Sometimes I’ll have the urge to make something, like the other day when the bananas on my counter were calling my name, and I’ll grab a cookbook I haven’t baked from in a while. On this particular day I really wanted to make a cake so I turned to my cookbook shelf.
I pulled out my copy of Sweet! [amazon_link id=”1600940048″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ][/amazon_link] by Chef Mani Naill. Previously I made these Banana Upside Down Muffins from its pages and they were fabulous. I do remember having an issue with the directions in the book and as it turned out there was a printing error. However, I had contacted Chef Mani Naill and he was very helpful in clarifying the publishing error.
Well turns out I had to contact Chef Mani again, and once again he was super nice. Turns out there wasn’t an error this time, but I had noticed there were no eggs in this particular recipe. Mani told me that he wanted this particular recipe to be vegan, so that explained it.
I did adapt this a little, not because the original isn’t fabulous, but simply to accommodate the ingredients I had on hand. Mani’s recipe called for agave. I had agave, but not enough. I used a combination of agave, honey and sugar. I actually doubled this recipe to make a two layer cake. I also added in some banana extract just for a little more banana oomph. :)
This is a delicious cake, but I would recommend that you make this when you have company coming or if you know that it will be eaten within a day or so. If not, cut the recipe in half and saw the one cake layer in half horizontally to make your two layers.
Chef Mani offers a cool tip. Put some ganache on the plate before putting the first layer on. This will help keep the layer from sliding around. You’ll spread some ganache on the first layer.
Then you’ll add a layer of sliced banana on top of the ganache. When you add the ganache to the second layer, pile it all in the center then push it out toward the edges using a spoon.
My oldest son was a big fan of this cake and I love the glossy look of the ganache. An impressive cake for a family get together!
- 3 cups all purpose flour
- 1½ teaspoons baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- ½ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- 1½ cups mashed very ripe bananas (4 medium bananas)
- ½ cup agave
- ½ cup honey
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- ⅔ cup plus 4 tablespoons canola oil
- 2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon banana extract
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 3 tablespoons malted milk powder
- 12 oz (about 2 cups) bittersweet chocolate chips
- 1 firm but ripe banana
- Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly butter two 9-inch cake pans and line the bottom of the pans with parchment paper. Butter the parchment then dust pans with flour, tapping out excess flour. Alternatively you can use cooking spray in place of the butter and flour.
- Whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, ginger, allspice, and salt in a medium bowl.
- In mixer at medium speed, beat the bananas until very smooth. Add in the granulated sugar followed by the agave, honey, oil, vanilla and banana extract. Beat until well combined. Turn mixer down to low and gradually add in dry ingredients. With the mixer set at medium speed, beat until smooth, scraping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as necessary. Separate batter into prepared pans.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30-35 minutes. Let the cakes cool on a wire cake rack for 20 minutes. Gently loosen the sides of the cakes by running a metal spatula around the inside of the pan. Place the wire rack over each cake and invert. Tap the pan to loosen and remove. Set the cakes right side up and cool completely.
- To make the ganache, bring the cream to a simmer. Remove from heat whisk in the malted milk powder. Add the chocolate chips and let sit for a couple of minutes to allow them to melt. Whisk the ganache until smooth and then set transfer to a small bowl. Allow ganache to sit and thicken up, stirring occasionally, until it is thick and spoonable, about an hour. Do not refrigerate.
- Place a dab of the ganache into the center of a serving plate. Place the bottom cake layer on the plate. This will help keep the bottom lair from sliding around. Spread about one-third of the ganache over the bottom layer, banking it a little thicker around the perimeter of the cake layer. Thinly slice the ripe banana and divide it around the frosted layer. Top with the second cake layer and press lightly. Pile the remaining ganache in the center of the top layer. Using the back of a spoon, begin spreading the ganache out toward the edges. Allow ganache to topple over the sides. Use the back of the spoon to coax the ganache down the sides and gently spread it around. Add a few sprinkles for fun.