Monday, 3 December 2018

Decadent Roasted Banana & Chocolate Celebration Cake (gluten free)


Looking for something decadent? A gluten free show-stopper that will be sure to turn heads? A cake fit for birthdays, Easter, Christmas and all special reasons in between? Then this Roasted Banana & Chocolate Celebration Cake may just be the one you need.


I made this three-layered stunner back in October for Mr GF's birthday, but the photos have been sitting on my computer ever since, awaiting editing. It just seems that time gets more and more squeezed and the blog is taking more and more of a back seat as other priorities jostle for position.


To be honest, I'm not sure it's just time... I seem to be falling out of love with the whole blog thing as blog world morphs into an increasingly competitive arena, where advertising and self-promotion take centre stage. I am not a person who naturally puts myself 'out there' and I have no desire to video and share my very mundane life on social media. When I started the blog, it was because I needed a place to record my gluten free recipes and bakes and I loved that it also meant I could share my growing wisdom with others. That hasn't changed, but blogging has and I question daily whether I have anything left to offer to a medium that is increasingly saturated. Right now, I am debating the best way to move forward.


But back to the cake... given that I had made it, I didn't want my tiny bit of creativity to go to waste.

Stacked with three layers of moist, fruity, banana sponge, this cake is sandwiched and covered with rich chocolate butter cream and decorated with dark, decadent chocolate ganache, dripped and hung with home-piped chocolate hearts and made extra special with pretty piping, broken cigarillos and chopped, crunchy banana chips. Need I say more?


Well actually, yes. The bananas have also been roasted in their skins for an extra intense banana hit. If you have never tried this, give it a try..... you will wonder why you have never done it before.

It isn't a quick cake to pull together (although the banana sponge is perfect 'naked' or just layered with a slather of buttercream), but if you want or need to make a showstopper that will drop jaws, it's definitely worth the effort.


It's not particularly tricky either. I honestly don't rate myself as much of a cake decorator and have little other than low-grade skill, but I reckon that patience, a couple of basic tools, a willingness to experiment and a bit of ganache and piping can pimp up pretty much anything.

I'm also a sucker for banana cake and thought it would make a nice change from the usual birthday flavours. It seemed to go down well, so I guess it wasn't a bad choice...


I am sharing my Decadent Roasted Banana & Chocolate Celebration Cake with :



Cook Blog Share with Recipes Made Easy
Love Cake with Jibber Jabber
Baking Crumbs with Apply To Face Blog & Jo's Kitchen Larder




Bake of the Week with Casa Costello and Mummy Mishaps
Cook Once Eat Twice with Searching for Spice
Fiesta Friday #253 with Angie, Spades Spatulas & Spoons and MilkandBun


What's For Dinner? with The Lazy Gastronome



Roasted Banana & Chocolate Celebration Cake (makes one 8 or 9 inch (20 to 23 cm), three-layer cake)

Ingredients

Roasted Banana Sponge
315g gluten free plain flour (I used GFA blend A from this post)
150g ground almonds
1½ teaspoons xanthan gum
2¼ teaspoons GF baking powder
1½ teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon fine sea salt
150g unsalted butter - softened
225g golden caster sugar
185 g soft, light brown sugar
3 large eggs - room temperature - lightly beaten
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
4 medium-large bananas (unpeeled) - roasted (see below)
260 ml buttermilk

Chocolate Heart Decorations
125g good quality dark chocolate - chopped

Chocolate Butter Icing
175g good quality dark chocolate - cut into small pieces
280g unsalted butter - room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
250g icing sugar (sifted)

Chocolate Ganache
200g good quality dark chocolate - chopped
150g/ml double cream

Decoration
a few broken chocolate cigarillos
chopped dried banana chips

Method

Sponge
  1.  Pre-heat the oven to 180 C/350 F/Gas 4. Base line your non-stick cake tins with baking paper.
  2. First roast your bananas in their skins (on a baking sheet lined with baking paper) until the skins are turning black (about 20 minutes). Leave to cool in the skins.
  3. Weigh and mix together the flour, almonds, xanthan gum, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt, making sure any lumps are broken down. (I weigh mine into an airtight container and shake vigorously). Set aside.
  4. Cream the butter and sugars together in a large bowl using an electric whisk until light and fluffy.
  5. In a separate bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork and then add a little at a time to the butter mixture, beating well after each addition. 
  6. Add and beat in the vanilla extract.
  7. Remove the banana flesh from inside the blackened skins and mash with a fork before folding gently into the wet mixture.
  8. Using a large spoon or spatula, gently fold in the buttermilk alternately with the flour mix about a third at a time, until the ingredients are just combined. Be careful not to over-mix. 
  9. Divide the batter evenly between cake tins and smooth the tops with the back of a spoon.
  10. Bake for 30 to 40 minutes until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the top springs back to the touch.
  11. Leave to cool in the tins for 5 to 10 minutes, before turning out onto wire racks to cool completely.
Chocolate Heart Decorations
(You will need a pointed sweet/sugar thermometer and either a fine-tipped decoration bottle or Decomat kit (mine is by Lekue)
  1. Line a couple of trays with non stick baking paper and set aside.
  2. Chop all the chocolate and weigh 80g into a glass, microwaveable/heatproof bowl. 
  3. Using either the microwave (at 30 second bursts, lessening as the chocolate temperature increases) or placing the bowl over a pan of gently simmering water, melt and heat the 80g chocolate to 40 C/104 F, stirring frequently.
  4. Remove from the heat immediately and add the rest of the chopped chocolate, stirring until smooth.
  5. Pour the chocolate into the decorating bottle and working quickly, pipe small hearts and spots onto the baking paper. 
  6. Leave to set at room temperature.
Chocolate Butter Icing
  1. Place the chocolate in a glass, heatproof bowl and melt either in the microwave (medium setting at 30 second bursts, stirring between each) or over a saucepan of gently simmering water, stirring frequently. Set aside to cool slightly.
  2. In a large bowl, beat together the softened butter, vanilla extract and icing sugar using an electric whisk until smooth. 
  3. Add the cooled, melted chocolate and continue to beat until thick and creamy.   
Chocolate Ganache (make the ganache only when you are ready to decorate the cake)
  1. Place the chopped chocolate into a medium heat-proof bowl and set aside.
  2. Pour the cream into a small saucepan and gently heat until almost simmering.
  3. Remove from the heat immediately and pour onto the chocolate.
  4. Allow to sit for 3 to 4 minutes and then gently stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the ganache is smooth.
  5. Allow the ganache to cool at room temperature, stirring intermittently until it reaches drip consistency.

Putting it all together

  1. Chill the sponges in the fridge for a couple of hours to give stability when decorating.
  2. Layer the sponges with chocolate butter icing.
  3. With the help of a palette knife and cake scraper, completely coat the cake with a layer of butter icing, using the palette knife to coat and the scraper to smooth into a thin, even layer.
  4. Chill the coated cake in the fridge to cool and stabilise the butter icing before the next stage.
  5. When the ganache has reached 'drip' consistency, pour into a decorating bottle (or alternatively use a spoon) and carefully create a 'rim' of ganache around the outside edge of the cake, encouraging small drips down the sides. If the drips 'run' too fast, leave the ganache to thicken a little more.
  6. Once the drips are complete, move to the centre of the cake and gradually squeeze ganache in a continuous swirl (or drip and spread with the spoon) until the top of the cake is covered. 
  7. Take your chocolate hearts and stick to the base of the ganache drips so that they look like they are hanging. (If they do not stick easily, put a small spot of ganache on the back of each before fixing).
  8. Stick the chocolate dots randomly onto the buttercream sides.
  9. To finish the cake off, use the remaining butter cream and ganache (I whipped the remaining ganache to make it lighter) and pipe onto the top of the cake as you wish. 
  10. Use broken chocolate cigarillos of different lengths and stick into the surface of the cake between the piping.
  11. Sprinkle with chopped banana chips.
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