Caramelised Banana Cake

This recipe yields a suuuper soft and moist cake rich in banana flavour. AND you can make it even when your banana isn’t the ripest.

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Sometimes I just want to make banana cake NOW and not wait for my bananas to go super ripe. So what I did was stick them in the oven so they go from a bright yellow…

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…to a weird black. It looks gross but dude the banana flesh is so soft and sweet. You get such an intense banana flavour as well. I used to just eat the baked banana flesh with a scoop of ice cream.

But persevere and resist temptation because we’re going to add the banana flesh to a kick-ass cake.

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When I say cream the butter and sugar together, I really mean cream it. I used a hand mixer and probably creamed it for a good 10 mins.

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You get a cake with a really good, even flat top. And this is probably one of the softest banana cake I ever had, really like the ones I find in the neighbourhood bakeries in Singapore.

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I couldn’t get a picture of the crumb of the big cake shown because the cake was a gift. But I did make a super mini cake with the leftover batter (shown above) just to give you an indication of how the crumb should look like.

I gave the big cake to my friend the next day and it tasted just as good as the mini cake fresh out of the oven! I also got more compliments the next day on the cake, not sure if it was because this cake tastes better if you leave it overnight, or if the crowd on the second day was just easily impressed.

The recipe’s from here, only thing I did different was roast the bananas first.

Ingredients

  • 4 bananas
  • 250g butter
  • 180g sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 4 tbsp milk
  • 220g plain flour
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder

Method

  1. Bake the bananas at 220°C for 15 mins, or until bananas turn black and the flesh is tender.
  2. Remove the banana flesh from the skin, and let the flesh drain and cool in a colander to get rid of as much liquid as possible.
  3. In a large bowl cream the butter and sugar until it’s super light and fluffy. Like REALLY light and fluffy. It should change colour to a really pale yellow.
  4. Mix in the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
  5. Mix in the vanilla and milk a little at a time, beating well between each addition.
  6. Mash up the drained banana flesh. Measure out 1 1/2 cups of banana (which was all of my bananas) and mix well into the batter.
  7. In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, and baking powder.
  8. Sieve in the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients in thirds, mixing well between each addition. Don’t overmix the batter though.
  9. Pour into a buttered and lined dish of your choice and bake at 160°C for about an hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Baking time will depend on the dish you choose so just keep an eye on it.
  10. Let cake cool in the pan.

Notes

  • I used 1 more banana than in the original recipe because the roasting process does shrink them a bit. The roasting process also releases a lot of liquid from the bananas so make sure to drain well before using.
  • Creaming the mixture helps incorporate air and apparently creates the initial structure of the batter so you can add loads of other stuff and your batter won’t collapse. I’ve always underestimated when to stop beating, but creaming your butter and sugar well really does make a difference.
  • If your cake is browning too quickly cover the cake with some foil. This didn’t happen to me though.
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Lemon Meringue Cake with lemon curd filling, toasted Swiss meringue frosting, and meringue kisses

An entire lemon was used in the cake – peel and all. Combined with the intense flavour of the lemon curd filling, this cake is really made for a lemon lover (like me).

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It all starts off with simmering some lemons.

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The lemons are then blended (with the blender placed on the floor where there was actually light) and used in the sponge.

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Meanwhile a super intensely lemon-y curd is prepared as a filling.

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I refrigerated my cake layers as I was too lazy to make and decorate the cake on the same day. I also pointed a knife threateningly at them.

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The curd was put in its place by a border of mellow, marshmallow-y swiss meringue.

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The remaining meringue was then torched…

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Or baked to create crispy meringue kisses which not only provided texture but also helped hide that ugly little border where cake met plate.

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The end result was a very bright, refreshing cake and a very happy me.

The cake recipe was from the Queen herself, Mary Berry. I used the same lemon curd recipe I used in my Lemon Curd Ice Cream, and the same Swiss meringue frosting I used in my Sweet Potato Cake with Toasted Marshmallow Frosting.

Ingredients (makes a 2 thick-layered 6″ cake or a normal 2-layered 8″ cake I guess)

Cake

  • 1 small thin-skinned lemon (see notes)
  • 275g softened butter
  • 275g caster sugar
  • 275g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 4 medium eggs

Swiss meringue frosting/meringue kisses

  • 3 large egg whites
  • 160g granulated sugar (3/4 cup)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Curd

  • 6 egg yolks
  • 100g sugar
  • 1/2 cup lemon juice (about 4 lemons)
  • The zest from the lemons you used
  • 57g melted butter
  • 1 tbsp cornflour

Method

Cake

  1. Place the lemon in a small saucepan, cover with water, and bring to the boil. Then lower the heat and simmer for 20 mins, or until soft and tender. Drain, cut the lemons in half, and remove any pips (like with a fork or something since the lemons are still hot).
  2. Place the lemons (everything – including the skin) into a food processor and process until smoothish but still chunky. Set aside.
  3. Mix the butter with the sugar until fluffy. Then add the other ingredients in and mix. Stir in the lemon pulp until incorporated.
  4. Butter and line two tins. Fill the tins and bake in a preheated oven at 180ºC for 30 mins, or until golden brown and shrinking from the edge of the tins. If a knife is inserted it should come out clean or with moist crumbs.
  5. Leave to cool for five mins before turning the cakes out on a wire rack to finish cooling.

Swiss meringue

  1. Place the egg whites into a double boiler. Whisk with an electric whisk until the egg whites are foamy, then add the sugar and salt. Whisk until you cannot feel the sugar grains in the egg whites any more (should take about 3 mins).
  2. Remove the bowl from heat, and whisk until the meringue is cool and you achieve stiff peaks. Mix in vanilla.

Lemon curd

  1. Mix the yolks with the sugar vigorously. Then add the rest of the ingredients and mix.
  2. Microwave on medium-high for 1.5 mins. Stir.
  3. Repeat on medium or medium-high at 1 mins interval, stirring every time after you heat until the curd is thick.
  4. Sieve the curd.

Assembly

  1. Level the cake layers. Smear a little bit of meringue onto the plate (to stop the cake from sliding, hopefully) and place your first cake layer on top.
  2. Pipe a border of swiss meringue around the perimeter of the cake. Then fill in the middle with the lemon curd. Don’t go too overboard or your cake layers will slide around.
  3. Place your second cake layer on top. Cover the whole thing with meringue and torch it. Then place in the fridge.
  4. Meanwhile, place your remaining meringue into a piping bag and pipe little meringue kisses onto some baking paper.
  5. Bake in a preheated oven at 140ºC for about 40 mins. You should be able to lift the meringue kiss off the baking paper. When fresh out of the oven it’d still feel spongy but let it sit for a while and it’d turn crispy.
  6. Decorate your cake with the meringue kisses.

Notes

  • The cake was a little close-textured, not sure if it was supposed to be that way or if I made it wrong. Still tasted good.
  • You’d probably end up with extra lemon curd. But I served the extra lemon curd to guests for them to dollop extra onto their slice. Can’t have too much of that curd, man.
  • The meringue kisses won’t survive for more than a day probably, and will become soft and spongy unless you keep them in an airtight container.
  • The recipe said to boil 1 lemon but the first picture shows me boiling 2 lemons. Yeah, that’s because I only ended up using half of my lemon puree anyway.
  • It’s really important to use thin-skinned lemons (when you press it the skin should give easily) or your cake layers will be bitter.
  • If making your cake layers in advance, wait for them to cool completely before wrapping tightly in cling film and, if you’re feeling real paranoid, placing it in a wrapped cake in a ziplock bag. You can either store at room temperature for about a day if you live in a cool dry area or in the fridge.

Devil’s Food Cake with Crunchy Hazelnut Filling

The star of this cake is the crunchy, nutty filling – reminiscent of crushed Ferrero Rochers sandwiched between dark cake layers that aren’t too sweet.

The whole thing is then covered with a luscious water ganache that’s intensely chocolatey. This ganache is made using water instead of cream, and nooo your ganache will not seize up. Instead you’ll get a frosting that isn’t too rich, where the chocolate takes center stage (so get a good chocolate).

Had to give myself a little pat on the shoulder for thinking of sugar cones as a stand-in for feuilletine. Feuilletine is often used in cakes to add some crunch…and basically tastes exactly like sugar cones. Yeah it wasn’t that much of an innovation thinking of a substitute.

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I went a little bit too enthusiastic with the decoration, dashing my lofty plans of an elegant cake and instead getting this wild creation.

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I got this recipe from David Lebovitz (he of all things chocolate) and just added the hazelnut crunch in the middle.

Ingredients (makes a 2-layered 8″ cake)

Cake

  • 9 tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder (66g)
  • 1 1/2 cups cake flour (188g)
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 4 oz unsalted butter, room temperature (113g)
  • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar (300g)
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup strong coffee
  • 1/2 cup milk

Ganache frosting

  • 10 oz bittersweet chocolate, I used 70% (283g)
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 unsalted butter (170g)

Hazelnut crunch layer

  • 175g hazelnut paste/butter
  • 175g feuilletine (I used some crushed sugar cones as a substitute, see notes)
  • 75g white chocolate
  • Pinch of salt

Method

Cake

  1. Sift the cocoa powder, cake flour, salt, baking soda, and baking powder together.
  2. Beat the butter and sugar until fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time until incorporated.
  3. Stir the coffee and milk together. Stir half of the dry ingredients into the butter mixture. Mix the milky coffee in. Then stir in the remaining dry ingredients.
  4. Bake at 180°C for 25 mins (see notes).

Ganache frosting

  1. Melt the chocolate with the water over a double boiler. Cut the butter into small pieces and whisk into the chocolate until smooth.
  2. Cool for 1h at room temperature until spreadable.

Hazelnut crunch layer

  1. Melt the white chocolate either over a double boiler or very carefully in the microwave on the lowest setting.
  2. Mix in the hazelnut butter and salt.
  3. Stir in the feuilletine.

Assembly

  1. Put a little bit of frosting on your plate so your cake is secured to the plate.
  2. Spread a layer of frosting onto your first layer of cake. Spread a layer of the hazelnut crunch layer on top. Then place your second layer on top of that.
  3. Cover the whole thing in frosting and decorate. I used cocoa nibs, toasted hazelnuts, Maldon salt, and some leftover feuilletine.

Notes

  • If you don’t have feuilletine, you can substitute with some ice cream sugar cones like I did, or with crispy rolled crepes (the biscuits that kind of look like this or this).
  • The hazelnut butter I used was the one from whole foods, where it’s made from pure ground nuts.
  • My cake took closer to 35 mins to bake, though that might be my oven’s problem.
  • My ganache did not set at room temperature and I had to refrigerate it to get it to the right consistency. Since I refrigerated it the ganache was no longer shiny and pretty D: Some other people seems to have the problem as well, although many do not have this issue. For me I think it’s because my kitchen’s pretty warm right now. To solve this issue you can either refrigerate it like I did or add icing sugar to desired stiffness.
  • This cake tastes best at room temperature, eaten on the day it was made.

Chocolate Lava Cake with Salted Egg Yolk Custard Centre

Sheer decadence.

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It’s technically still Valentine’s Day. Which means it’s time for chocolate!

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And I really needed to use my leftover salted eggs from when I made my Charcoal Buns with Salted Egg Yolk Custard Filling so I combined the two, plagiarised a cafe in Singapore, and came out with this chocolate lava cake/chocolate fondant/molten chocolate cake/chocolate moelleux (I properly Wikipedia-ed this).

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Check out that stained baking pan.

If you like sweet and salty together you’re going to like this. You kind of get the appeal of dark chocolate with salt, but with the rich creaminess from the salted egg yolk.

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Casual cocoa dusting.

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The salted egg yolk filling wasn’t as flowy as I would have liked it to be though. I had the same problem when trying to make my charcoal buns, and I thought that was because of the long baking time but I guess not. Should probably switch my recipe source the next time.

I suggest just using the filling recipe from where I got this recipe from instead of the one I’m going to list below. I mean the one I used still tasted good, and with a bit of cheeky urging you can give the illusion of flowiness like in the photo above. But you’re not going to get that dramatic video of the lava spilling out when you cut into it.

Ingredients (serves 3)

Filling (you might end up with extra)

  • 70g caster sugar
  • 65g custard powder
  • 55g milk powder
  • 100g unsalted butter, softened
  • 3 salted egg yolk, steamed and mashed
  • 2 tbsp evaporated milk

Cake

  • 75g dark chocolate
  • 38g unsalted butter, softened
  • 38g double cream
  • 75g egg (about 2 medium eggs)
  • 38g egg yolk (about 2 medium egg yolks)
  • 22g sugar
  • 30g cake flour
  • Cocoa powder (to decorate, optional)

Method

Filling

  1. Mix the custard powder, caster sugar, and milk powder together and stir until well combined. Add in the butter and evaporated milk and mix until it becomes a paste.
  2. Add in the salted mashed egg yolks. Put in the freezer for 2 mins for it to firm up a bit.
  3. Divide into 50g balls and freeze until hardened (about 4 hours).
  4. Eat the extra.

Cake

  1. Melt the chocolate, cream, and butter in a mixing bowl (either over a double boiler or microwave on low).
  2. In a separate bowl, combine the eggs and sugar.
  3. Combine the chocolate and egg mixtures then add in the sifted flour until just combined. Don’t mix for too long.
  4. Brush the ramekins with melted butter. Dust cocoa powder into the ramekins and tip out the excess. This is to stop the lava cake from sticking to the ramekins.
  5. Pour the batter into the ramekins until it is half full. Place the frozen salted egg yolk filling in the middle of the ramekins. Pour the rest of the chocolate batter over the filling, making sure the filling is covered with batter.
  6. Bake in a preheated oven at 210°C for 10-12 mins or until the top has set.
  7. Run a palette knife round the outside of the cakes to loosen. Place a plate over the top and invert to get the cake out.
  8. Dust some cocoa powder over the top if you want.

Notes

  • My ramekins were about 2/3 cups or 185ml capacity. If you want me to be even more precise, these ramekins are Pots & Co ramekins.
  • I only used just slightly more than half of the filling I made, but the amount of cake batter was just right. If your ramekins are of a different size, adjust accordingly (time to use that math you learnt in school).
  • Adjust your baking time according to the size of your ramekins.
  • If you want to hear me talk more about salted egg yolk read my previous post on Charcoal Buns.

 

Pumpkin Cheesecake

It can never be the wrong season for pumpkin desserts.

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Well OK more like I bought a can of pumpkin puree way back in October and just never got round to making this.

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This cake was really easy to make! The whole preparation process only took about 30 minutes, made even shorter since I was lazy efficient and used canned pumpkin instead of mashing some fresh ones.

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The cheesecake is really creamy and well, tastes like pumpkin and cinnamon. I thought it went well with the biscuit base I added, not sure why the original recipe didn’t have one.

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I got this recipe from Cooking with Dog and just added a biscuit base and cinnamon.

Ingredients (makes 1 8″ cake)

  • About 150g Rich Tea biscuits (or biscuit of your choice)
  • About 75g melted butter
  • 200g pumpkin puree
  • 50g sugar
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • 200g cream cheese
  • 100ml heavy cream/double cream (95g)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp all purpose flour or cake flour
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp rum (optional)

Method

  1. Crush the biscuits up. Add the butter gradually until you get a biscuit mixture that can hold together when you press it.
  2. Line a cake tin with butter and parchment paper, lining the sides as well.
  3. Press the crushed biscuits into the bottom of the cake tin.
  4. In a large bowl, mix the pumpkin and mash with sugar and honey.
  5. Add cream cheese and beat in.
  6. Add the heavy cream and the eggs and beat in.
  7. Add the flour, vanilla, cinnamon, and rum. Beat in.
  8. Pour the batter into the cake tin and bang the tin a few times to get rid of bubbles.
  9. Bake at 170°C for about 40 mins (see notes). The cheesecake is done when you shake the tin and it wobbles slightly in the middle (set about two inches from the sides).
  10. Let cool in the oven switched off with the door ajar. Once it reaches room temperature, let chill in the fridge for at least 6 hours.

Notes

  • I didn’t measure my biscuits and butter for the base, so the quantities listed is more like a rough guide.
  • If you can’t find any pumpkin puree (or you want to use some other squash-like vegetable or something) you can blend it yourself. Follow the original video for how to do so.
  • If you’re not using a pan with a removable bottom, making the parchment paper taller than the sides of the cake tin will make it easier to remove the cake.
  • My oven temperature is really wonky so it took me closer to an hour before the cake was ready. So I’m not sure if the recipe is wrong or if it was just my oven acting up.
  • The way Chef in the video tests if the cake is done is with a bamboo skewer but I found that that made the cake more likely to crack when cooling, so I prefer to do the wobble test.
  • I did have some small cracks along the sides while baking but that got disguised as a wrinkle while cooling down, whew.
  • If you’re extra particular about not getting cracks, cook the cheesecake in a water bath.