Sunday, March 15, 2009

Banana Cake topped with Chocolate and Caramel Part I

Well, here's the first project since I've started this blog. I'm very excited to share the details. This cake will be a banana cake with chocolate ganache filling and caramel Swiss meringue buttercream. Sorry, the title of this post is sort of deceiving. I need to come up with a better name for this cake.

Today I did some prep work for the final decoration of this cake. The cakes themselves are currently in the freezer - double wrapped and shoved into plastic ziplic bags. I made them about two weeks ago. I've provided the recipe at the end of this post.

My plans for this cake include a yellow cake board, off white, yellow, and golden yellow vertical strips coming down the side of the cake with yellow and golden yellow flowers around the top. It's going to be very cute.

To make the yellow cake board, I took some Wilton Fondant (because it's cheap and even though it's icky tasting, nobody will be eating the fondant on the cake board) and colored it yellow. Then I rolled it out to something a little bit thinner than a quarter of an inch. Next, I took my cake board and covered the edge of the board with piping gel (to help the fondant stick). The rest is easy: place board on fondant, fold fondant over the edge, then use an icing spatula (or a butter knife) and cut the excess off. I recommend doing this at least a day in advance of decorating your cake because you'll want to give the board enough time to dry.

To make the flowers, just roll a bit of fondant out really thin, maybe around 1/8 or 1/16. After cutting out the flowers, I placed it on a thin flower mat and used a candy maker with a ball on the end and thinned out the edges. Moving it over to a thicker sponge, I pressed the center to give it shape and then moved it to a flower former. You could use anything: a paper towel roll cut in half, or an old egg carton. I just happen to have some gadget made specifically for the purpose of giving flowers a curved shape.

Banana Cake
adapted from Paula Deen's 1-2-3-4 cake recipe

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
1 cup milk
2 cups sugar
3 cups self-rising flour*
4 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 cups very ripe bananas, smashed

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour cake pans.

2) Using a mixer, cream butter until fluffy. Add sugar and continue to cream for 6 - 8 minutes.

3) Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each addition.

4) Add flour and milk alternately to creamed mixture, begin and end with flour.

5) Add vanilla, cinnamon, and bananas and beat until just mixed.

6) Divide evenly among cake pans. Make sure it is level by picking up the pans 2 - 3 inches above the counter and then dropping.

7) Bake 25 - 30 minutes until tester comes out clean.

*If you don't have or don't want to buy self-rising flour, then add to each cup of flour 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda and 1/2 teaspoon salt.

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