Monday, July 19, 2010

Chocolate Banana Stud Cake

I made this cake in January 2010, and since it wasn't "in the oven" I don't know when you all are reading about it. Cookie was going to a potluck and she asked me to bake a cake for her, which I agreed to as long as she promised to do like my mother and tell everyone she baked it. She laughed, agreed, and I lent her Rose's Heavenly Cakes so she could pick out her cake. We were baking the delicious Chocolate Streusel Coffee Cake that week but she wanted something more appropriate for a dinner potluck. Even though she claimed she was undecided, Cookie kept turning back to the photo of the Stud Cake. A couple of days later I showed up at her house with a bag of my favorite baking gear and we got to it.

Chocolate Banana Stud Cake

January 8, 2010
Name of Cake: The Stud
Occasion: Cookie's Potluck
Constituents: One layer chocolate-banana cake frosted with ganache and decorated with many white and semi sweet chocolate chips

The only piece of baking gear I had forgotten at home? My scale! Argh! I warned Cookie that due to the imprecise method of measuring we were forced to use, the cake may end up terrible and she might not want to tell anyone she baked it. She said she was willing to take the risk, and if no one liked it she would tell them she bought it from a bakery. Now that is friendship.

The first thing we did was make the ganache. It is a simple, straightforward kind of ganache, where the dark chocolate is processed until fine, the cream scalded and poured through the feed tube while the food processor emulsifies and smooths everything nicely. In our case, this wasn't what happened. Cookie's food processor refused to work properly, and the chopped chocolate chunks just flew around the bowl instead of getting processed. So we tried the blender--no dice--and decided to simply melt the cream and chocolate together. We did it slowly, in a double boiler, and everything worked out a-ok. Phew!

The cake base is pretty similar to the very delicious Sour Cream Banana Cake in The Cake Bible, with the addition of what I call the cocoa paste. This is merely cocoa powder whisked together with boiling water to form a smooth paste and bring out, as Rose puts it, "mega flavor components." Usually I do this in a glass pyrex bowl with a lid, but as long as the bowl is covered--to prevent the loss of moisture via evaporation--then all is good. (I remember being miffed that my Cake Bible chocolate cakes were always dry, until Rose shared another baker's discovery--that we were all losing moisture by not covering the boiling water as it cooled. The world-wide smacking of palms against foreheads must have been deafening!) Anyway, Cookie was out of plastic wrap and I didn't bring my covered pyrex bowl. In desperation I started hunting around and found a clean jam jar with the lid! I decided to forgo the whisking of the chocolate and the boiling water, and just shook the jar furiously until I guessed everything was all mixed up nicely.

Chocolate Banana Stud Cake

The rest of the cake assembly, mixing, and baking went smoothly.

After I frosted the cake, Cookie got to the task of studding the ganache with chocolate chips. She decided to do a combination of white and semi sweet chips, which I think came out nicely.

Chocolate Banana Stud Cake

She was a little dismayed that the chips were different sizes and that there were gaps, but I think in the end she was pleased with the general appearance.

I begged her to squirrel away a piece from the potluck so that I could try it, which she did.  (Again, now that is friendship!)  I found it to be a perfect melding of chocolate and banana. The crumb was moist; even after several days. I wasn't a fan of the chocolate chips; I found they moved this dessert out of the not-too-sweet category into way too sweet. Perhaps a dark chocolate chip would be better?

Chocolate Banana Stud Cake

This is one of those cakes that I loved photographing.

Chocolate Banana Stud Cake

Chocolate Banana Stud Cake

17 comments:

  1. Gorgeous pictures! I love the one from the top and the last picture. Agree that it looks nice with the alternating rows of white chocolate and dark chocolate chips. I was going to do it this way but wasn't sure how it would look with the chips being in different size. Yours look fabulous!

    ReplyDelete
  2. Wonderful pictures! Great improvising with the jar. That's a tip I'll remember in a pinch.

    ReplyDelete
  3. mmm, gotta add that to the to-do list. Her sour cream banana cake is my favorite. I just made Cook's Illustrated newest recipe for banana bread, which involved microwaving the bananas, draining the juices and then reducing those to 1/4 cup. The most intensely flavored banana bread I've ever had. I'm wondering how that would taste if I added an extra couple bananas and used that method with the banana cake? I'm going to try it very soon...and I'll keep you posted!

    ReplyDelete
  4. The last picture is so clear I can see condensation on the chocolate chip. Muy bien, David Bailey!
    I think the cake sounds very good and it looks good. But I don't think I would like those hard crunchy chips.
    I think a chocolate curl top might be more to my liking. I must make this as I am always looking for uses for over ripe bananas. I seem to always have 3 hanging around just getting funky.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Perfect design from the top...crumb looks yummy!

    ReplyDelete
  6. Love the story and your cake is wonderful. I thought about the 2 kinds of chips, but got lazy. Yes, the suggestion of covering the hot chocolate mixture to avoid evaporation is brilliant. Photos are superb.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Jenn, thanks! We had so many clear sunny days this winter it made photographing easy.

    Vicki, thanks--I almost think it is more fun to shake up a jar of cocoa power and boiling water than to whisk it. Just be careful; the jar is hot!

    Amanda, um, it looks like maybe Dr Jin worked her magic? Hooray! Rose concentrates the juices for many of her pies, but I never would have thought to do that with a banana. That would definitely up the banana flavor in this cake! Other HCB said the banana flavor was light, but I remember it standing right up to the chocolate nicely. Can't wait to hear your cake results!

    Melinda, David Bailey, haha. Thanks, though! The cake was delicious, although I am still a bigger fan of the regular banana cake with the sour cream ganache. The chips were annoying and too much but did make for a pretty presentation. Chocolate curls would be even better! You are a banana lover! I would love to hear your thoughts on this cake.

    BSA, thanks! I can't take the credit for the decoration, it was all Cookie.

    lola, thank you!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Very artistic, ECL. Love the dual spiral you have going on there. How nice of your friend to save you a piece! I like the subtle banana undertone and found the cake moist, chocolatey and delicious. I forgot all about the Sour Cream Banana Cake from TCB (I made it a while back), but you're right, it's similar minus the choc paste!

    ReplyDelete
  9. beautifully decorated and gorgeous photos! I didn't like the chips in there too!

    ReplyDelete
  10. Beautiful Cake yet again. Sounds absolutely to die for. It's almost on the verge of being healthy as well. Banana's and Chocolate, you can't go wrong. We will for sure be trying this out soon.

    ReplyDelete
  11. Hanaa, thank you! The decorating was all Cookie's idea. She is super nice to save me a piece!

    faithy, thanks! i liked the way your m&ms looked; but i bet they were too much like the chips.

    laurie, exactly--there's banana in it! its healthy! fiber! potassium! without the ganache and chips you could almost get away with serving it at a brunch....almost

    ReplyDelete
  12. Wow! What a great looking cake! i love it!!

    ReplyDelete
  13. ב''ה

    I also thought that the banana flavor came through nicely.

    Love your design.

    ReplyDelete
  14. Jenniffer, thank you!

    Mendy, thanks--it was all Cookie's idea.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Yes, thanks to Dr Jin & Dr Hesla at ORM, Baby Girl will be coming in early November! Yay! :) I've had banana reduction cake on the brain ever since you posted this, and it's been torture waiting for my greenish bananas to get ripe enough to try. Finally they were ready yesterday! I used the original recipe from CB, except I used turbinado sugar, and reduced 4 bananas. Super Yum! Very strong banana flavor. Better than the original? I have no idea, I'd have to do a side by side comparison. I'm debating whether I want to make another cake today. If I do, I'll let you know the comparison outcome! Theoretically, according to Rose's notes, I should have added an extra T of butter due to the added fiber in the cake. I didn't, but I didn't think it was tough at all.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Amanda, congratulations!!!! Woo hoo!!

    Okay, I love your idea of reducing the banana for TCB cake. I just might try it next time. Did you do the side-by-side comparison? Its all in the name of research, which makes it ok.

    ReplyDelete
  17. No, I didn't do the side-by-side. Maybe someday. If you ever do, let me know!

    ReplyDelete