Monday, February 2, 2009

CAKE SLICE BAKERS: BANANA CAKE WITH PRALINE FILLING AND WHITE CHOCOLATE GANACHE


Well, a new year calls for the joining of new groups. As if I haven't dedicated enough of my time to my interactive baking groups, I decided to go ahead and join another; The Cake Slice Bakers. Of all the various baked goods out there, I definitely enjoy baking/creating cakes the most so I knew this group would be for me. Plus, it didn't hurt that I already purchased the book that we are baking from (Sky High Irresistible Triple Layer Cakes) months ago. Now I have a real opportunity to actually bake the cakes that lie within the pages of this monstrous book. I'm a few cakes behind so I did my best to catch up this weekend.

First up was this banana cake with praline filling and white chocolate ganache. This cake was outstanding. The cakes in this book are all 8 to 9inch triple layer cakes and being that one of these would feed a family of 100 I decided to scale them all down to a single 6inch-3inch deep cake round which was then cut into 3 layers by halving the recipe and then halving them again (thus creating 1/4 the recipe). I have never scaled a recipe down this much so I was a bit skeptical but it came out perfect! After baking a few of these cakes scaled down I realized how much I love love love mini cakes like this. They are so cute and fun and make for a great gift. The guys in my garage were very grateful :)

The Cake:
makes a 9-inch triple layer cake
(I made 1/4 of the recipe by scaling down-notes in red)

3 cups of cake flour* 3/4 c
3 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder 3/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon 1/4 tsp + 1/8 tsp
1/2 teaspoon of salt 1/8 tsp
3/4 cup of milk a little more than an 1/8 c
1/2 cup of ripe mashed bananas 1/8 c
8 ounces of softened unsalted butter 2 oz
2 cups of sugar1/4 c
7 egg whites 1 egg white + 3/4 egg white

Praline Filling: (I made the full amount)
1 cup sugared pecans, cooled
1 and 1/2 cups white chocolate ganache

Sugared Pecans: (I made the full amount)
1 and 1/2 cups pecan halves
3 cups vegetable oil
1 cup confectioners sugar

White Chocolate Ganache: (I made the full amount and saved the extra)
8 ounces of white chocolate chopped
2 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

CAKE:
  1. Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
  2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside dry ingredients. In a food processor or blender, process the milk and banana into a smooth light puree. Set aside.
  3. In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. On medium high speed, beat in egg whites 2-3 at a time until smooth. Scraping down the sides of the bowl between egg additions.
  4. With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and banana puree alternately in 2-3 additions, beating until just blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium-high speed for 1-minute. Divide the batter among the cake pans.
  5. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of each cake. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto a wired rack and remove the paper liners. Then cool completely one hour.
  6. To assemble the cake, put one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Cover the top evenly with half of the praline filling, leaving a 1/4"-inch margin around the edges. place the second layer on top, again flat side up, cover it with remaining filling. Finally add the third layer and frost the sides and top with the white chocolate ganache. Garnish with sugared pecans.
Praline Filling
  1. With a large chef's knife chop the pecans. Or pulse in a food processor being careful not to turn into paste.
  2. Add the sugared pecans to the white chocolate ganache and stir to mix well.

Sugared Pecans
  1. Place the pecans in a medium sauce pan, add water to cover, and heat to a boiling. Boil the pecans slowly until they are swollen and soft 5-8 minutes. Drain the nuts well in a sieve for about 5 minutes. (Do not pat dry; the nuts must remain damp.)
  2. While the nuts are draining, heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan or deep fat fryer t0 350F degrees.
  3. Set half of the nuts aside. Dust the remaining nuts in the sieve with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Shake the sieve to coat the nuts evenly, letting any excess sugar fall away. Immediately add the coated nuts to the hot oil. Fry until golden brown about 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon scoop the nuts out and drain them on several thickness of paper towels. Repeat the process with the remaining nuts.

White Chocolate Ganache
  1. Pu the white chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl. In a small sauce bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 1-minute, then whisk until smooth. Let the white chocolate cream stand until cooled to room temperature.
  2. In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters beat the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream and vanilla until softly whipped. Stir in the white chocolate cream and beat until fairly stiff. taking care not over beat, which would cause the ganache to separate.


2 comments:

pinkstripes said...

Your cake looks gorgeous!

The Food Librarian said...

Absolutely impressive!! Looks great!