Introduction: Birthday Banana Bread Bake... Cake? (GF)

About: Graduate of the University of Melbourne, Bachelor of Environments (majoring in Architecture, Spanish). Now a student in Food Technology in the Netherlands. British by blood, raised in Belgium. Love to learn n…

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Step 1: How to Cake

1. Start by mashing the bananas up really well, until they look like baby food. The more mashed up they are the better they'll integrate with the cake, any lumps will stay as lumps even once the cake is cooked - which is totally fine if you like little bits of gooey banana in your cake.
2. In a bowl whisk the butter and coconut oil together. Make it nice and fluffy. Then add the white sugar and whisk well. Add the brown sugar and whisk until nice and creamy. The mixture should lighten in colour as you add air to it.
3. Lightly whisk the eggs with a fork then gradually add them to the butter-sugar mixture. Make sure to whisk well between each addition (this is THE moment to add lots of air to your cake to make it nice and fluffy!)
4. With a metal spoon, stir in your mashed bananas and the Greek style yoghurt.
5. Sift in all the flours and rising agents (another great opportunity to add air!) and stir, making sure to collect any bits sticking to the sides and bottom of the bowl.
6. Break up your pecan nuts and invite them to the party (you know, stir them into the mix).
7. Pour mix into a greased cake tin, loaf tin, muffin tins, all of the above…
8. Bake in the center of an oven that has been preheated to 180°C for 35-45 minutes; until a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. (Remember that mushed up banana in step 1? Well, obviously, if you're going for the chunks of sticky banana be mindful when checking whether your skewer is clean or not. You're checking to see if all the batter has cooked, and if you poke through a piece of banana the skewer won't come out clean but your batter might be cooked. So if that happens maybe just poke your cake somewhere else to check. If your banana was mushed up to baby food consistency, the banana will be fully incorporated into the cake. Alternatively, if you lightly press the top of the cake is should spring back when it's done)
9. Let cool a little on the side then remove the cake from its tin and then let it cool completely. *resist temptation to eat the whole thing out of the pan*

Step 2: Decorations: Chocolate Leaves

1. Wash and dry your leaves.
(note that you need leaves that are thick and strong enough to support the chocolate and keep their shape, waxy leaves are good options)
2. Heat your chocolate until it's ¾ melted, then remove from heat and stir until all the chocolate is fully melted.
3. If you don’t think the chocolate is thin enough DO NOT add water, add a tiny bit of coconut oil (or shortening). This should loosen it up enough, while still permitting it to set when it cools.
4. Using a pastry brush or a clean brush (or if you’re messy like me - your fingers), coat the back of the leaves (the side with the veins) with the melted chocolate (as thick or as thin as you like, you’re the boss!)
5. Let your chocolate covered leaves set at room temperature, or in the fridge to speed up the process.
6. Carefully peel off the leaves from the chocolate. To avoid snapping the bottom of the leaf, make sure the connection between the stem and the leaf is broken and that the chocolate doesn’t wrap around the edges of the leaf.
7. Handle your beautifully detailed chocolate leaves carefully and minimally. You can use them to decorate pretty much anything, but obviously here we're going to display them on top of the banana cake (using a little melted chocolate as glue).

Step 3: Admire Your Handy Work and Omnomnom Away!