The Heavenly Bakers are making a single-layer chocolate cake made with sour cream and banana, frosted with bittersweet chocolate and studded with chocolate chips. Hence the name. Chocolate Banana Stud Cake.
I used Vahlrona Rouge cocoa because I thought it would be a beautiful color with the sour cream and banana. I was excited to bake a cake with banana in the batter just to see if my frozen overripe bananas would work as well as a ripened fresh banana that had only sat on the counter.
I am happy to report that the thawed frozen banana worked perfectly having mashed and liquified itself , and conveniently poured into the measuring cup with a quick snip of the peel. I am happier to (potentially) gross you out with this photo of what that looked like.
Yeah, I know. But it pureed nicely in the food processor.
See? This batter comes together quite easily (though you do use two appliances, one of them twice) but I think I was too busy trying to get a picture and forgot to add the cocoa-egg mixture to the dry ingredients and butter in two batches. I just poured it all in and despite some extra minutes of mixing time, the butter never quite incorporated into the batter completely. But the cake came out well after about 40 minutes of baking at 350. Was it just me or was the temperature of the oven not given in the recipe? I have looked at it a couple times, but don't see it.
Once the chopped chocolate goes into the food processor, I pulse it usually about 10-12 times, unti it looks like potting soil with some tiny pebbles scattered throughout. Don't run out to the yard to start scooping dirt, though. I took a picture.
Some of the chocolate is ground to powdery, ensuring the cream incorporates smoothly. While I have read about other folks' troubles with ganache seizing (inlcuding Shirley Corriher in BakeWise), I have used Rose's food processor method for years, and have never had this problem, which does make me feel slightly guilty. The new update to the method in Rose's Heavenly Cakes is to microwave the cream until it just barely scalds (when a ring of small bubbles forms around the periphery) in a microwavable measuring cup, as opposed to heating the cream on the stovetop and needing to wash another dish.
It works perfectly. The only thing that would improve this ganache is a time machine that transports the baker immediately from scraping the ganache out of the food processor to the ganache being cooled and ready to spread onto the cake (takes a few hours).
While I usually use cognac or brandy as the liqueur in my ganache, this time I chose to use creme de cassis to go with the fruity flavors in the cake and the red cocoa. It made the ganache less heavy somehow; more of a G-rated cake instead of my usual PG-13.
As I was getting this cake ready to share with my coworkers before I left the house this morning, I was grateful that I had Ghiradelli 60% chips around, which are wonderfully wide and flat. Rose had warned that studding the cake with chocolate chips is time-consuming, but I was able to game the system by placing these pancake chips in spaced rows.
All in all, this is an incredibly delicious cake, very moist banana devil's food flavor with a great proportion of cake to frosting. I am such a fan of the single 9" layer cakes in this book. They are the perfect size to take on a plate and share with a group with zero stress in transit. Also, it's the kind of cake that won't give you a toothache. Rose is truly the daughter of a dentist.