Bob’s Banana Cake is named for one of our diligent taste testers who left Maine a couple of years ago to return to his home state of California. We’ve determined that the most discriminating testers don’t have to eat a GF diet (those who are restricted seem grateful just to have something freshly baked and safe.) Bob, on board at the birth of our baking company, committed to honestly and thoroughly evaluating our cookies. It’s a tough job, but someone’s gotta do it. I thought I’d nailed the recipe for this cake one April, but Bob asked for a version that was “lighter and richer.” Sounded like an oxymoron, but I went back to the kitchen, eager to get it right. He approved the cake you’ll bake using the recipe below.
Yesterday I made it for the January gathering of our Discussion Group (as I’ve written before, easier than Book Group: no tomes to digest!) A lot of us are watching our sugar consumption, some our waistlines; one is GF… all agreed the recipe is finished. This is a cake folks will rave about whether or not they eat a GF diet.
Bob’s Banana Cake
Scant ¾ cup (5.5 oz.) walnut or vegetable oil
1½ cups (12) oz.) granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temperature
1 teaspoon GF vanilla extract
1½ cups (10 oz.) GF flour mix (yours, ours, or Trader Joe’s mix.)
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon xantham gum
¼ teaspoon salt
¼ cup 2% yogurt, room temperature (substitute sour cream, but not non-fat yogurt.)
1 cup (2 medium) bananas, mashed.
1 cup chopped toasted hazelnuts or walnuts (optional)
- Preheat the oven to 350F, grease and line two 9” round cake pans with parchment paper. (The extra effort is a must – it won’t take that long…)
- In a medium sized bowl cream the oil, sugar, eggs, and vanilla – beat at medium speed for 2 minutes.
- In a small bowl combine the dry ingredients.
- Add the flour mixture alternately with the yogurt, finishing with a portion of the dry ingredients, scraping down as necessary. Do not over mix.
- Mash the bananas in the measuring cup you used for the oil. Stir the bananas and nuts into the batter, mix to blend, scraping the sides and bottom as needed
- Pour the batter into the prepared pans. Bake at 350 F for 25 – 30 minutes. Let the cakes cool for 15 – 20 minutes before turning onto racks and cooling completely.
½ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (4 oz.) confectioners sugar
1/8 cup (1 oz.) marshmallow fluff (Martha Stewart makes her own; Whole Foods sells an organic brand.)
1 teaspoon GF vanilla extract
1/3 cup (scant 3 oz.) chocolate hazelnut spread (like Nutella, or make your own)
- Combine the butter and confectioners sugar in the bowl of a standing mixer and beat until light and fluffy.
- Add the marshmallow fluff and vanilla, and continue to beat for a minute.
- Add the hazelnut spread, beat at medium speed for 1-2 minutes or until fully incorporated, scraping down as necessary.
2/3 (4.5 oz.) cup heavy cream
6 oz. dark chocolate, chopped or bits (I like Ghiradelli Bittersweet for this recipe.)
- Bring the heavy cream to boil in a small saucepan. Remove from the heat.
- Add the chocolate to the cream and cover for 10 minutes or until the chocolate has melted.
- Whisk to a smooth, pourable/spreadable consistency. It should be cool enough to spread after it’s been stirred. If not, let it sit a little longer. Reheat in a bath of hot water if it gets too stiff to pour/spread easily.
ASSEMBLING THE CAKE
- Place a layer on a round, flat service plate (on a Lazy Susan if you have one.)
- Spread the buttercream evenly over the first layer, leaving slightly more at the center. (This is to accommodate any sinking.)
- Place the second layer on top of the first.
- Pour the ganache on top of the cake. Using a metal spatula, spread the ganache, from the center out, JUST to the edges of the cake, allowing a little to spill over, spinning the cake on the “Lazy Susan” to create an even layer. See photos as a guide.
- Let the cake rest for 1-2 hours so the ganache can “set up.”
P.S. The Book Group is reading Tom Rachman’s The Imperfectionists: excellent, smart, easy to read. I highly recommend it!