Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting for Luke and Lee


Don't you love celebrating birthdays? It enables you to share in the joy of someone else's big day, and to make them happy. For me, that always means baking a cake. I am lucky in that I have been reunited with some former colleagues from my old work, where birthdays were celebrated. That doesn't happen at my new job, but I was determined to bring some of the joy back for my colleagues, with whom I feel a special bond. It is a shame that our wonderful, sociable group was split up by the inevitable corporate reorganisation, but them's the breaks. Thankfully, many of us keep loosely in touch in one form or another.

It was my colleagues Luke and Lee's birthdays recently, one day after the other. I have absolutely no idea what their favourite type of cake is - I just know that they like cake. This gave me plenty of poetic licence to choose what I would make for them, so I turned to David Lebovitz's Ready for Dessert, one of the newest books in my collection, with a huge chocolate cake with shiny chocolate glaze glistening enticingly on the front cover.

After a happy half hour or so mulling over the pages, I chose his Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting. The original also has candied peanuts on top, but this was to be a birthday cake which I wanted to decorate festively, so there would be no candied peanuts for me. My good friend Clivia has already made this cake and posted the recipe, including the candied peanuts, which you can find here.

David made this cake for a member of the Moulin Rouge dance troupe. Try as I might, I couldn't picture Luke or Lee in a Moulin Rouge costume, which is just as well really, but I strongly felt that this was the cake for them. It is tall, moist, and multi-layered, with glossy mocha frosting on top - heck, this sounds like a cake for everyone.

Here is a glimpse at one of the undressed layers of banana cake, showing the pecans studded throughout the moist banana batter to give a satisfying textural crunch:


Take two of these, let them cool, then whip up a mocha frosting with butter, chocolate and coffee, and lo, this is the end result:



You need to leave the frosting to sit for a while after making it so that it thickens up sufficiently so that it doesn't slide off the cake. I also found that I had to do about three layers of it to coat the cake completely, so don't pour it all over at once unless your frosting is very thick to start with.

I decorated my cake a la the Agatha Christie cake, with candied violets and silver cachous, and of course it is not a birthday cake without having your name piped on top.

This is a fabulous cake for a celebration, so bear it in mind when you are next considering a special occasion cake.

11 comments:

SteelCityFlan said...

It looks and sounds delicious. I'm a sucker for banana bread/cake in any form, and adding chocolate and pecans to it pretty much seals the deal :)

Amanda said...

I sincerely hope your friends appreciate what they have in you. And 3 layers of frosting sounds just about right!

Lorraine @NotQuiteNigella said...

Oh I was just thinking that this reminded me of how you decorated the Agatha Christie cake! :D

Claire K Creations said...

Yum! I love banana bread/cake too. You have very lucky friends.

Heavenly Housewife said...

That looks spectacular, and the flavour is awesome. Beautiful job. I've never had anyone make me a handmade cake like this.
*kisses* HH

crustabakes said...

i love the pecans within the cake! YUMM!

Beth said...

What a great cake! They're lucky to have somebody who bakes like that for them!

dining table said...

This actually a very nice cake. I seldom see people bake a banana cake. I really find it so delicious.

jillbert said...

That looks delicious! Maybe your company will start celebrating birthdays if they see all the fabulous cakes that you bake!

Sarah @ For the Love of Food said...

This has a lot of the ingredients I love in one package. I love a good moist banana cake esp with nuts and a mocha frosting sounds like a great accompaniment. I love how tall this is - very celebratory.

Cate O'Malley said...

Looks like a delicious way to celebrate a birthday - yum!