as the new year approaches, in just a few hours...
I gladly bid farewell to year 2012...
a year filled with wonderful memories and precious moments for me to treasure in years to come...
to mark the end of yet another year of baking and blogging, I will like to share with you this banana chocolate sponge cake.
monkey cake a year ago when I was looking for a suitable birthday cake recipe for my son. However, back then, we were away from home, and even though the service apartment came fully equipped with an oven and basic baking tools, I wasn't gung ho enough to give this a try. I am glad that I went ahead to make it ten days ago, and it turn out to be the cake of the year (for me)!
banana sponge cake for the layers. Recently, I have a reader who encountered some problem with this banana sponge cake recipe. I really admire her never give up attitude. Although I wish I could show her how I made this cake, but, I am no professional baker and I am certainly not qualified to give any advice especially since I have not even attended any baking class. The least I could do was to bake this banana sponge cake again so that I could at least revisit the steps to ensure I didn't mislead anyone with my instructions. The cake turned out well, with a nice golden browned crust, and soft and moist texture. I am quite certain that this reader has prepared the batter correctly, the only thing I could pinpoint would be the oven temperature, could the oven be too hot?? I understand how disappointing it is whenever I have to face a failed attempt. I sincerely hope she could get it right the next time, all the best!
The banana cake was so delicious with the chocolate ganache, the only downside was, the coco pops turned soft by the time I served it, and, it was really, too cute to eat, luckily it was quite an easy cake to put together.
or maybe three, or four years to come....
Here's wishing all of you a joyful new year!
And may your kitchen be filled with sweet memories and wonderful aroma of freshly home baked goodies,
all year round!
Banana Chocolate Monkey Cake
(make one 7" round cake)
for sponge layer:
3 large eggs, room temperature
100g caster sugar (original recipe uses 150g)
3 large ripened bananas, cut into chunks
150g cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
80ml vegetable oil
20ml milk (I used low fat fresh milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
for chocolate ganache:
170g pouring cream (I used one can Nestle pouring cream)
170g semi sweet chocolate chips (or use any dark baking chocolate, coarsely chopped)
for peanut buttercream:
50g unsalted butter, room temperature
30g icing sugar
1 and 1/2 teaspoons milk (I used low fat fresh milk)
about 1 tablespoon peanut butter jam (use more if necessary)
chocolate flavoured rice cereals (I used one mini pack 30g kellogs coco pops)
2 regular size chocolate chips
1 large cookie
to make sponge cake:
- Grease (with butter) and flour sides of a 7" deep round pan (Note: original recipe calls for an 8" pan), line the base with parchment paper.
- Sieve together cake flour, baking powder and baking soda. Sieve the flour mixture twice and set it aside.
- Place vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl, set aside.
- Place eggs, caster sugar and bananas in a large mixing bowl. With an electric whisk, whisk the mixture at Low speed for a few seconds (to break up the bananas). Change to medium-high speed, and whisk the mixture till it becomes thick, pale and triple in volume. This should take around 7 to 8 mins. The batter should leave a ribbon like trail when the paddle is lifted. Test by lifting up the whisk/paddle, and draw an '8' with the batter. The number should stay for a few seconds. Turn to Low speed again, and beat for another 2 mins. This is to stablise the air bubbles in the batter. (Note: do not over beat the batter...it is not a good thing if the '8' doesn't disappear.)
- Sieve over the flour mixture in 3 separate additions. Each time Fold In the flour carefully with a Spatula, making sure there is no pockets of flour being trapped at the bottom of the bowl. Do not stir the batter with the spatula, it will cause the batter to deflate too much.
- Pour a small portion (less than 1/3) of the batter into the mixing bowl in Step 3. Fold in with the spatula until the oil mixture is fully incorporated into the batter.
- Pour the mixture in Step 6 back into the rest of the batter (Step 5).
- Fold in the batter with the spatula making sure the mixture is well combined. (By now the batter could be deflated by about 20% or so as compared to Step 4).
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, the pan should be about 75% to 80% full (Note: original recipe uses an 8" round pan, I baked extra batter in two muffin paper cups) .
- Bake in preheated oven at 160 degC for 40-45mins or longer until the surface turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. (The edges of the cake should pull away slightly from the sides of the pan.) Remove from oven, unmold (slide a thin bladed knife along the sides of the pan) and leave to cool (inverted) on a cooling rack.
to make chocolate ganache:
- Place cream and chocolate chips (or chopped chocolates) in a bowl. Set it over a saucepan of simmering water (make sure the bowl is big enough to sit over the saucepan).
- Stir the mixture gently with a spoon till the chocolate melts and mixture becomes smooth. Remove from the bowl from the saucepan. Use immediately.
- Beat unsalted butter with an electric whisk in a mixing bowl until smooth and creamy. Add icing sugar, continue to beat until the mixture turns pale and fluffy. Add milk beat till smooth. Add peanut butter (gradually so as to adjust to the desired colour tone, use more peanut butter if necessary) and beat till smooth.
- Make a simple piping bag with parchment paper (refer here for instructions). Fill the piping bag with about 1 tablespoon of chocolate ganache, set aside.
- Slice the banana sponge cake horizontally into three layers. Place a layer of sponge cake on a cake board.
- Spoon about 4 heaped tablespoons of the chocolate ganache onto the surface. Spread evenly with a spatula. Repeat with the second layer of sponge cake. Place the third layer and spoon the remaining ganache over the top and spread it over to the sides. Smooth the surface with the spatula.
- On the cake surface, draw/outline the shape of the face of a monkey with a toothpick. Spread the peanut buttercream on the surface. Smooth the surface evenly. Place two chocolate chips (upside down) on the face to make the eyes. Pipe nose and mouth with the piping bag.
- Pat the chocolate rice cereal/coco pops on the chocolate frosting. Cut cookie in half and place the halves on each side of the cake for ears. (Note: as the coco pops will turn soft, I will like to suggest to frost the cake as close to serving time as possible.) Store any leftovers in fridge.