Banana Cake with Chocolate Icing Recipe

Bananas 12What do you do when you find a deal on bananas at your local grocery store?  Apparently you buy them and figure out what to do with them later.  I stumbled upon a cart full of these $0.98 banana bags.  How could anyone pass on this deal?  Well, if you are anything like my hubby, one banana is too many.  Even a FREE banana is more than he ever wants.

Bananas 1

I decided to buy them…I had visions of making smoothies, banana bread, banana pudding and even just eating plain bananas for breakfast.  Everyone could use a few more bananas in their diet, right?  Well, 3 days in to the bananas new life as being a decoration on my counter, only 1 banana had been spoken for – I took it to work to have for breakfast, and it is still sitting there today.  I had good intentions, I promise!

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So last night I finally decided to make something with these pretty little things.  One of my coworkers makes a wonderful banana cake with chocolate icing.  Every time that she brings in a dessert, I ask if it’s my “favorite cake.”  The answer is usually NO.  Since she won’t give me the recipe, I had to find one of my own.  After some searching, I can upon a promising recipe here.  Of course I had to add my own chocolate icing instead of the cream cheese icing that was used in that recipe, and I made a few, slight changes.  The end result was wonderful!  The cake was moist and the chocolate icing was just the right flavor for this cake.  But, the worst part of the recipe was…..DRUM ROLL….it only used 3 bananas!!!  ARGH!  Anyone want some bananas?!

The full instructions and recipe can be found below the step-by-step instructions with photos.

Step-By-Step Instructions

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.  Prepare 9×13 pan by coating in butter and flour. Shake to remove excess flour.

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Mash 3-4 bananas until they are very runny.

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Add lemon juice and stir to combine.

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In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes on medium speed).

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Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.  Add vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds.

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Reduce mixer speed to low and add in 1/4 of the flour mixture and 1/4 of the buttermilk, mixing just until it’s incorporated.  Continue adding flour then buttermilk until everything has been added (ending with buttermilk).  Do not overmix. The batter will have a very nice consistency.

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Turn off mixer and fold in the bananas until they are fully incorporated into the batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan and place in the oven.  Please ignore my dirty oven.  I was planning to use the oven cleaning feature on my messy oven until I watched an episode of “Panic 911” this past weekend.  A lady burned down her house using the self-clean feature on her oven.  I’m probably going to have to be sedated if I use it again.  Sometimes I hate television!

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Give your handsome, 13-year-old son the spatula to lick.  Seriously, raw eggs or not, this stuff tastes delightful.  He’s still alive, so don’t judge me! 😉

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Bake at 275 for 45-60 minutes.  Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

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Let cake cool for 5 minutes and then place in freezer for 45 minutes.  I put my pan on top of a towel in the freezer because I was afraid the pan would crack with the extreme temperature change.  It turned out fine!

Remove pan from freezer and frost with chocolate frosting.

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Banana Cake
Ingredients:
  • 3-4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 3 cups flour OR 3 cups + 6 tablespoons cake flour
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2 1/8 cups sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups buttermilk

Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Prepare 9×13 pan by coating in butter and flour. Shake to remove excess flour.

Mash bananas until they are very runny.  Add lemon juice and stir to combine.

In a separate bowl sift together flour, baking soda and salt.  Set aside.

In a medium bowl of a stand mixer, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy (approx. 3 minutes on medium speed).

Add eggs, one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each addition.  Add vanilla and beat for another 30 seconds.

Reduce mixer speed to low and add in 1/4 of the flour mixture and 1/4 of the buttermilk, mixing just until it’s incorporated.  Continue adding flour then buttermilk until everything has been added (ending with buttermilk).  Do not overmix.  Turn off mixer and fold in the bananas until they are fully incorporated into the batter.

Pour batter into prepared pan and place in the oven.

Bake at 275 for 45-60 minutes.  Cake is done when a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Let cake cool for 5 minutes and then place in freezer for 45 minutes.  I put my pan on top of a towel in the freezer because I was afraid the pan would crack with the extreme temperature change.  It turned out fine!

Remove pan from freezer and frost with chocolate frosting (recipe below).

Chocolate Frosting

  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/8 – 1/4 cup milk (varies depending on the consistency you desire)
In small bowl, sift together cocoa and powdered sugar.   In small bowl of stand mixer, add butter, cocoa/sugar and vanilla.  Cream together, and slowly add milk until desired consistency is reached.  I mixed my icing on medium for several minutes to ensure that it was smooth.
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Dark Chocolate Layered Birthday Cake with Special Fillings




I got the bright idea to make a birthday cake last night. There are lots of birthdays coming up, so I wanted to try out a dark chocolate cake that I found on this blog a few days ago. I set out to get all of the ingredients, and the idea was to make the chocolate cake and then cover it with a pink colored fondant and fondant flowers. I went to 2 different stores looking for Hershey’s Dark Chocolate Unsweetened cocoa. I know it exists because I’ve used it before, but I just couldn’t find it this time. Frustrating! I had to move on to plan B. I searched on the web for a dark chocolate cake recipe that didn’t call for the dark chocolate cocoa and came across a recipe on Allrecipes.com that looked simple. Finally, I was back on track. I was going to create a layer cake that had 4 layers with whipped cream filling. I planned to cover it with pink fondant and add the flowers. I even went to Michael’s to purchase the fondant and cutters.

After I left Michael’s, I decided to make one last stop at the dreaded Wal-Mart. I dislike Wal-Mart the same way that my dogs hate the bathtub….sometimes they have to get in it, but if they do, they get in and jump out like they are on fire. That’s me in Wal-Mart….sometimes I have to go in, but I don’t stay in long and I get out quick.

As I was walking through Wal-Mart, a package of Lindor Truffles jumped off the shelf and into my cart. I guess I just HAD to use them on my cake. So, the whole idea of making a pretty, girly birthday cake with pink fondant and flowers had completely gone out the window. The plan was now to create a dark chocolate cake with 2 layers of whipped cream filling and 1 layer of strawberry filling. I would cover the outside in a fudgy, chocolatey icing and finish by adding the Lindor Truffles to the top. So, 3 hours later I finally had a cake. It was/is spectacular. I know it’s going to taste amazing because I tried some of the pieces of cake that I trimmed off. The plan was to eat the cake tonight, but I think we are going to save it for my mother-in-law’s birthday party for tomorrow. I sure hope it makes it through the night!

The layers before being iced.




Dark Chocolate Layer Cake with Whipped Cream and Strawberry fillings and Chocolate Fudge Icing

Cake
Recipe Adapted from: Allrecipes.com
Printable Recipe

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt

2 eggs
1 cup cold instant coffee (I used Via by Starbucks)
1 cup buttermilk (look here for how to make buttermilk)
1/2 cup vegetable oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour 2, 9 inch round cake pans.

Combine flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder and salt in large bowl of a mixer. Using the whisk attachment, mix to combine.

Create a well in the center of the flour mixture and add in the eggs, coffee, buttermilk and vegetable oil. Mix just until combined, about 1 minute.

Equally divide batter between cake pans and bake on center rack for 45 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and place on cooling rack still in the pan. Let cake cool for 45 minutes. Gently run a butter knife around the edge to loosen the cake. Carefully invert cake onto cooling rack and tap lightly on the bottom of the pan if the cake doesn’t easily come out. Wrap the cake layers in plastic wrap and place in the freezer for 30-60 minutes. Placing them in the freezer makes them easier to work with.

Strawberry Filling
Recipe from: Wilton

Ingredients:

1 pkg (16 ounces) frozen sliced strawberries , packed in sugar and thawed
1/3 cup granulated sugar
3 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon lemon juice

Directions:

Drain strawberries; reserving liquid. Add enough water to liquid to equal 1 1/4 cups. In large saucepan, combine strawberry liquid, sugar, cornstarch and lemon juice; mix well. Heat and stir until mixture boils and thickens. Cool completely. Stir strawberries into the cooled mixture. Refrigerate until ready to use. Refrigerate until ready to serve.

Whipped Cream Filling

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup unsifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Place cream, sugar and vanilla in medium bowl and mix on high until stiff peaks form. Place bowl in refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Fudge Frosting:

Ingredients:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped baking chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup butter
2-1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Directions:

In medium sacepan, combine chocolate, cream and butter. Stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Place saucepan over heatsafe bowl filled with ice. Use a whisk to blend in 2-1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Beat until the frosting holds its shape; then remove the ice bowl. If icing gets too thick, just mix it for a minute and it should soften.

Cake Assembly:

Remove cakes from freezer and place a layer on plate and cut layer in half being sure to make it as even as possible. Remove the top and spread 1/2 of the whipped cream filling on top of the bottom layer. Gently place the top half (second cake layer) on top of filling. Spread the strawberry layer on top of this layer. Cut the second cake in half and add the bottom half of this cake on top of the layer of strawberry filling. Spread remainder of whipped cream filling on top of this layer (the 3rd layer) and then gently place the final piece of cake on top. Be sure that all of the layers are lined up. If you have any layers that are domed, it’s better to put the dome sides down or cut them to be flat. You want the top layer of the cake to be flat.

Spread a thin layer of icing (crumb coat) over the entire cake. This helps to keep your icing free of crumbs once you put on the final coat. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes just to get the crumb coat to harden. Remove the cake and then do the final icing. Spread a layer of icing on the top of the cake and spread to the edges. Ice the sides of the cake; all of the layers should have been filled in when you did the crumb coat. Smooth the icing with a spatula. Decorate with your favorite candy or icing.

Chocolate Birthday Layered Cake with Whipped Cream Filling – Happy Birthday Elise!



Our youngest turned 7 this past weekend. She is such a great little girl, but she always gets slighted because her birthday falls on Labor Day weekend. We came back from the lake on Sunday just so we could prepare something special for her. We went to pick up the dogs from my in-laws house and my mother-in-law suggested that she could make the cake. I thought…Are you kidding me?! I spent the entire 45 minute drive home from the lake researching different cakes. I am obsessed with baking, so there is no way I would ever let anyone bake a birthday cake for one of the kids. Not that there’s anything wrong with my mother-in-law’s cooking. In fact, she’s quite a good cook. But, I will never hand over the baking duties to anyone, simply because I love it too much, and it’s my way of showing the kids how special they are to me.

I start asking the kids what kind of cake they want about a week before their birthdays. The twins always want cookie cake, Shaun always wants some odd concoction that never turns out good, but Elise, the perfect angel she is, always requests CHOCOLATE. Chocolate cake with chocolate icing. I made a nice cake last year, but it was really boring for a kid. I needed something spectacular this year. I scoured the web for a chocolate layer cake that didn’t look too complicated. It took me until Sunday afternoon to find the perfect recipe. My husband even laughed at me at one point and said, “you’ve been on that phone all day!” I use my phone to surf the Internet because I can lay in bed, watch tv and play Word with Friends all at the same time. It’s a beautiful thing!



The recipe I settled on was a chocolate layer cake, with cream filling and a chocolate icing. The recipe looked simple enough and I planned to spend a couple of hours baking the cake and preparing pizza dough for the party on Monday. The kids were all gone and the hubby went for a motorcycle ride. This left me with plenty of time to finish the cake and pizza crusts, and then time to watch everything that has piled up on my DVR. I have 13 episodes of Hoarders saved up….wait, isn’t there some type of irony in this statement??

Ok, there were several things that I learned after spending 5 hours in my kitchen on Sunday night:

  1. Cocoa powder mixed with hot water does NOT taste good.  It says “Unsweetened” on the box for a reason.  It’s not sweet.  Do not lick a spoon or your fingers no matter how tempted you are to do so when that brown, chocolately looking liquid appears on your fingers or a spoon.  You will regret it!
  2. No matter how well you grease a cake pan, the cake will always stick if you don’t use parchment paper in the bottom.  I’m not sure why I thought I was exempt from this rule…oh wait, it’s because I didn’t have any parchment paper.
  3. Watch several videos on cake decorating and learn what a “crumb coat” is.  I knew about this already, but for novice bakers, check out some of these videos. 
  4. Baking a birthday cake always takes longer than you expect, especially when you start the decorating process.  I know that I promised Elise that I would put star-shaped sprinkles on her cake, but I’m sure that she didn’t expect me to gently put each little star on it by hand.
  5. Never count your chickens before they’re hatched!  Ok, so I didn’t make up that phrase, but I think it applies in this situation.  About 10 minutes before my cakes were done, my oven decided to stop working.  I have a Whirlpool gas oven with a digital display.  The digital display had some type of error code on it.  I immediately started pushing buttons and none of them worked.  I panicked and ran to the computer to see if I could get an answer from the Internet as to what the error code meant, all the while getting more and more excited about the prospect of getting a new oven.  Visions of convection ovens danced through my mind!  BINGO – the answer I had been looking for.  The error code meant that there was something wrong with the touchpad and it would require a new part.  Yesss, I was getting a new oven.  I called my husband, and he said, “Did you unplug it and plug it back in?”  Um, no.  I’m getting a new oven, why would I want to do a silly thing like that?!  Well, I humored him and tried it anyway.  Boooooooo, it worked!  So, no new oven for me! 

I know that I promised you realistic and easy recipes for busy cooks.  I’m not going to lie, this isn’t an easy recipe.  I would say that this is for an intermediate to advanced baker.  You need to know about making whipped cream from scratch, decorating a cake, doing a crumb coat, etc.  If you have the time and energy, I highly recommend making this cake because it was quite arguably one of the most delicious chocolate cakes I have ever eaten.  The icing is amazing and the cake itself is very moist.  Please don’t be scared to make it, but know that it will take a lot of time and patience, 2 things that I don’t have a lot of.  I was so happy with how cute this turned out.  Elise loved the Kit Kat bars around the edge, and I thought it was adorable.  The recipe can be found below.

 

 



Chocolate Birthday Layer Cake
Adapted from: Amuse Bouche

Ingredients

Cake:

1 cup unsifted, unsweetened cocoa
2 cups boiling water
2-3/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cup (2 sticks) butter (softened)
2-1/2 cups granulated sugar
4 eggs
1-1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

Preheat oven to 350F. Grease and lightly flour 3, 9 inch, round cake pans. You can also add a round piece of parchment paper to the bottom of the pan to keep it from sticking (highly recommended).

In medium bowl, combine cocoa with boiling water using a whisk to mix until smooth. Cool completely before proceeding. You can put in the refrigerator to speed up this process, just make sure you stir it occasionally to evenly cool the mix.

Meanwhile, sift together flour, baking soda, salt and baking powder.

In large bowl of electric mixer, beat softened butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla at a high speed for approximately 5 minutes. Switch the mixer to a low speed and beat in the flour mixture (in fourths) and then the cooled cocoa mixture (in thirds), beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Do not over mix or the cake will be stiff.

Divide evenly into pans and smooth the top. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Cool in pans for 10 minutes, then carefully loosen the sides with a spatula, remove from pans and cool on racks. If you have time, place the layers in the freezer or refrigerator to make the layers easier to work with.

Filling:

1 cup heavy cream, chilled
1/4 cup unsifted confectioners’ sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preparation:

Place cream, sugar and vanilla in medium bowl and mix on high until stiff peaks form. Place bowl in refrigerator until you are ready to assemble the cake.

Frosting:

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips or chopped baking chocolate
1/2 cup heavy cream
1 cup butter
2-1/2 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar

Preparation:

In medium sacepan, combine chocolate, cream and butter. Stir over medium heat until smooth. Remove from heat. Place saucepan over heatsafe bowl filled with ice. Use a whisk to blend in 2-1/2 cups of confectioners’ sugar. Beat until the frosting holds its shape; then remove the ice bowl. If icing gets too thick, reheat and beat over ice again. The key is to NOT leave this over the ice too long.

Cake Assembly:

Place bottom layer on serving dish. Spread 1/2 of the filling on top. Gently place second cake layer on top of filling. Spread remainder of filling on top of the second layer and then gently place the third layer on top. Be sure that all of the layers are lined up. If you have any layers that are domed, it’s better to put the dome sides down or cut them to be flat. You want the top layer of the cake to be flat.

Spread a thin layer of icing (crumb coat) over the entire cake. This helps to keep your icing free of crumbs once you put on the final coat. Place the cake in the refrigerator for 15 minutes just to get the crumb coat to harden. Remove the cake and then do the final icing. Spread a layer of icing on the top of the cake and spread to the edges. Ice the sides of the cake; all of the layers should have been filled in when you did the crumb coat. Smooth the icing with a spatula. You can do additional decorations with sprinkles and Kit Kat bars, or just leave it plain.