This weeks recipe is a joint effort from myself and my sister! We made this Banana, Chocolate and Hazelnut Cake for my mums birthday this weekend and it went down a treat. I found the recipe on The Cake Blog and totally fell in love with the flavour combination!
The sponges use 3 bananas which keeps it really moist and balances out the sweetness of the chocolate ganache and the nutella frosting. I found the sponges cooked perfectly in 23 minutes, but were so fragile to handle! This was a double-edged sword, as although it meant the sponges tasted nice and light it also made it so easy for them to fall apart in the assembly stage! So a word of warning for you there.
The ganache was simple to make as ever, but for my taste it makes quite a lot for the cake. Though, as you smear a layer on each sponge you can use as much as or as little as you want depending on your chocoholic level!
The final addition is the nutella frosting, using the swiss meringue method which I promise isn’t as scary as it sounds! Its simply heating sugar and egg whites over a bain-marie, before whisking it off the heat, incorporating the other ingredients, until it reaches room temperature and is light, silky and smooth.
The cake keeps well due to the bananas in the sponge, so don’t worry if it isn’t eaten in one day! Though I wouldn’t judge you if it was…!
I really liked this cake and would definitely make it again for a special occasion! I think what I liked most was the different textures – my bananas weren’t quite as ripe as they could’ve been so their was little chunks in the sponge. This mixed with the super smooth frosting and the crunchy hazelnuts on the outside worked really well together.
Firstly, pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 4 and line 3 7" cake tins.
Mash the ripe bananas in a mixing bowl with a potato masher or fork and set aside to use later. Then sift together the dry ingredients and also set aside.
Next, with an electric whisk beat the butter until smooth, then add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Then, with the mixer on low add the vanilla and eggs one at a time.
Keeping the mixer on low, add in half of the dry ingredients. Then add the sour cream, and then the other half of the dry ingredients mixing between each addition. Once just combined, fold in the mashed bananas. Pour the batter into the prepared tins and bake until golden for 22-25minutes.
Once they have cooled a little, invert them onto wire racks and leave to cool completely.
To make the chocolate ganache; chop the chocolate into small pieces and put into a heat-safe bowl. Then, heat the cream on a medium-low heat until it comes to a low simmer. Pour immediately over the chopped chocolate, leave for 30 seconds and then whisk until combined. Set aside to cool until needed.
For the buttercream, whisk the egg whites and sugar together in a heat-safe bowl. Then fill a medium saucepan with a few inches of water and place over a medium heat. Place the heat-safe bowl on top of the pan to create a bain-marie and heat, whisking occasionally, until the egg mixture is hot to the touch - or about 140 degrees on a candy thermometer.
Once hot, remove from the heat and whisk on high until the mixture becomes room temperature again. Then, using a spatula add in the vanilla, butter and Nutella until smooth.
To assemble, spread a layer of ganache on the bottom layer of cake and then a layer of frosting on top of that. Place the second layer of cake on top of the buttercream and repeat the steps.
Finally, add the last cake layer and cover the entire cake in the remaining buttercream, decorating with piping as you wish and adding chopped hazelnuts around the edge!