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)


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

a few broken chocolate cigarillos
chopped dried banana chips


  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.
Gluten Free Alchemist © 2013-18 unless otherwise indicated


  1. As ever, a stunning cake. Blogging can become a pain, especially when life gets busy. Even if you stop or take a break, please leave your blog up. I have given your name to so many people and they all think you are just amazing.

    1. Thanks Dc for your kind words. The blog domain is paid up for a few years, so I have no intention of removing it for a good while, whichever way my blogging heads xx

  2. It is an absolutely gorgeous looking cake! It's such a nice change to see a celebration cake that's got bananas in too. I really hope you don't give up blogging Kate. I'm sure there are lots of people who make your recipes. For example all my family make your Bailey's ice cream now but I'm pretty sure they've never left a comment so you wouldn't know if I hadn't told you! Thank you so much for sharing with #CookOnceEatTwice x

  3. Your cake looks gorgeous and I think all your baking is quite amazing. I am sorry to hear you are despairing of blogging and how it is developing around you. I feel the same sometimes. But it is always a pleasure to see what you are baking and read your blog so I will be happy if it continues.

    1. Thanks Johanna. To be honest, I think I am despairing about a lot of things right now. I seem to be losing direction and feel like nothing I am doing quite hits the mark. I am just taking a bit of a back seat with the blog until I can decide what I really want. But thank you for your words of support and encouragement xx

  4. Wow, that cake is a stunner, Kate. I think I might just give the banana sponge a try on it's own; my last GF banana loaf cake was lacking something so perhaps time to try a new recipe.
    I would be very sad if you were to stop blogging. Your recipes are the first I search when I'm looking for inspiration. They always work and don't need ingredients I don't have in my kitchen. Your baguette recipe is the only one I make and it works brilliantly. I am looking forward to your next loaf! If you do stop blogging, if you have to take the blog down, please can you give us all a bit of notice so that we can print off our favourite recipes? I do understand about time and priorities though.
    Thank you for sharing the cake. Helen x

    1. Thanks Helen. The banana sponge is yummy on its own.... one of my favourites.
      Thank you for your support too Helen. I really appreciate the feedback and of course I won't take the blog down without warning (the domain has been paid for some time yet...). x

  5. What a stunning cake I could definitely have a slice or two of this. Im sending the recipe to my sister as she is celiac and Im sure she would love this. Sorry you are not feeling the love for blogging at the moment. I have to say it is the back end technical stuff that really gets me down and I'm not a fan of the social media stuff much either but I do see it a way of passing on my knowledge and recipes to my kids in a way that they can use now and when i get a reader saying i have helped them and they like a recipe then it kind of makes all the hard work worth while.

    1. Thank you. I keep having to remind myself of why I started the blog and then stop berating myself for not being 'good enough' at the rest of the blog thing! It's always great to know that there is support out there though when feeling down about it all.... so thank you! x

  6. There are cakes and then there are Cakes! This is stunning to look at never mind how delicious it sounds. Chocolate and Banana is such a lush combination and I love your chocolate drips. Am so going to try that. Thank you so much for bringing this Bad Boy to #BakingCrumbs

    1. Thanks Jenny. And yes this was definitely a richter-scale cake! x

  7. Whoa, stop the presses!! I made a loaf of chocolate banana bread a few weeks ago, and am definitely feeling inadequate now looking at this cake, lol. To say it's stunning is an understatement! And I hear you on the whole blogging thing. For me, it's supposed to be for fun, but there are times when it's more work than fun. But I think as long as we still enjoy the creative side or it, or the sharing or recording part, we can continue. Maybe a little break here and there might be a good idea, though.

    1. Ha ha! Thanks Angie. You are absolutely right..... Focus on the creative and don't worry about the rest. At least we get yummy cakes as a result! x

  8. I wrote a whole meaningful comment but I think it's been lost as the comment box crashed! Anyway this cake is stunning and I hope you keep blogging as I love your creations and I've recommended you to so many people. Don't worry about what other people are doing, just enjoy your blog and do it for yourself!

    1. Oh no.... Sorry Kat. But thank you for your kind words both about the cake and the blog. I do my best not to compare and think I 'could do better', but if I'm honest... I'd rather be doing more of the blog xx

  9. What an absolutely gorgeous cake! And I love that it is GF. I am in agreement with you about blogging, it's discouraging. And the places many blogs are going, I don't particularly like. Like your own, mine is a record. I wish my mother had been able to record her recipes and a record of her day to day life. Thank you so much for bringing this cake (which clearly was a labor of love) to FF.

    1. Thanks Liz for your lovely comment. I know I have to keep reminding myself why I write a blog. And if I'm honest, while I would love to blog more, I don't want to be at the beck and call of brands who want cheap advertising. It's such a shame (I think) that blogging has become 'influencing'. x

  10. Great step-by-step instructions.Thanks for sharing on Fiesta Friday group.

  11. Wow! What a cake!! So beautiful - and I am sure very delicious too. I'm sorry you feel so down about blogging at the moment. Such a shame as you have such a lovely blog, and I am sure you have helped many people. I guess I would ask you why you are blogging. If it's for money/success/fame, then just like any job there's a certain amount of stuff you just need to do, even though you don't like it (though nobody ever NEEDS to video their whole life to share on social media!). However if it's to be a fun hobby or to make a difference or to leave a legacy for your daughter, then really you can play it your own way and not worry two hoots about social media or what everyone else is doing, because your blog is just fabulous as it is and all the truly important people read it (your family and friends, that is!!) and I am sure you are making more of a difference than you know to people you may never even know the name of! Eb x

    1. Awww thanks Eb. I think that's part of the problem..... Right now I am not sure what I want it to be. I feel so much more available to my family having taken a step back from it, but I have also just found out that my job has been 'deleted', so I may be looking for more of it. I think I probably need to be spending some time looking more at stuff like SEO, just in case I need it!!!! I'll start at the beginning of 'Productive Blogging' and start taking more of an interest in the technical side I think! x

  12. This cake is just fabulous Kate! It's not only beautiful but the flavours are out of this world. I'm a banana cake girl any day and the super pimped up version just like yours would make me very very happy! Will need to try roasting bananas next time as have never tried that before! Thank you for bringing your gorgeous recipe to #BakingCrumbs x
    ps. I think it all has been said by others but I do hope you will continue bringing us your wonderful recipes as I am certain your blog is making a huge difference in many people's lives, making homemade gluten free food so much more accessible! Make blogging what you want it to be and do it your way! xx

    1. Ah thank you. That's so kind.
      I love the phrase 'pimped up banana cake'.... Maybe that would be a good marketing line!
      I haven't quite hung up the apron yet and I am torn about stepping back, but I am sure I will find a happy point eventually (and may even opt to do more when I reflect properly) xx

  13. Your cake looks exceptional as always. Next month marks six years since I started blogging. I can't say I really moved on much from those early days but that's my own choice. I know your recipes have been a life saver for people in the gluten free community and those stuck with what to cook for people needing gluten free recipes!

    1. Thanks Ness for your kind words. As for you..... Wow! 6 years? That's fantastic. I think the main thing is to be happy with how you manage your blogging.... That's the bit I probably need to work out. Where is my happy point? x

  14. This looks absolutely glorious Kate and I love the idea of roasting the bananas first. Sorry to hear about your blogging dilemma. It gets to us all at some point. But I really hope you continue because your blog is fantastic and one of my favourites. It's not just the incredibly beautiful and scrumptious creations you create, but you have a lovely warm style that goes with it. And just think of your daughter! Whatever you decide, I wish you all the best and a very Happy and Fulfilling 2019.

    1. Thank you for your kind words of encouragement Choclette. I really appreciate your support.
      I know that for Miss GF, the value of the blog will come into its own in the future and that it is a fantastic way of recording recipes that would otherwise be lost. Hopefully, my dilemma will settle. Let's hope 2019 is a good year..... for all of us x

  15. I love baking and decorating cakes. This cake looks so delicious and beautiful too. Although I am not very talented in decorating cakes, I’ve done few cakes for kid’s birthdays. I found this as an easy decoration for beginner like me. And thanks for sharing this gluten free cake recipe.

    1. Thank you Amila (and sorry for the delay in reply). I'm not a very talented cake decorator either.... So anything you find on this blog will be pretty straight forward and require a minimum of skill (even if it looks more involved).... xx


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