Monday, March 28, 2011

Banana Split Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting

This is LAST week's Food Porn Friday pick. I'm getting farther and farther behind! Actually I've been sick so cooking anything has been at the very bottom of my priority list, way behind swallowing without feeling like I'm eating razor blades and keeping my fever down.

I chose this recipe for the group because I thought we needed some chocolate and of course I had bananas that needed to be used. I swear I'm going to do a post about 101 ways to use bananas one day. At any rate it was a GOOD choice. Bri and I had a hard time waiting for the cake to cool, we were ready to eat it without frosting or filling it smelled so good. It wasn't hard to put together, just kind of time consuming but now that I've done it once it should go much faster the next time. The only think I don't think I will do again is the frosting. I just really like my own recipe for Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting better.

*I don't typically have cake flour in my pantry so what I do is put 1 T cornstarch in the bottom of my 1 cup measuring cup and then spoon all purpose flour into the cup to make one cup. Sift it altogether and you will never know the difference.

Banana Split Layer Cake with Chocolate Frosting
Adapted from Baking in America-Greg Patent
16 servings

3/4 c. sugar
3/4 c. evaporated milk
2 large egg yolks
3 T. butter
1/4 c. mashed banana (1 med)
3/4 c. finely chopped walmuts (opt)
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

3 cups sifted cake flour*
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) butter at room temp
1 3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 large eggs, separated
3 large eggs
1 cup mashed bananas (2-3 med)
1/2 cup buttermilk

2 oz unsweetened chocolate
4 T butter
1/4 cup milk, plus more if needed
2 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup cocoa powder
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

1. For the filling, stir together the sugar, evaporated milk, egg yolks, and butter in a medium heavy saucepan set over med heat. Cook, stirring occassionally with a heatproof rubber spatula until the butter is melted and the sugar dissolved. increase the heat to med-high and stir constantly, scraping the bottom, until the mixture boils and thickens and becomes opaque and tan. Cook for about 10 minutes, until the consistency of a thick cream sauce. Remove from the heat and stir in the mashed banana, walnuts, and vanilla. Let cool completely, stirring occasionally. (The filling can be made a day ahead, covered and refrigerated. Bring to room temp before using.)
2. For the cake, adjust two oven racks to divide the oven into thirds and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter or grease three 9 inch round cake pans. Line the bottoms with rounds of waxed paper or cooking parchment. Butter the papers and dust the bottoms of the pans with flour. Knock out the excess and set aside.
3. Resift the flour with the baking soda and salt; set aside
4. In a large bowl, beat the butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for about 1 minute, until smooth. Add 1/4 cup of the sugar and the vanilla extract and beat on med high speed for 1 minute. Beat in 1 1/4 more cups of the remaining sugar 1/4 cup at a time, beating for about 15 seconds after each addition, then beat for 5 minutes. Add the egg yolks and beat for 1 minute. Add the whole eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each. Beat in the banana on medium speed.
5. on Low speed, add the flour mixture in 3 additions, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the flour and beating only until the batter is smooth.
6. With clean beaters, beat the 2 egg whites in a medium bowl on medium speed until they form soft drooping peaks. Beat in the remaining 1/4 cup sugar 1 T at a time, beating 15 seconds after each addition. Increase the speed to medium high and beat only until the whites form shiny peaks that curl slightly at their tips. using a large wide rubber spatula, fold the whites gently into the batter only until no whites show. Divide the batter evenly among the prepared pans. To level the batter, rotate the pans brikly on your countertop.
7. Place the pans in the oven, two on the upper rack and one on the lower. Bake for 25-30 minutes, until the layers are golden brown and spring back when gently pressed in the center. (The layer in the bottom rack with be done first.) Cool in the pans on wire racks for 10 minutes. Run the tip of a small knife around the sides of the layers to release them, cover with wire racks, and invert. Carefully lift off the pans and the papers. Replace the papers on the bottoms, and flip cake right side up and cool completely.
8. For the frosting, melt the chocolate with the butter in a small heavy saucepan over very low heat, stirring occasionally with a whisk. Whisk in the milk, place the powdered sugar in a medium bowl, add the chocolate mixture, and beat with an electric mixer on low speed until very smooth. Beat in the cocoa and vanilla, then beat on medium speed until thick and smooth. The frosting should be spreadable; beat in a few droplets of milk if necessary.
9. To frost the cake, place one of the layers upside down on a cake plate and peel away the paper. using a narrow metal spatula, spread the layer with half of the banana filling. Remove the paper from a second layer and set it upside down on the filling. Spread with the remaining filling. Place the last layer right side up on top. Spread the chocolate frosting on the sides and top of the cake. let stand until the frosting has set.

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