Next up is this whimsical chocolaty cake with a banana inside!
Posting date is: Sunday, March 2nd
Banana in a Blanket
For the cake:
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
3 tablespoons dark unsweetened cocoa powder (like Valrhona)
1/4 teaspoon salt
5 large eggs, at room temperature, separated
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar, divided
For the filling and assembly
4.5 ounces good-quality dark chocolate (60 to 72%), coarsely chopped
4 medium-size ripe bananas, peeled, divided
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup walnuts, toasted (page 000), coarsely chopped
Baked Note: Do not fear the roll cake. As long as the cake is rolled while warm, you should manage to have very few, if any, breaking problems. However, if it does tear or break, you can always piece it back together using the filling as a sort of “glue” and no one will know the difference.
Make the cake
Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F. Lightly spray a jellyroll pan (10 by 15 inches) with nonstick cooking spray and line it with parchment paper, allowing the parchment to just overhang on two sides.
Place the flour, cocoa powder, and salt on the center of a sheet of parchment paper. Sift the ingredients into a small bowl. Turn the sifted ingredients back onto the parchment paper and sift together two more times. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, whisk the egg yolks and vanilla vigorously until thick and pale yellow (almost lemon-y) in color, 1 to 2 minutes.
Place the egg whites in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, and sprinkle the cream of tartar over the egg whites. Beat on medium-high speed until soft peaks just begin to form, 4 to 5 minutes. Reduce the speed to medium, slowly stream in the granulated sugar, and continue beating until the whites are glossy and stiff but not dry.
Gradually fold one-third of the beaten egg whites into the yolk mixture. Fold half of the sifted flour mixture into the egg mixture and then gently fold in half of the remaining egg whites. Fold in the remaining flour mixture followed by the remaining egg whites.
Pour the batter into the prepared pan and smooth the top. Bake for 20 to 25 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean (the cake may still appear jiggly or wobbly, but dry).
Transfer the pan to a cooling rack, cover the cake with a few damp (but not wet) paper towels, and cool for 10 minutes. Run a hot knife around the edges of the cake, remove the towels, and sift 1 tablespoon of the confectioners’ sugar over the cake. Place a very thin tea towel over the cake, then place a half-sheet pan right side up on top of the tea towel. With a quick motion, invert the cake onto the back of the pan and gently remove the parchment paper. Sift the remaining tablespoon of confectioners’ sugar over the cake. Starting with one of the short ends of the cake, roll the cake up ever so gently, using the towel to support the cake as you go (it’s almost like a lift and turn motion). Let the cake cool all rolled up in the towel.
Make the filling and assemble the cake
Place the chocolate in the bowl of a double boiler over medium heat and stir occasionally until the chocolate is 90-percent melted. Remove the bowl from the water and continue stirring until chocolate is completely melted and smooth. (Alternatively, in a microwave-safe bowl, cook the chocolate at 50% power (medium) for 15-second bursts, stirring between each blast, until melted and smooth.) Set aside to cool completely.
Wrap 2 bananas in aluminum foil and place in the freezer while you prepare the whipped cream. (Note: If you want to use frozen bananas that are already in your freezer, be sure to let them thaw to a semi-frozen state before using—you want them to firm up, but you do not want them to be completely frozen.) Slice the remaining bananas into a microwave-safe bowl. Microwave the bananas on high for 30 seconds, remove from the microwave, and mash them completely. Set aside to cool.
In a large chilled metal bowl (or in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with the whisk attachment), whisk the cream vigorously for about 1 minute. Stop and sprinkle the sugar over the cream, then continue to beat until soft peaks form.
Fold half of the whipped cream into the chocolate until almost combined, then add the remaining whipped cream and fold in until completely uniform in color. Stir in the mashed and cooled banana.
Gently remove the cake from the towel, unroll it, and place it on a sheet of parchment on a flat surface. Spread the filling in an even layer over the cake. Sprinkle the walnuts over the filling. Remove the bananas from the freezer and place them in a row at the short end of the cake, cutting to fit if they are too long. Gently roll up the cake, cover tightly in plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 1 hour. The cake can be stored, tightly covered, in the refrigerator for 2 days. Bring to room temperature before serving.
To serve, place the cake seam side down on a serving plate, cut into slices, and serve immediately.
Excerpted from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Copyright © 2012 by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito. Excerpted by permission of Stewart, Tabori & Chang, an imprint of Abrams. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.