Xanthe Milton (writer of the wonderful baking cookbook, Eat Me!) believes that if you are going to bake a cake you should be in at least a calm and collected mood so that your cake is made with happy thoughts; if you don't do this, the cake will not turn out well. After today, I am in total agreement with Xanthe's theory: the actual cake went very well, but as soon as I started making the filling things started to get worse and worse as I got more and more stressed.
The stress came from the fact that I don't have a piping bag and instead have a set of pots with squeezy ends for piping that came in a fancy box and are sold as being really easy to use. In fact, these magical icing tubes are a nightmare to fill, use and clean, especially because they need refilling every twenty seconds and only take a dollop of cream the size of a teaspoon at a time when filling them, and even that is pushing it. As I was filling and refilling the pots, the bananas started to slide off the cake as the caramel had turned a bit runny. By the end of the cake, the middle had all but squeezed out of the sides and I had given up on fancy and attractive piping for just putting the damn cream on the damn cake.
So apologies for this cake's messy appearance. I can assure you that it is very tasty, and it can be cleaned up a bit before serving it to your adoring and expectant fans. To stop the bananas running off the cake, put the cake into the fridge after adding the caramel layers and leave it in there for about ten minutes to make sure the caramel re-sets itself. To stop having a cream catastrophe, make sure you have a good piping bag. Oh, the woes of being a student.
The rainbow cake and flapjacks from last week went down really well - so much so, in fact, that I had a request to make more flapjacks this weekend with my remaining oats.
You may be surprised to know that a piece of this cake is actually slightly better for you than a shop-bought muffin!
For the cake:
200g Self Raising Flour
200g Light Muscovado Sugar
1 Tsp Baking Powder
2-3 Tbsp Milk
1 Chopped Banana (the riper the better)
For the topping:
600ml Double Cream (approx.: I use two packs of Elmlea Double Light - a little less than 600ml)
2 Sliced Bananas
2-3 Tbsp Lemon Juice
30g Icing Sugar
1 Tin Carnation Caramel (found in the same section as condensed milk in the supermarket)
Don't Make My Mistakes!
- Use a good piping bag (don't buy one from Wilkinson's either, I've had one explode on me in the past).
- Put the cake in the fridge once it has been spread with caramel for 10 mins before continuing with the topping.
- Preheat the oven to 180C. Line two sandwich tins, preferably with greaseproof paper or baking parchment.
- Cream the butter and sugar together in a bowl until they are thoroughly combined. (For more detail on how to cream, see Rainbow Cake.)
- Add the eggs, one at a time, until they are well mixed in.
- Slowly add the flour and baking powder little by little, stirring each time, until it has all been combined into the mixture.
- Add a small amount of milk until the cake has a soft dropping consistency (as described in Rainbow Cake).
- Finally, stir in the chopped banana. Divide the cake mixture between the two sandwich tins and bake in the oven for 25 minutes (fan oven)/30 minutes (normal oven) until the cakes have risen and a skewer pushed into the middle of the cake comes out clean.
- When the cakes are done, turn them out onto a cooling rack and leave them until they are completely cool.
- In the mean time, slice the bananas and place them in a bowl. Drizzle the lemon juice over them and gently toss them. This will stop the banana slices from turning brown.
- Pour the cream into a large bowl and add the icing sugar. Take an electric whisk (if you are sane - if you are not sane or have freakishly strong arms then by all means whisk by hand) and whisk the cream until you get stiff peaks (the cream sticking up in the air doesn't fold in on itself) when you pull out the whisk.
- Take your cooled cakes and spread about half of the caramel onto each cake. Put them in the fridge for ten minutes.
- Next, take the banana slices and cover the caramel on each cake with them, preferably in circles that follow the circumference of the cake.
- Fill a piping bag with the whipped cream and pipe star-shaped peaks in circles around the inside of one of the cakes (probably your worst decorated one), moving from the outside in, until the cake is covered with cream dots.
- You might want to put the cake in the fridge again for another ten minutes before carefully placing the second cake on top of the cream on the first. Repeat the cream process on this one.
- If you have any chocolate lying around, it will enhance the appeal of the cake to grate some of it over the top.
Next week I'm intending to follow the theme of turning a dessert into a cake by making a lemon meringue cake, so watch this space.