There are very few things I would change about my Husband Rich. He's the consistent to my rollercoaster moods, the calm to my crazy. But he has horrific taste in frosting. Unless it's what we call "shitty chocolate icing" (I've since managed to at least get him to agree to a chocolate american buttercream), he doesn't want anything to do with it. He will scrape the buttercream off cakes, chop it off the top of cupcakes, or just flat out refuse anything involving swiss meringue buttercream. Last weekend I was taking a cake for a friends birthday and he asked if he could BRING HIS OWN FROSTING. And as much as I try to not let it bug me, I always get a little bummed out when he scrapes frosting off or eats around it. My theory is that the fancier it is, the longer it took me, or the more components it has, the higher the chances are of him not liking it. Banana bread? He will eat a whole loaf in a day. Multi component choux buns? He's gonna ask me to leave him some unfilled so he can eat them plain. Luckily I have loads of friends who aren't as basic in baking preferences as Rich, but I always have to remind myself when presenting him with something that's taken me ages or is super intricate, that he's probably not going to like it because he's a monster. Is it just me? Or does this happen to other people too?
I did however manage to sneak this banana sheet cake with whipped dark chocolate ganache past him the other day. Granted, he did request an american buttercream when I made it for him for his birthday, but at least this one didn't get scraped off (I don't know what's wrong with him, honestly, because the ganache is the best part). Banana cake is a huge favourite around our house, probably because it's just banana bread in a different form.
The cake itself is super super easy, and all I have done is fancied it up a little with a whipped dark chocolate ganache. The ganache is dark and rich, and balances the sweet, moist cake. Feel free to add a different buttercream to this (Rich recommends a double batch of this one, but a dark chocolate swiss meringue situation would also be amazing), but I do encourage you to give the ganache a go. It's worth it.
A few wee tips:
The Ganache does need some time to firm up in the fridge - you want to give it a little time on the bench first to reduce the condensation when you put on the plastic wrap. I like to let it firm up, stirring occasionally, until it is thick and fudgy, and then whip it - It usually needs about half an hour on the bench and then another 60-90 minutes in the fridge.
If you have another mixing bowl that would be great for this, alternatively I like to get the cake in the oven, and then wash out my mixer bowl, and make the ganache directly in it, so when it comes time to whip it, it's already in the right bowl.
If you let your ganache sit a little too long and it gets too firm, then as you are whipping it, take a little out, heat up in the microwave until soft and slightly warm, then add to the cold mixture. Mix it in, and repeat if needed to make the ganache the right consistency.
Banana Sheet Cake with Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache
- Makes one 9" x 13" cake, serves about 12-18 people depending on slice size -
250g (2 1/4 sticks/8.8oz) unsalted butter, at room temperature
350g (1 3/4 cups) sugar
4 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tsp (8grams) baking soda
60ml (1/4 cup) milk
500g (4 cups) All-purpose flour
2 tsp (8 grams) baking powder
Whipped Dark Chocolate Ganache
600g good quality dark chocolate, finely chopped
400g heavy cream
Chocolate Pearls and flaky sea salt to finish, optional
- PROCESS -
Preheat the oven to 350f/180c. Grease a 9" x 13" pan.
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, or in a bowl with an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add bananas and beat until incorporated. Add eggs one at a time, ensuring bowl is well scraped down and mixture is well combined.
Heat milk in the microwave, or a small pan until boiling. Add baking soda to milk, and add to the mix, mixing until well combined.
Sift flour and baking powder, and add to the mixture. Mix briefly until just combined. Scrape into the prepared pan, and bake 30-45 minutes until lightly golden, and a tester inserted in the middle of a cake comes out clean. If you don't mind the cake being a little more dense, you can also place a clean tea towel over the cake soon after it comes out of the oven and press down gently to help lessen the dome. Allow to cool completely.
WHIPPED CHOCOLATE GANACHE
Place the chocolate in the bowl of a stand mixer or heatproof bowl. Place the cream in a small pan, and place over low heat until just boiling. Pour over the chopped chocolate, add the salt, then cover the bowl with a plate. Let sit for 5 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Let the ganache sit on the counter for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, then carefully cover with plastic wrap and transfer to the fridge, and leave for 60-90 minutes, checking occasionally, until a scoopable consistency. Place the mixing bowl on the stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and mix on medium speed until whipped.
Dump the ganache onto the cooled cake, spread with an offset spatula, and sprinkle with chocolate pearls and flaky sea salt. Slice into squares to serve. Store leftovers in an airtight container.