Me: “I can’t decide whether to make you a banana cake or a chocolate cake for your birthday. You like them both so much!”
Hubby: “Hmmm, yes that’s a hard one. Can I have both?”
Me: “A layer cake! Great idea!”
(Hubby looks confused).
Me: “I’ll make both, then put them on top of each other, sandwiched together with icing!”
(Hubby raises his eyebrows and smiles).
Me: “What kind of icing do you want?”
Hubby: (Zero hesitation) “Vanilla”.
Me: “OK (boring!). Which cake do you want to be the top layer?”
Hubby: “Chocolate, obviously. Because banana is chocolate’s bitch”.
(We both laugh).
But in the end he just got a chocolate cake with vanilla icing (with a coconut twist!) because the bananas I bought weren’t ripe enough. They weren’t even ripe enough to eat on top of muesli, let alone flavour a cake as the main ingredient!
As it was a special birthday cake I tweaked one of my usual chocolate cake recipes to make it super rich (375g of chocolate!) and moist with the addition of walnuts and coconut.
It is baked low and slow so that the centre stays fudgey, while the edges go crispy with an almost caramel taste, thanks to a big cup of dark brown sugar in the mix.
It really doesn’t need the sweet creamy icing, but what’s a birthday cake without icing? That’s right, it’s nothing. Feel free to leave the icing off and serve with whipped cream, that would be an awesome combo – but not if it’s a birthday cake. Birthday cakes need icing, OK?!
Oh, I almost forgot. I used a little pressie I received this week to make it – a Push Pan. This little beauty is a loose bottomed cake tin with a unique silicon seal that makes it water tight – no more leakages!
I just love the way you pop the finished cake on a tin from the pantry and push down to release the it. I was amazed that it actually was that simple – see picture above. No bits that stuck and no need to run a knife around the edge at all. I need to try a cheesecake next, you know, just to make sure their claims are true (not because I want to gorge on cheesecake).
Do you like cooking birthday cakes, or do you prefer to buy them?
Fig & Cherry received the Push Pan with compliments of Filtered Communications (thanks Lisa!). The Push Pan is distributed in Australia by Peter McInnes Pty Ltd.
Chocolate cake with coconut and walnuts
- 125g unsalted butter
- 375g dark chocolate
- 100g (1 cup) walnuts
- 30g (1/2 cup) moist coconut flakes (or desiccated coconut)
- 175g (1 cup) dark brown sugar
- 110g (1/2 cup) plain (all purpose) flour
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 4 eggs
1. Heat the oven to 160C/320F. Grease and line a 20cm round cake tin.
2. Roughly chop the butter and chocolate and add to a bowl over a pan of simmering water. Allow to melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth and glossy. Make sure the bowl doesn’t touch the water as it will make the chocolate seize and it won’t melt. Set the bowl on the bench.
3. Place the walnuts and coconut in a food processor and blitz to small crumbs. Add to the chocolate along with the sugar, flour and milk and whisk to combine.
4. Add the eggs, one at a time, whisking well after each addition. Pour the mixture into the cake tin and bake for 60 mins or until a skewer inserted at the edge comes out relatively clean and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out with moist mixture attached. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack so that the centre has time to firm up, then top with vanilla and coconut buttercream icing (recipe below).
Vanilla and coconut buttercream
- 250g icing sugar
- 150g unsalted butter
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (preferably one with the seeds left in)
- 2 teaspoons hot water
- 1/2 teaspoon coconut essence
1. Sift the icing sugar really well (you don’t want any lumps in your icing!). Beat the icing sugar and butter together using an electric mixer or balloon whisk until the consistency of soft whipped cream.
2. Whisk in the vanilla, hot water and essence. Allow to sit for 10 minutes to firm up slightly. Use to ice the cake with a pallet knife or piping bag.