Sunday, February 8, 2015

public service announcement: banana cake with chocolate ganache icing

Oops! I just discovered this in my draft posts… we made this cake again last night for Eldest's birthday party today. When I went to link to the recipe, I couldn't find it… anyways, here it is. The recipe is so well-loved by us that the book, which was pretty much pristine when I bought it, has come apart at the seams at just this recipe.

This post is way, way overdue. Last May, a few days before Youngest's birthday, I didn't know what kind of cake to make him. He had all kinds of requests, not all of them coherent or applicable to most cakes I knew about. So I was a bit stumped. My usual standby is carrot cake with cream cheese icing, but we can't tolerate cream cheese anymore.

Then in a usual spin around my favourite thrift store, I discovered The Cake Bible, a few days before his birthday. I decided to try the Cordon Rose Banana Cake with the recommended Sour Cream Ganache. I was a bit skeptical about a banana cake with lemon zest AND vanilla, but it was amazing, and worked great with gluten-free flour. And the icing… it is now my favourite icing. To me it seems so decadent and rich and fancy, but it only has two ingredients: melted bittersweet chocolate (lots of it) and sour cream. I cannot recommend this recipe enough.

It so happens that my husband baked this for me on my Boxing Day birthday this year, and it was such a treat. So here is the recipe.

(This picture is from Nana's birthday last September… we made it for her too.)
Cordon Rose Banana Cake
1 cup mashed ripe bananas
2 tablespoons sour cream
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons grated lemon zest
1.5 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups sifted cake flour (we just use our own all-purpose, gluten-free mix)
3/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 tablespoons softened, unsalted butter

1 9x2 inch cake pan or 9-inch springform pan, greased, bottom lined with parchment, and then greased again and floured

Preheat the oven to 350F. Mix the banana and sou cream until smooth. Add the eggs, lemon zest, vanilla and mix briefly just to blend. (The book says to use a food processor but I just use our mixer.)

In a large mixing bowl, combine the dry ingredients and mix on low speed for 30 seconds to blend. Add the butter and half the banana mixture. Mix on low speed until the dry ingredients are moistened. Increase to medium speed (high speed if using a hand mixer) and beat for 1.5 minutes to aerate and strengthen the cake's structure. Scrape down the sides. Gradually add the remaining banana mixture in two batches, beating for 20 seconds after each addition to incorporate the ingredients and develop the structure. Scrape down the sides.

Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the surface with a spatula. Bake 30 to 40 minutes or until a wire cake tester inserted in the centre, comes out clean and the cake springs back when pressed lightly in the centre. The cake should start to shrink from the sides of the pan only after removal from the oven.

Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 10 minutes. Loosen the sides with a small metal spatula and unsold or remove the sides of the springform pan. Allow the cake to cool completely before wrapping airtight.

Sour Cream Ganache
12 ounces of bittersweet chocolate
1 2/3 cups of sour cream

In a double boiler set over hot water or in a microwave on high power, stirring every 10 seconds, melt the chocolate. Remove from the heat and add the sour cream. Stir with a rubber spatula until uniform in colour. Use at once or store, and when ready to use soften by placing the bowl in a water bath or a microwave for a few seconds, stirring gently.

(The first time we made this cake for Youngest… we also made the blueberry sauce in the book, because he wanted the cake to have blue on it.)

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