Friday, October 24, 2014

Mocha Glazed Banana Cakes w. Peanut Brittle

I love bananas. They're the easiest and creamiest fruit to bake into a cake, and the smell is just simply divine. This recipe is my TO GO dessert party contribution OR edible bribes for students to behave - the oatmeal cakes are fluffy clouds, glazed with a rich mocha ganache. And because peanuts and bananas are a NO BRAINER- D'UHH, it's finished off with a salted peanut brittle. Just don't ask me how to make them, because my family actually buys them by the truckload from Penang! 

Banana Oatmeal Cake with Mocha Glaze
Makes one 9-inch cake, 12 to 16 servings (Slightly adapted from David Lebovitz’s Ready for Dessert)
Banana Cake
  • 2 1/2 cups (350 g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup (8 ounces/230 g) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 1/4 cups brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon instant espresso or coffee powder
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons (90 ml) sour cream
  • 2 cups (500 ml) banana puree (3 to 4 large bananas)
  • 1 cup oats
1.       Preheat oven to 350° F (175° C).  Line your muffin tins with liners.
2.     Mix bananas, sour cream and oats till mushy. Leave for 30 minutes to allow oats to soften.
3.      Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a medium-sized bowl.  Using a large whisk, whisk to combine.
4.      In a stand mixer with with the paddle attachment on medium speed, beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes.  Add the vanilla extract and espresso powder (or coffee powder) and beat to just combine.
5.      Add the eggs one-at-a-time, beating well until completely incorporated.
6.      Mix in half of the flour mixture, followed by the banana mixture.
7.      Reduce speed to stir, stir in the remaining flour mixture. Do not over mix.
8.      Bake until golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centre of the cakes comes out clean, about 15 minutes.  Remove from oven and place on a wire rack to cool completely.

Mocha Glaze
·      210g dark chocolate (chopped)
·      200g unsalted butter
·      2 tablespoons light corn syrup
·      1 tablespoon Kahlua liqeur
·      1 tablespoon espresso powder.
  1. Melt butter and chocolate in microwave, stirring at 30 second intervals. Stir in corn syrup, Kahlua and espresso powder until smooth and combined.

Baker’s Notes
1.     Using ripe bananas and sour cream makes for a really moist cake. If you’re looking for a lighter version, substitute with greek yoghurt or buttermilk.
2.  I love the addition of coffee and spices into the cake, it marries beautifully with the banana flavor!
3.  You can substitute the oats with chocolate chips or nuts - whatever floats your banana boat :D

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

German Chocolate Cupcakes

The day started out wonderful, my sister (who happens to be back from Houston) and I were doing our hair. Catching up on sister / girl talk we've missed for the past 9 months, laughing at our younger siblings. There's also a welcome shift in our relationship dynamics, now that our age gap is less prominent. She actually listens intently to my opinions and advice, where before I was just the younger, slightly fluffy 'mei mei'. 

So this cake is sort of a tribute to our sisterhood - a dark devil's food cake made extra fluffy with sour cream, skimmed with a dark chocolate glaze and made sweet with a dulce de leche coconut walnut topping! It's alot of work, but what family and sister isn't worth it? 

Devil's Food Cake Recipe (Makes 12 cupcakes) 
Adapted from Baked
 1 cup + 1 tablespoon cake flour
3/8 cup dark, unsweetened cocoa powder, like Valrhona
3/4 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup hot coffee
1/2 cup sour cream
140g unsalted softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
3/4 teaspoons vanilla
2 ounces (60g) dark chocolate, melted and cooled

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Sift the cake flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt into a medium mixing bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the coffee and sour cream

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated. Add the vanilla and beat to incorporate. The mixture will look light and fluffy.

Add the flour mixture, alternating with the coffee/buttermilk mixture, in three additions, beginning and ending with the flour mixture. Remove the bowl from the mixer and fold in the melted chocolate.

Bake around 15 minutes, until toothpick inserted comes out clean.

Spread glaze over cooled cupcakes and top with coconut filling. 

Chocolate Glaze
100g chopped semisweet chocolate
45g unsalted butter
1 tbsp light corn syrup
½ tbsp. coconut rum
Pinch of coffee powder
Pinch of salt

In a bowl, melt chocolate, butter and coffee powder in a microwave, pausing to stir occasionally. Add in corn syrup and rum and stir until smooth. Let the glaze cool till lukewarm and pourable. 

Dulce De Leche Coconut Filling (Adapted from The Brown Betty Cookbook)
½ cup sweetened flaked coconut
½ cup chopped walnuts
200g dulce de leche
½ tablespoon pure vanilla extract
Pinch of salt.

Toast coconuts, pecans and salt together until golden (or till a nutty scent wafts in your kitchen). Mix vanilla, toasted mixture and dulce de leche together till well combined. The mixture will be sticky. 

Baker's Notes

This cake is quite tedious to make, especially with the glaze and filling. You can prep them the day before. Toasting the walnuts and coconut is SOO IMPORTANT because it gives your filling that extra 'burnt' flavour! 

If you can't find dulce de leche in the supermarket, it's easy peasy to make! All you need is condensed milk and some patience. Check out the different ways you can whip it up yourself here.