powdered sugar (quarter of a cup at a time).
Mash the Bananas:
Once you have made your American Buttercream, set about 1- 1/2 cups aside.
In a bowl, peel (obvii) and mash your bananas with a fork until there are no chunks of banana (lumps are okay, we do not discriminate here )
Add the buttercream to the banana mixture and with a spatula, slowly fold in the banana into the buttercream.
**FYI: I actually tried this with my stand mixer and major fail! Don't do that because the oils from the banana separated my buttercream and I had to start all over again...
Stack and frost layers:
On a 10 inch, grease-proof, cardboard cake round. Frost a ring of American Buttercream around the perimeter of the layer, and add a generous scoop of the toffee filling into the center of the layer. Then add sliced bananas.
Repeat with remaining layers, being careful as the toffee filling and bananas try to escape from the borders so move quickly and refrigerate in between if you need to.
Cover the cake in a thin crumb coat with buttercream, and chill in the freezer or fridge for about 5 minutes (I did 10 mins in my fridge).
Once the crumb coat is firm to the touch, add a second layer of buttercream and smooth using a bench scraper.
Crumb coating is a good way to lock in all the crumbs.
The Finishing Touches:
I finished off the cake with a border of banana chips (Trader Joe's has them for less than 2$) and on top I did some star dollops with the Wilton 1M tip and a piping bag. In the center I used up the rest of toffee and did a fun swirly effect with an offset spatula going in a circle around my cake.