I do love banana cakes and the banana I had used for this particular recipe is called "pisang emas" in Malay language and the direct transation to English is "golden banana". When ripe, this banana is exceptionally sweet and it is a much preferred fruit in this part of the world for cakes and local desserts. I tweeked this recipe by replacing pecans with walnuts. I realized that pecans is double the price of walnuts and as I already had walnuts in my kitchen, I decided to finish what I already have. Instead of deep frying the walnuts, as in the original recipe, I decided to make honey baked walnuts instead. I think this is a much healthier version than the fried one! Also as I'm not partial to white chocolate, I thus replaced the frosting with a chocolate peanut butter one instead. This frosting is absolutely delicious! I also halfed the recipe and made this as a 4" cake.
Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache
Banana Cake with Honeyed Walnuts and Chocolate Peanut Butter Frosting (my version)
Makes a 9-inch triple layer cake
3 cups cake flour
3 and 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 and 1/2 teaspoons of cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon of salt
3/4 cup of milk
1/2 cup of ripe mashed bananas
226g softened unsalted butter
2 cups of sugar
7 egg whites
Praline Filling (original recipe):
1 cup sugared pecans, cooled
1 and 1/2 cups white chocolate ganache
With a large chef's knife chop the pecans. Or pulse in a food processor being careful not to turn into paste. Add the sugared pecans to the white chocolate ganache and stir to mix well.
Sugared Pecans (original recipe):
1 and 1/2 cups pecan halves
3 cups vegetable oil
1 cup confectioners sugar
Place the pecans in a medium sauce pan, add water to cover, and heat to a boiling. Boil the pecans slowly until they are swollen and soft 5-8 minutes. Drain the nuts well in a sieve for about 5 minutes. (Do not pat dry; the nuts must remain damp.)
While the nuts are draining, heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan or deep fat fryer t0 350F degrees.
Set half of the nuts aside. Dust the remaining nuts in the sieve with 1/2 cup of powdered sugar. Shake the sieve to coat the nuts evenly, letting any excess sugar fall away. Immediately add the coated nuts to the hot oil. Fry until golden brown about 2-3 minutes. Using a slotted spoon scoop the nuts out and drain them on several thickness of paper towels. Repeat the process with the remaining nuts.
White Chocolate Ganache (original recipe):
8 ounces of white chocolate chopped
2 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Put the white chocolate in a medium heat proof bowl. In a small sauce bring 1/2 cup of the cream to a boil. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let stand for 1-minute, then whisk until smooth. Let the white chocolate cream stand until cooled to room temperature.
In a chilled bowl with chilled beaters beat the remaining 2 cups of heavy cream and vanilla until softly whipped. Stir in the white chocolate cream and beat until fairly stiff. taking care not over beat, which would cause the ganache to separate.
Honeyed Walnuts (my version):
1 and 1/2 cups walnuts whole
2 Tbsp sugar
2 Tbsp honey
Mix all ingredients together in a pan and bake in a preheated oven of 180C for about 15 minutes.
Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing (my version):
1 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 powdered sugar
113g dark chocolate, melted
In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the peanut butter and powdered sugar together,and beat for about 4 minutes at high speed until very smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium high for about 1 minute. Leave at room temperature.
Method for the Cake:
1) Preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Butter three 9-inch round cake pans. Line the bottom of each pan with parchment paper or wax paper.
2) Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon, and salt. Set aside dry ingredients. In a food processor or blender, process the milk and banana into a smooth light puree. Set aside.
3) In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. On medium high speed, beat in egg whites 2-3 at a time until smooth. Scraping down the sides of the bowl between egg additions.
4) With the mixer on low speed add the dry ingredients and banana puree alternately in 2-3 additions, beating until just blended. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and beat on medium-high speed for 1-minute. Divide the batter among the cake pans.
5) Bake for 20-25 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean when inserted into the center of each cake. Let the cake layers cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then turn out onto a wired rack and remove the paper liners. Then cool completely one hour.
To assemble the cake (original version):
Put one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Cover the top evenly with half of the praline filling, leaving a 1/4"-inch margin around the edges. place the second layer on top, again flat side up, cover it with remaining filling. Finally add the third layer and frost the sides and top with the white chocolate ganache. Garnish with sugared pecans.
To assemble the cake (my version):
Put one layer, flat side up, on a cake stand or serving plate. Cover top of one cake with frosting. Place 2nd cake on top of it and repeat with the frosting. Finally add the third layer and frost the sides and top with the remaining frosting. Garnish the sides with chopped honeyed walnuts and pipe the top of the cake using a piping tip #16 with small stars.