This is meant to be a valentine's day cake. I know, it's way too belated. But both my boys were down with 40degC fever on valentine's day...so I didn't have the energy to bake this. It's no joke having to wake up every other hour in the middle of the night to check both their temperatures, and it was like that for a few nights in a row! Then, my better half was away for overseas work and didn't return until last night. Anyway, since today is the 15th day of the Chinese New Year, it's also the Chinese version of the valentine's day. So I merrily set off to bake this Chocolate Banana Cake with marshmallow toppings.
I really have to brush up on my cake frosting/decorating skills. As you can see, in terms of how it looks, this cake "really cannot make it!" :'(
Since I can't really make any piped decorations, I used heart-shaped marshmallows to dress-up the cake a little. In fact, it was my elder boy who helpped me with the decoration.
The only thing that I was satisfied with was how the sponge cake turned out. This time round, I sifted the cocoa with flour three times...as demonstrated in Alice Medrich's video clip. (The video clip shows her making a Chocolate Genoise Cake with Julia Child.) There were tiny undissolved cocoa lumps in my previous chocolate sponge. This didn't happen this time round. I was also delighted that I could cut the cake into 3 layers. Again, thanks to the video clip by Alice Medrich.
I used a chocolate ganache made with just pouring cream and dark chocolate. As for the filling, I didn't like the idea of buttercream (too much fat), so I used the same chocolate ganache, but added in a 2 teaspoon of instant coffee and 2 teaspoon of sugar as I thought it would be a little bitter for my boys.
Despite its look, the cake is really yummy. It's rich, but not too rich (hope you understand what I mean), and the banana really goes very well with the chocolate filling. As for the recipe, I borrowed ideas here and there, and came up with the following version.
(make one 20cm round cake)
for sponge cake:
4 eggs, bring to room temperature
100g cake flour
20g cocoa powder
60g butter, melted
for chocolate frosting:
4 fl oz pouring cream (I used nestle's)
4 oz dark chocolate
4 fl oz pouring cream
4 oz dark chocolate
2 tsp instant coffee
2 tsp sugar
3 ~ 4 bananas, cut into slices
For sponge cake:
1. Triple sift the cocoa powder and cake flour, set aside. Grease and line a 20cm round pan, set aside. Melt butter and set aside. Pre-heat oven to 180degC.
2. With an electric mixer, whisk eggs and sugar on HIGH speed for about 5 to 7mins, until the batter double in volume and is ribbon-like (the beater should leave a ribbon-like texture when the batter is lifted up). Turn to LOW speed and whisk for another 1 to 2 mins. Whisking at low speed helps to stablise the air bubbles in the batter.
3. Sift over the cocoa and cake flour mixture into the batter. With a spatula, gently fold in the flour mixture until well blended.
4. With a spatula, mix about 1/3 of the batter with the melted butter in a bowl. Fold in this mixture into the remaining batter. This method will help to ensure the butter will be fully blended and at the same time will not deflate the batter.
5. Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 20 to 25mins, or until a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Remove from pan and cool completely.
For the frosting:
Place pouring cream and chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside for 10mins before frosting the cake.
For the filling:
Slice bananas into pieces and squeeze some lemon juice over them. This helps to prevent the bananas from turning brown.
Place pouring cream, instant coffee, sugar and dark chocolate in a saucepan over low heat. Stir until melted and smooth. Set aside to cool before filling the cake.
Assemble the cake
Cut the cake into 3 layers. Place one of the cake layers cut-side down on a cake plate. Spread the coffee chocolate filling over the layer. Arrange rings of banana slices to cover the whole layer. Top with another cake layer. Repeat the same for the second layer. Top with the 3rd layer, cut-side up. Spread the chocolate ganache over the top and side of the cake. Decorate as desired.