25 November 2018

Brown Butter Caramelized Banana Chocolate Cake


I made this cake about a year ago and teased about it on Instagram several times throughout the winter holidays. I had the full intention of sharing the recipe last winter but I waited a bit too long and this cake and the decorations seemed too winter holiday festive to share in the warmer months. I was really into decorating my cakes with fresh flowers and woodland animal figurines last winter but slowly progressed into a lot of buttercream work in the warmer months (exhibit a, exhibit b, exhibit c). I think I am going to start using more flowers on my cakes again. I miss how a simple arrangement of fresh flowers adds so much life and movement to a cake. However you want to decorate this cake, whether it is with fresh flowers or with some fun buttercream piping, I promise that it will be just as good. So here I am now — 11 months later and finally sharing this cake with you. Thank you for sticking around.

This cake was inspired by a cake that took over Vancouver last year. A new restaurant launched their  dessert menu and there was one item on their menu that put the restaurant on the map. It was a very tall slice of cake comprised of caramelized banana cake, chocolate cake, chocolate mousse layers, and a shiny chocolate glaze covered the top of the cake. I did not believe that a slice of cake could be that good until I tried it myself. That slice of cake was a complete dream and after the first bite I knew I needed to make my own version of it here. My version of this cake does not have as many layers as the original but is comprised of thicker, fluffier layers of similar flavours and is perhaps just as tall. There are two layers of brown butter banana cake, which requires you to caramelize the bananas to give the cake an even toastier flavour in addition to the brown butter. The two layers of caramelized banana cake sandwich a fluffy and chocolatey devil's food cake layer. All these layers are frosting with a velvety chocolate cream cheese frosting, which is the 'substitute' for the chocolate mousse. I use the word substitute in quotations because chocolate cream cheese will always be my first choice.





Brown Butter Caramelized Banana Chocolate Cake
Yields three layer 6-inch cake

Caramelized Bananas
2 large ripe bananas
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
3 tablespoons granulated sugar

Brown Butter Caramelized Banana Cake
Yields two 6-inch layers
1 cup mashed caramelized banana (from 2 large ripe bananas)
2 cups all-purpose flour 
2/3 teaspoon baking powder
2/3 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup unsalted browned butter, softened to room temperature
2/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup buttermilk

Devil's Food Cake
Yields one 6-inch layer
4 1/2 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 large egg
1/2 cup + 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon salt
100ml whole milk
3 tablespoons sour cream

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
8 oz package (227g) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
3 1/2 - 4 cups confectioners sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 - 4 tablespoons whole milk

Caramelized Bananas
Peel banana and cut into coins. Place the coins on a plate.

Sprinkle the sugar onto the bananas and gently mix the bananas so the sugar is evenly distributed.

Place butter on a medium size nonstick pan, and heat over medium heat. Add banana mixture.

Cook bananas until light to golden brown underneath, about 4 - 5 minutes. Be careful not to overcook or burn them.

Gently flip bananas over to brown other side. The second side will brown in less time, about one minute.

Remove the banana from the stove and let cool.

Mash caramelized banana coins. This should yield about one cup of mashed bananas.

Brown Butter Caramelized Banana Cake
Preheat oven to 350F and prepare two 6-inch cake pans. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt together. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the brown butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar together on high speed until smooth and creamy. 

Add the eggs one at a time, making sure the egg is fully incorporated before adding the second egg. Add the vanilla.

Beat in the mashed caramelized bananas. Beat on medium-high speed until combined.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in three additions alternating with the buttermilk. The batter will be slightly thick. It is okay to have lumps in the batter.

Divide batter evenly between two pans. Bake for 24 - 26 minutes, checking the cakes for doneness at 22 minute mark. The cakes are done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Devil's Food Cake
Preheat oven to 350F and prepare one 6-inch cake pan.

In a bowl, whisk together flour, cocoa powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a large measuring cup, combine milk and sour cream. Set aside.

Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, cream together butter and and brown sugar on high speed until smooth and creamy. 

Add egg and beat until mixture is fully-incorporated.

With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients in two additions alternating with the milk-sour cream mixture.

Transfer batter into cake pan and bake for 25 - 28 minutes. The cake is done when a toothpick inserted in the centre comes out clean.

Chocolate Cream Cheese Frosting
Using a mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat cream cheese until smooth.

Add butter to the cream cheese and beat mixture on high until fully mixed and the mixture is smooth and fluffy.

With the mixer on low, add the confectioners sugar, one cup at a time. Add cocoa powder and beat on medium then high speed until fully mixed. Add vanilla.

Add milk, one tablespoon at a time, until frosting is at desired consistency.


Happy baking!

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