Friday, August 3, 2012

banana chocolate hazelnut cake



i've been working like a wildebeest.
when i get into my bed at night, i impulsively kick around in the smooth sheets and slightly grin to myself, thinking about absolutely nothing else but how nice it is to be there.

neverending: the work week. seriously, it hasn't been ending. i feel like such a little restaurant kitchen rat.

new: awesomely colorful shirt.

new: fish plate. ah yes, gotta be happy about a new fish plate. anthropologie, you DEMON. (i love you)

new: chin zit. no picture, you're welcome.

knotty: the back of my head
nasty: finding moths in flour bags
natty: portman? what a gal

naughty: word that sounds creepy when said by adults not to children.
naughty: you, probably sometimes.
naughty: this cake. this freaking cake.

the hefty little 6 inch cake is both a blessing and cruelty.

momofuku, let's run away together and never return.

it's banana cake. it's banana cream. it's two layers of the most ridiculously addicting hazelnut crunch.
there is chocolate hazelnut ganache made with homemade fudge sauce.
and there is hazelnut frosting to top it all off.

it's oprah's favorite cake.
someone at the table referred to it as a veritable symphony of textures and flavors.
another called it 'tonguegasmic'. no further comments on that one.

i hate to say it, but i will was the best piece of cake i've had, my favorite for sure.
dammit oprah, you're right again.

i'm not going to lie to you, making this cake beast is definitely a commitment. but after one perfect bite, all the beating, stirring, and dish cleaning felt like nothing. i don't know what ungodly cake could top it. i just don't know. 

if there is any leftover, it will be gone in about.....right now. 

and the leftover bowl of banana cream? banana cream puffs for everyone!

Banana Chocolate Hazelnut Cake

1 recipe Banana Cake
1/4 cup milk (55g)
1 recipe Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache
1/2 recipe Hazelnut Crunch
1/2 recipe Banana Cream
1 recipe Hazelnut Frosting

Banana Cake:
6 tbsp (85g) unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup (200g) sugar
1 egg
1/2 cup (110g) buttermilk
2 tbsp (20g) grapeseed oil
1/2 tsp banana extract
2 (225g) very ripe bananas
1 1/3 cups (225g) flour
3/4 tsp (3g) baking powder
1/2 tsp (3g) baking soda
1/2 tsp (2g) kosher salt

heat oven to 325. combine butter and sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium high for 2-3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl, add the egg, and mix on medium high again for 2-3 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl once more. 
stream in the buttermilk, oil, and banana extract while the paddle swirls on low speed. increase the mixer speed to medium high and paddle for 5-6 minutes, until the mixture is practically white, and twice the size of your original fluffy butter-sugar mixture, and completely homogenous. stop the mixer and scrape the sides of the bowl. 
on low speed, add the bananas and mix for 45-60 seconds til the bananas are broken apart. still on low, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt and mix for 45-60 seconds, just until the batter comes together and any remnants of dry ingredients have been incorporated. scrape down the sides of the bowl. 
spray a quarter sheet pan (10x13 inches) with nonstick cooking spray and line with parchment paper. using a spatula, spread the cake batter in an even layer in the pan. give the bottom of the sheet pan a tap on the counter to even out the layer. bake for 25-30 minutes. the cake will rise and puff, doubling in size. at 25 minutes, gently poke the edge of the cake with your finger; the cake should bounce back slightly and the center should no longer be jiggly. leave the cake in the oven for a few extra minutes if it doesn't pass these tests. 
take the cake out of the oven and cool on a wire rack. the cooled cake can be stored in the fridge, wrapped in plastic wrap for up to 5 days. 

Chocolate Hazelnut Ganache:
1/4 cup (55g) heavy cream
2 ounces (60g) gianduja chocolate, melted (hazelnut chocolate)
1/4 cup (65g) hazelnut paste
3 tbsp (38g) Fudge sauce (recipe to follow)
1/4 tsp (1g) kosher salt

bring heavy cream to a boil in a small heavy-bottomoed saucepan over medium-high heat. meanwhile, combine the melted gianduja, hazelnut paste, fudge sauce, and salt in a medium bowl. 
pour cream into the bowl and let sit for 1 minute without stirring. with a hand blender or whisk, slowly mix the contents of the bowl until the mixture is glossy and smooth. this will take 2-4 minutes, depending on your speed and strength. use  immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

Fudge Sauce:
1 ounce (30g) 72% chocolate, chopped
2 tbsp (18g) cocoa powder
1/8 tsp kosher salt
1/4 cup (100g) glucose
2 tbsp (25g) sugar
1/4 cup (55g) heavy cream

combine the chocolate, cocoa powder, and salt in a medium bowl. combine the glucose, sugar, and heavy cream in a heavy-bottomed saucepan and stir while bringing to a boil over high heat. the moment it boils, pour it into the bowl holding the chocolate. let sit for 1 full minute. 
slowly begin to whisk the mixture. then continue, increasing the speed of your whisking every 30 seconds, until the mixture is glossy and smooth. this will take 2-4 minutes, depending on your speed. you can use the sauce at this point or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

Hazelnut Crunch:
1/3 cup (100g) hazelnut paste
1/2 cup (1/2 recipe) Hazelnut Brittle (recipe to follow)
1 cup (80g) feuilletine
2 tbsp (20g) confectioners' sugar
3/4 tsp (3g) kosher salt

combine the hazelnut paste, brittle, feuilletine, confectioners' sugar, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on medium-low speed for about 1 minute, until homogenous. the crunch can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for 5 days or in the fridge for up to 2 weeks. 

Hazelnut Brittle:
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup hazelnuts

line a sheet pan with a Silpat (parchment won't work in this case!)
make a dry caramel: heat the sugar in a small heavy-bottomed saucepan over medium-high. as soon as the sugar starts to melt, use a heatproof spatula to move it constantly around the pan - you want it all to melt and caramelize evenly. cook and stir, cook and stir, until the caramel is a deep dark amber, 3-5 minutes. 
remove the pan from the heat and with the spatula, stir in the nuts. make sure they are coated in caramel, then dump the contents of the pan onto the prepared sheet pan. spread out as thin and evenly as possible, work quickly as the caramel will harden and become hard to move around very fast/ let the brittle cool completely, then break it up into pieces with a rolling pin or in the food processor. store in an airtight container. 

Hazelnut Frosting:
2 tbsp (25g) butter, room temperature
1/4 cup (65g) hazelnut paste
2 tbsp (20g) confectioners' sugar
1/8 tsp kosher salt

put the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and paddle on medium high speed until it is completely smooth. scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. this is a small amt of ingredients so a hand mixer works perfectly too. add the hazelnut paste, confectioners' sugar, and salt and mix on high until the frosting is fluffy and has no lumps in it, 3-4 minutes. scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix for 15 seconds, just to be sure everthing is nice and smooth. use immediately, or store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 month. bring to room temperature before using. 

To Assemble the Cake:
put a piece of parchment or a silpat on the counter. invert the cake onto it and peel off the parchment. use your 6 inch cake ring to stamp out 2 circles from the cake. these are your top 2 cake layers. the remaining cake "scraps" will come together to make the bottom layer of the cake. 
Layer 1: 
clean the cake ring and plate it in the center of a sheet pan lined with clean parchment or a Silpat. use 1 strip of acetate to line the inside of the cake ring. 
put the cake scraps inside the ring and use the back of your hand to press the cake scraps together into a flat even layer. dunk a pastry brush in the milk and give the layer a good wash of half of the milk. 
use the back of a spoon to spread half of the ganache in an even layer over the cake. sprinkle one-third of the hazelnut crunch evenly over the ganache. use the back of your hand to press it down slightly to hold in place. then use the back of a spoon to spread half of the banana cream in an even layer over the crunch. 
Layer 2:
gently tuck the 2nd strip of acetate between the cake ring and the top 1/4 inch of the first strip of acetate, so that you have a clear cake ring of acetate 5-6 inches tall. set a cake round on top of the banana cream and repeat the process for layer 1. 
Layer 3:
nestle the remaining cake round into the banana cream. cover the top of the cake with all of the hazelnut frosting. garnish the top of the cake with the remaining hazelnut crunch. 
transfer the sheet pan to the freezer and freeze for a minimum of 12 hours to set the cake and filling. the cake will keep in the freezer for up to 2 weeks. 
at least 3 hours before you are ready to serve the cake, pull the sheet pan out of the freezer and, using your fingers and thumbs, pop the cake out of the cake ring. gently peel off the acetate and transfer the cake to a platter or cake stand. let it defrost in the fridge for a minimum of 3 hours. 
breathe, you did it! slice the cake into wedges, and serve. 

1 comment:

  1. Oh. My. Word. Heaven on a plate.

    Speechless. :)