This post is also available in: French
As it was my birthday last week ( in case you didn’t get that from my previous post or if you haven’t read it which you certainly have not ) I had some friends and family members that came over for lunch on Sunday. And I got to try something that I wanted to try for a very long time : My first layer cake.
Actually it was a lot of « Firsts ». : First swiss meringue buttercream,, first salted butter caramel sauce, and first ganache frosting. It took me two weeks just to decide on which cake I should bake ( Please tell me that I’m not the only one to deal with such big questions . ) Another big thing to know about me is that I have a major problem over making choices. Like a Major one. Like even getting a new toothpaste at the supermarket can turn into a big dilemna. So my Birthday Cake … You guessed it : What a dilemna !!!
I ended up with a 3 layers chocolate banana cake with thins layers of salted butter caramel sauce, chocolate swiss meringue buttercream filling and ganache frosting.. Plus, I’ve been really obsessed by the I Am Baker’s « Roses Cake » for months so I had to do it , as well, as the design of the cake. ( Here is a great video that shows how to make a rose.)
It was a total success. I was pretty scared ( yes scared) of the swiss meringue buttercream as long as I only have a hand mixer … I’ve read everywhere that it was pretty long and difficult with a hand mixer but I’m Stubborn. Everybody also said that it was divine. Needless to say I was pretty sure it deserved some hard work. It might have something to do with the fact that french hand mixer whisks are very different from the Anglo-Saxon ones, but i t was pretty easy , it took me like 5 minutes to whip until the meringue consistency. And I can tell you that once you’ve tasted that buttercream , well you can never go back. It is so light, creamy, it melts in the mouth , it’s delicious, even more : Addictive (I’m actually thinking about making some to eat by the spoon. Would it be really bad ? I mean … Like.. .That bad ?! )
Enough talking, let’s go for the recipe!
- 3 large eggs
- 2 cups (500g / 17.6oz) mashed ripe bananas ( about 5 mediums)
- 1½ cup (300g / 10.5 oz) granulated sugar
- 1½ stick (170g / 6 oz) butter room température
- 170g ( 6 oz ) bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
- ¼ cup + 2 Tbsp (45g / 1.6 oz) Dutch processed cocoa powder
- 2 cups minus 2Tbs (240g / 8,4oz) all purpose flour
- ¾ cup (180g / 6,3oz) sour cream
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- ¼ heaping tsp salt
- ½ tbs vanilla extract
- 2 large egg whites (80g / 2.8 oz)
- 113g (4 oz) bittersweet chocolate melted
- 1⅓ sticks (150g / 5.2 oz) butter
- ⅓ cup + 1Tbs (80g / 3oz) granulated sugar
- ½ cup(100g / 3.5 oz) granulated sugar
- ½ cup + 2 tbsp (150 ml / 5.3 oz) heavy whipping cream
- ½ stick (50g / 1.7 oz) salted butter ( cut into cubes)
- 1 tsp coarse sea salt
- 600g (21oz) bittersweet chocolate finely chopped
- 2½ cups (600 ml / 21 oz) heavy whipping cream
- Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Grease bottom and sides of three 7x1 inch round pans pans.
- Sift and stir together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
- Beat butter at medium speed until creamy, about 1 minute. Gradually beat in the sugar and beat at high until well blended, about 2 minutes.
- At medium speed, beat in the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. If you are using a hand mixer (like me), at this point I turn it off and take a spatula because I don’t want to overmix it.
- Add the mashed bananas and vanilla extract and mix until blended. Add the flour mixture at low speed in three additions, alternating it with the sour cream in two additions.
- Then finally had chopped chocolate and stir . (Trust me you don’t want to melt that chocolate instead of chopped it, like I did. I messed up the first batch. And that was for being lazy.)
- Scrap batter into the prepared pan and smooth top with spatula.
- Bake cake for 30 minutes at 350F (180°C) or until a cake tester into the center comes out clean (except for any melted chocolate.). If you have a convection oven I suggest you to bake it 40 minutes at 325°F (165°C).
- Cool the cake in the pan on a wire rack for 15 minutes.
- Unmold cake onto the rack, turn right side up and cool completely.
- Melt the chopped chocolate over a water bath or in the microwave. Set aside and let cool.
- Place egg whites and sugar in a heatproof mixing bowl.
- Set bowl over 1 inch (2.5 cm) of water in a saucepan over medium heat. Whisk gently until mixture reaches 140°F/60°C (or until sugar has dissolved and mixture is no longer grainy when you rub it between your fingers)
- Remove from heat and using an electric mixer, whisk on medium speed until egg whites are cool to touch (this takes a while – should be cooler than your hand).
- Continue beating, gradually add soft butter by tablespoon pieces and continue to beat. It will first look watery or separated, but after 10-15 minutes, it will come together.
- Once desired, pipe-able consistency has been reached, fold in cooled chocolate until well incorporated.
- Heat sugar on medium heat , preferably in a heavy-bottomed saucepan. Remember to not put any whisk, spoon or spatula in the saucepan during this process. You can swirll the pan in the procès if you want to « stir » it homogeneously.
- Heat the cream over low heat. Bring to a simmer. Set aside.
- As soon as the caramel turns into a dark amber color, remove immediately from the heat.
- Slowly pour the cream in one addition . ( Be very careful not to burn yourself because the mixture will foam up).
- Add the butter and whisk the mixture .
- Put in back ont low heat and whisk until all caramel chunks have melted and the caramel sauce is smooth.
- Let cool in a jar at room temperature before to refrigerate.
- Warm before serving.
- Chop very finely your chocolate and set aside in a bowl.
- Heat the cream over low heat. Bring to a simmer.
- Then, turn the heat off and pour in the chocolate. Let it sit for a minute .
- When ready, stir and keep mixing until chocolate and cream are smooth.
- Refrigerate for at least 3 hours. Overnight is better.
- Spread a thin layer of salted caramel over each cake layer
- Freeze 5 to 10 minutes the layers until they’re firm enough.
- Divide the swiss meringue buttercream in two equal parts.
- Place one of the cake layers, top of the cake facing down, onto your serving platter. Spread half of the buttercream. Put the second layer and then 3rd layer cake. Put in the fridge soi t can firm up a little, about 30 minutes.
- Frost sides and top of the cake ( Crumb Coat). Set aside in the fridge one more time. Then add a second coat and decorate with the roses or which way you want
- Eat it. (Best part ever !)
Chocolate Banana Cake Layers : (Adapted from The Cake Book by Tish Boyle)
Chocolate Swiss Meringue Buttercream : (Adapted from my Buttery Fingers)
Salted butter Caramel Sauce : (Adapted from Journal des femmes )
Ganache Frosting : (Adapted from Saveurs Magazine n°188)