It's Ryan's birthday! (And it's my blog's 1st birthday too!) So this splendid double birthday calls for some fabulous cake, don't you agree? I knew all along I was going make/bake something for Ryan's birthday. I'd actually been pondering as to what I was going to make, and wether I was going to make something just for him or something he could take to work to share. I wanted to add an element of suprise too seeing as I already let the location of his birthday lunch out of the bag. But then there was the dilemna of him not knowing that I was going to bake him a cake and doubling up on birthday cake at work in the case that someone was going to bring one in.
Well after some messages backwards and forwards on his facebook (yes HIS) wall with one of his work mates it was settled that I was going to bake a cake for him to bring to work. So yes he knew he was getting a cake but he was not to take a peep at it until it was time to cut the cake. So what cake am I going to make now? Well I made him some banana cupcakes for valentines which he loved so thought I might as well use the same recipe again because it was a really nice cake. I thought I'd also try and include elements of his favourite foods in the cake too, which all kind of got added on as I went along.
The great thing about this banana cake recipe is that you use a food processor to mix everything up. Genius! I love easy recipes. It doesn't rise rapidly and also gives you a nice almost even surface instead of a domed cake. I also adapted the quantities to make this cake and adapted the cream cheese frosting to what I wanted.
Banana Cake (adapted from recipe on taste.com.au)
- 250g butter cubed, at room temperature
- 2 1/2 cups caster sugar
- 3 large mashed overripe bananas
- 3 eggs
- 3 tsp vanilla extract
- 250ml buttermilk
- 3 cups self-raising flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2. Place the butter, sugar, mashed bananas and eggs into the bowl of a food processor and process until well combined.
3. Add the vanilla extract and buttermilk and process again until combined. Add the flour and then process until just combined, you may need to scrape the bottom of the bowl to help combine the mixture.
4. Divide the mixture into two lined or greased 20cm round cake pans and bake in the oven for approximately 30-40 minutes (the original recipe states 1 hour but after 40 minutes I could smell that it was verging on the point of being over baked).
5. Cool on a wire rack. (I left my cakes in the fridge overnight which actually helped stabalise them which makes handling them easier when it comes to decorating).
I only recently found out that Ryan loved banana cake as a kid because of the cream cheese frosting. I also know that he absolutely loves coconut so thought I would use some coconut cream to flavour the cream cheese frosting (coconut cream from the fridge is great for this because it is thick and doesn't alter the consistency of the frosting too much). I've also used a food processor because I still don't have my electric hand beater back and didn't want to pull out the KitchenAid for such a small amount. Wasn't in the mood to beat the cream cheese by hand either, it's just too much work.
Coconut Cream Cheese Frosting
- 2 x 250g blocks cream cheese cubed, at room temperature
- 75g butter cubed, at room temperature
- 3 cups icing sugar
- 1/2 cup coconut cream (refridgerated the previous day to thicken it up)
1. Place the cream cheese, butter and icing sugar in the bowl of a food processor and process (on high) until the mixture is smooth.
2. Stir in the coconut cream until combined and then refridgerate until the mixture is thick and set.
If you're using an electric beater or mixer stand, cream the cream cheese and butter first until smooth and then gradually beat in the icing sugar. Finally stir in the coconut cream until combined.
The cakes came out a little darker than I had anticipated, wasn't expecting to take them out for another 30 minutes but luckily my nose is on the ball and I run out to the kitchen just in time to pull them out. Do choose the one with the most flattest surface as your bottom layer, or at least use a knife to level the cake if both cakes are a little distorted. I picked the one with a slight raise on one side thinking that I could just level it out with frosting, big mistake because it actually causes the top layer to slide around a bit. Better off using more frosting on top of the cake to level it out if you don't want to cut away any cake.
While I was doing the filling layer of cream cheese frosting an idea sprung into my head. Poprocks! I was thinking of perhaps dipping some chocolate strawberries into them but didn't think it would look too pretty so sprinkled some onto the filling for the cake. They started popping a little due to the moisture so I don't know what the outcome would be with them in the middle of the cake. Might just end up tasting like strawberry candy.
Once the cake is frosted, place it into the fridge to help set and stabilise the frosting. My thumb slipped when I was pulling the cake out, oops - nothing frosting can't fix. The cold frosting also smooths out much easier.
One of Ryan's favourite chocolates, was always going pop these on top of the cake.
Ryan also loves strawberries and white chocolate. Had issues melting my Nestle White Chocolate Melts so intended to 'drizzle' some dark chocolate over them to help disguise the mess. The chocolate was also to add some colour to the cake, I didn't want everything to look so 'white'. I also 'drizzled' some chocolate over the Rafaelo's to break up the whiteness. Okay so it's more like piping than drizzling because I had issues melting the Dark Chocolate Melts too so it was a little too thick to just 'drizzle'.
Did I say Ryan loves coconut? Thought some dessicated coconut would be nice around the cake, then thought toasting the coconut would be even better, especially to add colour to the cake. So how did I get the coconut to stick to the side of the cake? Well, I still havn't quite figured out how to get stuff stuck on the side of my cakes yet. This time what I ended up doing was I'd sit the cake on the edge of the kitchen bench and then with a tray pushed up against the edge I grabbed handfuls of coconut and just threw them onto the side of the cake. Any excess hanging off was patted down or brushed back down off the cake board onto the tray. I made sure to aim the coconut at the area of cake directly under the tray and avoid throwing anything around the sides and onto the bench.
So here's my cake complete with a pretty coconut edge. Time to decorate the top!
Used some leftover frosting as 'glue' for the cake toppers. And here is my final product.
I originally bought some candles that spelt out 'Happy Birthday' but decided against them because I thought they looked a little tacky and I didn't want to go anymore over the top for Ryan. He is a low key type of guy after all. Last minute decision to write 'Happy Birthday' on the cake, the chocolate started setting already and the surface left was a little squishy so this is the best I could do.
I was meant to put the cake into a cardboard cake box and seal it up but the cake was actually taller than the box. I did attempt to squish it in but didn't want to relocate any of the cake decorations so this cake caddy that I picked up for half price the day before came in very handy. The cake almost touches the lid. I used the large plastic bag that came with the caddy to hide the cake so Ryan couldn't see it and took it with me to work today to give to Ryan when we meet up before he started his shift at work tonight.
Word got around that there was this gorgeous forbidden cake sitting in the fridge which caused quite a stir around the office at my work today. It has been a while since I've brought in any baked goodies so I think I may have caused a bit of comotion bringing in this scrumptious looking cake that no one could have. It was so very hard for me to resist too because I just wanted to cut myself a nice big piece. I told Ryan that he better save me a slice, it's not fair that I don't always get to eat the cake that I make. I'm still waiting for a photo of him with the cake so will post it up here when he sends it through. I sure spoil him don't I? I can't help it, but I do love him so =).