Sunday, 5 April 2009
Chocolate banana cake
I’m a bit like the Ancient Mariner at the moment. In the epic poem “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” the mariner, who is ancient – hence the title, roams the land looking for people to tell his albatross-killing story to, whether they want to hear it or not. Now let me just state that I haven’t killed an albatross but I do seem to be telling everyone how great banana toffos were. Banana toffos were only available in the tube of assorted toffos so, at best, a rare commodity. They seem to have slipped from history to the extent that if you google “banana toffos” one of the first hits is my previous banana cake.
When my thoughts turn to mourning the demise of banana toffos I know it’s time to make a banana cake. This one caught my eye as it also features chocolate and hazelnuts. It does have a very strong banana taste so is one for the banana fans; a couple of my eatership found it overpowering whereas I really liked the rich banana flavour.
Any cake with banana in it will be moist but this one also contains yoghurt so is extra moist and spongy! The additions of chocolate and nuts gives an extra layer of flavour and texture. It’s a highly comforting cake.
One thing I would advise; this is a simple cake but it requires several bowls. I found it best to weigh out all the cake ingredients into their separate bowls so they were to hand as needed. I used one bowl for the flour and bicarbonate of soda, one bowl for the yoghurt, and one bowl for the mashed banana. It’s a bit more washing up but makes life easier.
For the chocolate mixture:
100g dark or milk chocolate
100g chopped hazelnuts
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
4 tablespoons caster sugar
30g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
For the cake:
110g unsalted butter, at room temperature
170g caster sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 bananas, ripe and mashed
175g plain whole milk yoghurt
350g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
For the topping:
75g dark or milk chocolate
60ml single cream
How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
- Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking paper.
- Start by making the chocolate mixture: chop the chocolate into small pieces.
- Place all the ingredients into a bowl and mix. Put to one side.
- Now make the cake: beat together the butter and caster sugar until pale and fluffy.
- Weigh out all the other ingredients. In one bowl put the flour and bicarbonate of soda, in another bowl measure out the yoghurt, and in a third bowl mash the banana.
- Beat the vanilla into the creamed butter mixture.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time.
- Beat in the banana and the yoghurt. The mix will curdle at this point.
- Gently beat in the flour and bicarbonate of soda. Don’t overbeat, it’s better to finish it off with a spoon that overbeat.
- Spoon half of the cake mix into the tin and level.
- Scatter a generous half of the chocolate mixture over the batter.
- Spoon the remaining cake mix into the tin and level.
- Scatter the remaining chocolate mixture over the batter.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until a skewer inserted in the cake comes out clean. Mine took 37 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tin for approximately 20 minutes before turning out and letting cool completely on a wire rack.
- When the cake is cool make the topping: gently melt the chocolate and cream in a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Make sure that the bowl does not touch the water.
- Stir the chocolate and cream to ensure the mix is smooth.
- Using a teaspoon, squiggle the chocolate over the top of the cake. If there is any left over it can be used with ice cream.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.