Monday, March 16, 2009

Birthday Cakes

March is a busy month for me since both my husband and daughter have a birthday within days of each other. Of course I make each their own birthday cake – how could I not? Some cakes are more memorable than others. I remember being, literally, barefoot and nine months pregnant with our first child, and making my husband his favourite chocolate cake with raspberry filling. I was determined to make it no matter how big I felt because I knew that it would make him feel special but also because this was the last time we would celebrate as a couple – 3 days later we would become a family.

Since then our family has added another daughter and I have made many birthday cakes but the ones I make for my family are always the ones I love to make the most. Baking is a way for me to express my artistic side and also a way I show my love for them. I tend to go a bit overboard, especially when it comes to my daughters’ cakes and I have spent days making the perfect haunted castle, cheerleaders, Disney character, and butterfly cakes for them.

Cakes for my husband are carefully crafted and made to impress. This year’s cake was based on a banana split: banana chocolate chip cake with white chocolate filling covered in dark chocolate ganache and topped with dipped strawberries. Extravagant and over the top but filled with love and made especially for him.

My youngest daughter says homemade things taste better because they are made with love. I believe it.

Banana Layer Cake - adapted from Canadian Living magazine
3/4 (175 ml) butter, softened
1 cup (250 ml) granulated sugar
3 eggs1-1/2 tsp (7 ml) vanilla
1/2 cup (125 ml) sour cream
3 cups (750 ml) sifted cake-and-pastry flour
1-1/2 tsp (7 m) baking soda
8 oz (125 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped (I use chips and chunks)
1-1/2 cups (375 ml) mashed bananas

White Chocolate Icing:
3 cups (750 ml) whipping cream
10 oz (300 g) white chocolate, chopped
1 tsp (5 ml) vanilla

Dark Chocolate Ganache:
1/2 cup (125 mL) whipping cream
4 oz (125 g) semisweet chocolate, chopped

1. Cake: In bowl, cream butter with sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, one at a time, then vanilla. Beat in sour cream. Combine flour, baking soda, and chocolate; add in 3 additions to creamed mixture alternately with 2 additions of bananas, mixing just until flour is incorporated. Spoon into 2 greased and parchment lined 8-9 inch round pans

2. Bake in 325F (180C) oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until top springs back when touched. Let cool on rack for 20 minutes. Remove from pans and let cool completely.
White Chocolate Icing: In saucepan, bring half of the cream to boil; pour over chocolate in bowl, whisking until melted. Add vanilla. Refrigerate until chilled, 1 hour, whisking often.

3. On medium speed, beat chocolate mixture just until ridges hold shape. Beat remaining cream just until soft peaks form; gently fold into cake mixture. With serrated knife, slice cakes in half horizontally. Place a top layer, cut side up, on plate. Spread top with 3/4 cup (175 mL) icing; cover with single layer of bananas, leaving 1/2-inch (1 cm) border. Cover with 1 bottom cake layer, cut side down; repeat with icing and bananas.

4. Repeat with remaining top layer, cut side up, and some of the icing and bananas. Top with remaining cake layer, cut side down.

5. Using palette knife, cover cake smoothly with remaining icing. Refrigerate until firm, about 1-1/2 hours.

Dark Chocolate Ganache: Meanwhile, bring cream to boil; our over chocolate in small bowl, whisking until melted. Let cool for 20 minutes or until room temperature and still pourable.

6. Pour over centre of cake, spreading to edge with clean palette knife, if necessary, and letting some flow down sides. Refrigerate until firm, about 40 minutes, or up to one day. ** I found using a squeeze bottle to pour the chocolate gave me more control over the drips.**

No comments:

There was an error in this gadget