There are, I suppose, only two types of people when it comes to birthday cakes. There are the kind who are happy to have cake, any cake store bought or homemade, to celebrate the day they came into the world. And then there are the kind who would jump at the chance to make their own birthday cake.
Given how ridiculously fussy I am with the desserts- especially cakes- I do eat, it’s no rocket science figuring out which camp I fall into. I am so picky that there are actually only two store-bought cakes I will actually eat- the Hazelnut Royaltine cake at the Hilton in Singapore and the sticky date pudding date the bakery at David Jones in Melbourne carries occasionally. Everything else just sits in the fridge till someone else polishes it off.
So the chance to make my own birthday cake in place of a store bought cake I probably wouldn’t be a big fan of? Bring it on!
Of all the cakes I’ve been longing to make, banana caramel cake was at the top of that list for reasons I think are pretty obvious. Banana. Caramel. Cake. Have you ever heard a more beautiful trio of words? I think not.
As it turns out, I ended up with two cakes- my dad snuck out during dinner to get me a cheesecake- which was not a bad thing at all. Between the seven of us, we polished off half of each cake. And trust me, it was a lot of cake. Very good cake.
As it also turns out, I am one very lucky and incredibly spoilt girl. I came back from dinner to find a Artisan KitchenAid Mixer in the kitchen waiting for me- in the exact, most gorgeous shade of fire engine red I would have gotten had I bought it myself- courtesy of my parents as well as my poor brother who had the great honour of lugging it from the store to the car and keeping it in his room, out of my sight.
So in short, I had a fantastic birthday weekend- one very delicious dinner, the best company one could ask for sans my baby sister, GT, J and C, two very good cakes and a spanking new mixer- what more can a girl ask for?
One thing’s for sure- I’ve definitely got my baking mojo back with that epitome of gorgeousness and perfection sitting in my kitchen.
Banana-Caramel Cake [adapted from Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook]
180g unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 3/4 cups plain flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/4 cup plain yogurt †
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/3 cups caster sugar
4 large eggs, at room temperature
3 ripe bananas, sliced lengthwise
45g butter, roughly chopped
1/4 cup sugar
500g mascarpone cheese
1/2 cup icing sugar, sifted
1 1/4 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup caster sugar
1/2 cup heavy cream
- Preheat the oven to 175C. Line the base of 2 9″ round baking pans with baking paper, grease the sides of the pans and set them aside.
- Sift the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt together and set aside. Cream the butter and sugar with an electric mixer till light and fluffy. Add the eggs in, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the mashed banana, vanilla and yogurt in. Beat till just combined. Fold the flour mixture in until just incorporated.
- Divide the batter evenly between the two prepared pans. Bake for about 30-40 minutes or till a skewer inserted into the middle comes out with dry crumbs clinging.
- To make the filling Melt the butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Sprinkle the sugar over the butter mixture and add the banana slices into the pan, in a single layer. Cook till the slices are golden brown and remove the pan from heat.
- To make the frosting Beat the mascarpone, cream and icing sugar with an electric mixer till soft peaks form.
- To make the caramel sauce Heat the sugar over high heat in a saucepan till the sugar melts and turns golden brown. Remove the saucepan from heat and slowly pour the cream in- it will splutter so be careful. Return the pan to heat and cook till a caramel sauce forms.
- To assembly the cake Place one cake on the cake board. Layer the banana slices on top of the cake and sandwich it with the second cake. Cover the entire cake with mascarpone frosting and serve with caramel sauce.