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Chocolate Banana Cake

When I was in my second year of undergraduate, I volunteered in Toronto’s north end, reading with a grade 2 class. The students were over 90% first- or second- generation Canadians, and they found reading an incredible challenge. They taught me the virtues of patience and perseverance: it was magical to watch their literacy skills grow over the year. During my last session, they surprised me with a beautiful baking book, Baking: Simple to Sensational

This year, I decided to volunteer in a homework club, in the North end of Halifax where the kids similarly struggle to read. We had our final session last Wednesday (where I learned that if you don’t watch kids near an open box of cookies like a hawk, they will eat ten!), and it inspired me to flip through the baking book and reminisce about Toronto. I was seeking a chocolatey dessert, and this beauty caught my eye. With the promise of dense, moist, and with a velevety chocolate glaze, I was hooked. Chocolate cake on its own is delicious, and the bananas were sure to add depth. The resulting cake quickly evaporated (especially when served with homemade whipping cream)!

Chocolate Banana Cake
(serves 8-12)

Ingredients:
CAKE
4 semi-sweet chocolate baking squares, chopped (4 ounces total)
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 small banana, mashed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

GANACHE:
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 semi-sweet chocolate baking squares, chopped

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom of a greased 9 inch round pan with waxed paper (I used a springform pan). Grease the waxed paper and the pan.

Over the double boiler, melt the chocolate and the butter until smooth. Allow to chill for five minutes. Meanwhile, sift all the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients. Create a well in the flour mixture, and mix the wet with the dry ingredients. Add the chocolate mixture, and blend until smooth.

Bake in oven for about 40 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool completely and transfer to a plate.

For the ganache, heat whipping cream until bubbles start to form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat, and stir in chocolate. Mix until the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Pour and spread over cake top and sides. Chill for at least half an hour. Serve with whipping cream!

– Catherine

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