It’s true. Indulging on cake is very much a weekly occurrence in my household. After all, who needs any other excuse to celebrate than the mere fact that cake, in all its deliciousness, exists and that we can enjoy its delights no matter the occasion. Whilst some might think that this removes its symbolic importance, I would argue that this makes it even more special because there’s no need to justify that kind of joy. It’s happiness in itself. Intrinsic and irremovable. That being said, when special occasions come by, you can absolutely bet I’ll go the extra mile in my baking endeavours. I’ll amplify the decadence, upscale the indulgence and make a real spectacle of my treats. Why not, after all?
This weekend marks my 22nd birthday. That feels strange to say. My 21st seems so long ago now – since then, I’ve graduated, moved flat, had several jobs, travelled outside the UK more times than in the previous three years combined, and been introduced to so many new people, places, experiences and challenges. With all that being said, I’ve also come to really appreciate how little I know. How much more there is for me to explore and how much I have ahead of me. Whereas 21 felt like the end of something, the end of my childhood, the end of structure and rules and knowing what lies ahead, 22 feels like the beginning. The start of a whole new era – where uncertainty is pretty much inherent in day to day life and things have to be taken as they come. I really don’t know what lies ahead for this year and, to be honest, I’m trying not to think too much about it. A tricky task, sure, but nonetheless a good way to cope with any kind of change.
What I do know, however, is that I will continue to love indulgent baking like nothing else. I want to invest more time in learning how to make some really spectacular creations – things that you might see in magazines or in a professional baker’s kitchen. And so, in preparation for the big day, here I am working my baking skills with this new creation – a naked banana chocolate cake with peanut butter frosting. What a dream! Sweet, decadent, looking fairly spectacular for an amateur if I do say so myself. The frosting is made from chestnut puree which amazingly resembles butter cream in its smooth and richness, whilst the cake itself is sweet and fudgy – glorious in every way. The ideal celebratory cake if ever I saw (or tasted) one.
Makes three 7 inch cakes.
- 2 cups spelt flour (or 1/2 cup almond flour, 1/2 cup brown rice flour and 1 cup buckwheat flour for gluten free)
- 1/2 cup raw cacao powder (or cocoa – use an additional
- 1/3 cup + 1 tablespoons maple syrup
- 3 overripe bananas (mashed)
- 2 eggs (or flax eggs – 1 tablespoon milled flax mixed with 3 tablespoons warm water)
- 1/2 cup almond milk
- 2 tablespoons soft coconut oil
- 2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
For the frosting
- 200g chestnut puree (Around 10 tablespoons)
- 4 tablespoons peanut butter
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 4 tablespoons almond milk)
- Salt to taste
- A handful of dark chocolate chips (melted)
- Crushed nuts
- Raw cacao powder
Pre-heat your oven to 180°C.
Mash your bananas and mix in the cacao powder until it forms a chocolatey-puree. Then add the eggs and coconut oil and whisk everything together.
Whisk your flour into a large mixing bowl and add your wet banana mixture. Gradually pour in the almond milk and mix until everything is smooth. Add the baking powder and soda.
Grease three 7-inch cake tins with coconut oil and coat the edges with cacao powder. Distribute the cake mix evenly between them and place in the centre of the oven to bake for 20 minutes, until you can insert a knife into the centre and it comes out clean.
Remove and allow to cool completely. Make the frosting in the meantime.
For the frosting
Simply place all the ingredients into a blender (a nutribullet would work best but a small-bowl food processor will also do). Blend until completely smooth and buttery.
Carefully slice the dome of the cakes off so that they are all level. Assemble the cakes with the bottom-up so that they sit flat.
Place the bottom layer on an elevated surface (so that you can reach the bottom of the cake easily) and pipe/spread 1/4 of the frosting across the top. Place the second layer on top and repeat until all the layers are assembled and frosted. Use the final 1/4 of the frosting to spread around the sides – leave them slightly bare to create that ‘naked’ look.
Decorate your cake with a drizzle of melted dark chocolate, berries, a sprinkling of crushed nuts and raw cacao powder.
Slice, serve and enjoy!