Recipe: Triple chocolate banana cake
One of my favourite dessert cookbooks of all time is The Olives Dessert Table. (It came out back in 2000, before Todd English was TODD ENGLISH.) Anyway, he and his then–pastry chef, Paige Retus, made over-the-top desserts with at least five elements on every plate. They aren’t the kind of desserts you’d eat every day, but when you have a serious hankering for some sweet decadence, this is your cookbook. There’s a recipe for White Chocolate–Banana Bread Pudding that is insanely good. I love the idea of taking humble banana bread and elevating it to killer-dessert status. Even if you think you’re not a fan of white chocolate (yeah, I know, it’s not really chocolate), trust me: It works really well with banana bread. Or, better yet, banana cake. Here’s my very loose interpretation of that decadent bread pudding, punctuated with chocolate chips and topped with a bittersweet chocolate ganache.
- 1 cup (230 g) unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus melted butter for greasing the pan
- 3 cups (360 g) all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
- 3 super-ripe bananas
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3/4 cup (150 g) granulated sugar
- 3/4 cup (165 g) packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup (240 ml) sour cream
- 1 cup (170 g) semisweet chocolate chips
- 6 ounces (170 g) white chocolate, chopped bittersweet chocolate ganache (see recipe below)
1 Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C / gas 4). Brush the inside of a 12-cup (2.8-L) Bundt pan thoroughly with the melted butter and dust it lightly with flour. (Use a pastry brush to help distribute the flour and tap out any excess.) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the bananas on medium speed for about 2 minutes, until they are very creamy. Scrape the bananas into another container and set aside. (You can use the same mixer bowl to make the batter.)
2 Whisk together the flour with the baking soda and salt until thoroughly combined.
3 In the bowl of the stand mixer, beat the butter with the granulated sugar and brown sugar on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes, until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla and then add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. With the mixer on low, add the bananas and beat until incorporated. With the mixer still on low, add about half of the flour mixture and then the sour cream, beating until just incorporated. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl, then add the remaining flour and beat until incorporated. Stir in the chocolate chips and the chopped white chocolate.
4 Pour the batter into the prepared ban and bake for 60 to 70 minutes, until the cake is golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 15 minutes, then invert the cake onto the rack and let it cool completely. Drizzle the ganache generously over the cooled cake and let it set for a few minutes before serving. The cake keeps in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days or for up to a month in the freezer, wrapped well in a layer of plastic wrap and a layer of foil.
Bittersweet chocolate ganache
- 4 ounces (115 g) bittersweet chocolate, chopped
- ⅓ cup (80 ml) heavy cream
- Pinch of fleur de sel
1 Put the chopped bittersweet chocolate in a heatproof bowl. In a small nonreactive saucepan over medium-low heat, heat the cream to scalding (when little bubbles form around the edge of the cream but before it begins to boil). Pour the cream over the chocolate, cover, and let sit for about 3 minutes, or until the chocolate has melted.
2 Add the fleur de sel and whisk together until smooth and uniform.
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Excerpted from Cake Simple, Copyright © 2011 by Christie Matheson. Photography by Alex Farnum. Excerpted by permission of Chronicle Books. All rights reserved.