It's been a fun, challenging, scary, surprising and exciting three years. I started out as an amateur, naive and unsure decorator and now I'd like to believe that three years later, I am a little more confident, assertive and experienced :) I set out with a simple plan... to make awesome cakes. I know I sill have lots to learn and more new ideas to create but I believe I am on the right path and I hope that along the way I can inspire others to pursue and live their dream too :)
I still do have days where I wonder if everything would be much easier if I was still in the corporate world, but overall I am almost 100% sure I have done the right thing - even on days where I am exhausted after a day if teaching, attending to orders and cleaning the floors.
So, last week I celebrated my 29th birthday and Nick made me the most awesome Chunky Monkey cake. And I thought I'd share the recipe with you guys to celebrate my three year anniversary of proudly being unemployed and because it's also super delicious.
The first time I tried this flavour combination was as a chocolate bar from choccywoccydoodah - it was a milk chocolate bar with salted peanuts and dried bananas. I admit I was a little unsure of the dried bananas since I am not a fan of them on their own but the combination worked perfectly. The same goes with this cake - the banana chocolate cake is so moist and together with the salty peanuts and crunchy dried bananas it is heaven :)
Chocolate Banana Cake
(Original recipe from Joy of Baking makes a shorter 9in round cake)
2 cups (400 grams) granulated white sugar
1 3/4 cups (245 grams) all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (75 grams) unsweetened cocoa powder (regular or Dutch-processed)
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 medium sized bananas)
1 cup (240 ml) warm water
1/2 cup (120 ml) milk
1/2 cup (120 ml) corn, safflower or canola oil (or other flavorless oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (180 degrees C) and place rack in the center of the oven. Butter, or spray the tin with non stick vegetable spray.
In a large bowl whisk together the sugar, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
In another large bowl, whisk together the eggs, mashed bananas, water, milk, oil, and vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and stir, or whisk, until combined. You will notice that the batter is quite thin. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 35 to 40 minutes or until a skewer inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven and let cool on a wire rack. Chill in the fridge overnight before assembly.
Milk Chocolate Ganache
500g couverture milk chocolate
200ml thickened cream
Place the chocolate and cream in a heatproof bowl and microwave for one and a half minutes.
Remove and stir, then return to the microwave for 30 seconds increments. Stir well between each increment until everything is well combined. Allow to set overnight in a cool room.
1 bag Banana chips
1 bag Salted peanuts
Split the cake in half lengthways, this is easier if the cake is cold.
Spread the ganache over the middle and sprinkle generously with salted peanuts and dried banana chips.
Place the other cake layer on top. Spread the side and the top of the cake with ganache and sprinkle more salted peanuts and banana chips. Enjoy :)