This cake is a super chocolaty, caramel, banana masterpiece. It's rich, and creamy, and is great for any group event, family gathering, or whatever other excuse you can find to make it.
The base is 3 layers of rich chocolate cake, with banana slices in each layer - coated with a caramel frosting, and then coated again with a fudge frosting.
Step 1: Ingredients
There are 3 recipes to this Instructable. They are all delicious combined - but they also work well on their own, for other applications.
Chocolate Banana Cake:
2 1/2 c. all-purpose flour
3 c. white sugar
1 1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tbsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 c. strong brewed coffee (can be substituted for water)
1 1/2 c. buttermilk
3/4 c. vegetable oil
Bananas (I used about 6 large bananas! - - I forgot to include the bananas in the picture)
**** You will also need parchment paper to line your pans, and oil to grease them
2 1/4 c. light brown sugar
1 c. heavy whipping cream
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 c. butter
1 tsp vanilla
Confectioners sugar as needed
Chocolate Fudge Frosting:
2 1/2 - 3 c. confectioners sugar
1/2 c. butter, softened
1/2 c. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 c. milk - only use as needed
Step 2: Caramel Frosting: Part 1
The most time efficient order for this cake, is to make the caramel frosting first! For this caramel frosting, you have to first make the caramel. Then it's going to have to cool, untouched for at least an hour.
Cut your butter into pieces, and have your baking soda on hand. Everything happens kind of quickly in this recipe.
In a medium-large pot, combine the brown sugar and cream. This mixture bubbles and expands quite a bit, so make sure your pot can hold it.
Bring the mixture to a rolling boil over medium high heat. Boil for 1 minute.
Add the baking soda, and boil for 1 more minute.
Remove from the heat, and drop in the pieces of butter. Do not stir this! Just add the butter and leave it alone!
Set it to the side, or stick it in the fridge if it's warm in your kitchen.
Step 3: Making the Cake
Mix your dry ingredients together.
Separately, mix your wet ingredients together.
Slowly add the wet to the dry, until batter is consistently mixed. This will be a thin batter.
Step 4: Banana-fana-fo-fana
Prep your cake pans! Line the bottom of with parchment paper circles and oil the entire thing.
Slice the bananas into roughly 1/4 of an inch thick slices
Spoon some batter into the bottom of each pan to coat the bottoms. This will help the bananas not glue to the bottom of the pan and burn. The bananas will still sink during the baking process.
Now, create your banana layers. I tried to make mine as neat as possible, but by the third pan I was definitely tempted to just dump the remaining slices in. But resist!
Evenly distribute the rest of the cake batter into your pans. Gently pour it in, or it will move your bananas all around.
Bake your cakes at 350°F for 35-45 minutes (or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean) - Baking may take more time depending on your oven, your pans, or how you position the 3 cake pans.
Once the cake layer are baked - let them cool in their pans for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, remove the cake layers and place them on cooling racks. These will need to cool completely before you can move on to applying frosting.
Step 5: Caramel Frosting: Part 2
Once your caramel is cooled, it should be fairly hard, and the butter should be solidified. If it's still soft or runny, it needs to cool longer. If your caramel isn't completely cool, your frosting will not set.
Scoop your caramel mixture out of the pot and into a bowl. Mix it until it starts to become light brown and creamy. Add 1 tsp of vanilla extract. Continue mixing.
Slowly add powdered sugar to the mixture as needed, to thicken your frosting and make it the consistency you want. I think I used about 1 c.
If your frosting ever gets too thick, you can add a small amount of cream or milk to even it out.
Step 6: Constructing the Cake
All layers should be placed bottom-side up.
Place 1 cake layer on your serving plate and cover the top with caramel frosting. Add another layer, add more frosting, and finally - top if with the third layer. Add the rest of your caramel frosting, and spread it evenly over the entire cake.
Set this in the fridge to set.
Step 7: Chocolate Fudge Frosting
Mix your butter until creamy. Add your vanilla.
Add your cocoa powder and mix well.
Slowly add in your powdered sugar, also adding milk as needed to help make it creamy.
Once your chocolate frosting is creamy, add it in an even layer over the caramel frosting.
Step 8: Decorating (optional)
To decorate, I just melted some chocolate and poured it into a zip lock bag. Snip the corner, and you can drizzle it over your cake! Just make sure the chocolate isn't too hot or it will melt through your bag.
Of course, you can do whatever you want!
Some other things I considered were chocolate cookie crumbs, caramel sauce, and/or chocolate shavings.
This cake is best served at room temperature and can be stored that way too.