Banana, Raspberry & White Chocolate Cake
I'm not a massive fan of plain sponge cakes as I tend to find them a little on the dry side (though maybe I'm just bad at baking them). I much prefer a fruity number. For my sister's birthday I decided to whip up a banana, raspberry and white chocolate cake - with a mammoth amount of white chocolate and raspberry buttercream involved because it was a birthday cake, and birthdays call for decadence.
My sister Nicole decided to celebrate her birthday with a day out at Blenheim horse trials, complete with gigantic picnic. I was asked to supply the pudding portion of the picnic so I set to work making this cake alongside my favourite ooey gooey toffee brownies with hazelnuts (which you can find the recipe for HERE). Both the cake and brownies were gluten-free so my Dad and other sister Emma could dig in too.
As usual, making the brownies was easy-peasy and took no time at all. Me being me, however, decided it would be an excellent idea to start baking this cake at 9pm on a Thursday evening, before a super busy day at work on Friday. My plans for a magnificent three layer cake were scuppered when I realised, halfway through making the cake mix, I only had one cake tin (I had left the others at my parents'). In the end, I split the mixture in 2 rather than 3, baked one layer (which took significantly longer than I thought), quickly turned it out and then baked the other layer. At about 12am I crawled into bed covered in cake crumbs and the next day I wandered into work in a cake-crazed haze. For this reason, I recommend you check how many cake tins you have before you begin!
Fortunately, making the buttercream and then assembling the cake went more smoothly. I decided to use freeze-dried raspberry powder in the buttercream as I thought using actual raspberries would make it a rather drippy and soggy affair - not the look I was aiming for. This was my first time baking with freeze-dried fruit and I am pleased to report that the flavour the powder added to the buttercream was delicious. A little of this powder goes a very long way. I bought my freeze-dried raspberry powder on Amazon but if you can't find the powder you could whizz whole or crumbed freeze-dried raspberries into a powder yourself.
Specialist Utensils: 3 x 20cm/8 in cake tins, electric hand or stand mixer with whisk attachment.
Top Tip: This recipe makes a big old cake so I would recommend making for a special occasion where lots of people will be available to demolish your creation. To get the best finish, bake the cakes a day or two before icing and when cold, slice the tops off so all of the cakes are level and the same height. Refrigerate the cakes for at least an hour before icing (this firms them up slightly), apply a thin 'crumb-coat', and place back in the fridge for at least a further 30 minutes. Then apply your finishing layer of icing. Refrigerate again for at least another 30 minutes before decorating the top of the cake.
Storage: To keep the buttercream fresh and the decoration in place I recommend storing this cake in a cool, dark place or in the fridge. If storing in the fridge, make sure to take the cake out at least 30 minutes before serving.
Banana, Raspberry & White Chocolate Cake
3 large eggs
300g soft light brown sugar
300ml sunflower oil (olive oil or melted coconut oil could also work)
300g plain flour (gluten-free or normal)
1 teaspoon baking powder (check gluten-free if applicable)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon almond essence
1 teaspoon salt
150g over-ripe bananas, mashed
150g raspberries (fresh or frozen)
100g white chocolate chips
White Chocolate & Raspberry Buttercream
300g white chocolate, broken into pieces
375g unsalted butter, softened
750g icing sugar, sifted
1-2 tablespoons freeze-dried raspberry powder (I bought mine on Amazon) - you could also use whole or crumbed freeze-dried raspberries and whizz these into powder
1-3 tablespoons milk
It's up to you how you choose to decorate your cake! I coloured my remaining buttercream with more freeze-dried raspberry powder and a little pink food colouring, and then added buttercream swirls, strawberries and pink shimmer sugar (I bought mine from ASDA) to the top of the cake. When I make this cake again I want to make some white chocolate bark, break this into pieces and add this the top of the cake for decoration as well.
Serves: This is a mammoth cake so easily serves at least 15 people.
1. Preheat the oven to 170°c. Grease and line the base of 3 x 20cm/8 in cake tins.
2. Crack the eggs into a large bowl and whisk on high in a stand electric mixer or using a hand mixer until the eggs become until pale and thickened. Then whisk in the brown sugar until the mixture is thick and glossy. Finally, add the oil and whisk until well combined (don't worry if the mixture looks a little split).
3. Slowly add the plain flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, vanilla extract, almond essence and salt, beating until well mixed. Stir in the mashed bananas, raspberries and white chocolate chips using a spatula or wooden spoon until evenly dispersed.
4. Split the cake mixture evenly between the 3 cake tins and smooth the tops with a palette knife. Place in the middle of the oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown, the sponge bounces back and a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean. If the cakes are browning too quickly, cover with foil.
5. Leave the cakes to cool for about 15 minutes in their tins and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. When the cakes are cold, slice the tops off so all of the cakes are level and the same height. Then refrigerate the cakes for at least an hour before icing.
6. To make the buttercream, break the white chocolate into small pieces and melt in a bowl over a pan of simmering water or in 15 second bursts in the microwave, stirring after each 15 second burst until everything is melted. Stir well and leave to cool.
7. Place the softened butter in a large bowl and whisk by itself for a minute or two in a stand electric mixer or using a hand mixer. Slowly add the sifted icing sugar to the butter 1 tablespoon at a time, whisking constantly until you have added all of the icing sugar and the mixture is light and fluffy.
8. Whisk in the cooled white chocolate and, dependent on how raspberry-flavoured you want your buttercream to be, 1-2 tablespoons of freeze-dried raspberry powder (I bought mine from Amazon). Finally, add 1-3 tablespoons of milk depending on how stiff or soft you want your buttercream to be.
9. Time to ice your cake! Smear a teaspoon of icing on your cake board, plate or stand and then place one of the cakes on top to stick it in place. Spread about a quarter of the icing over the cake with a palette knife. Place the second cake on top and repeat with another quarter of the icing. Top with the last cake and spread a small amount of icing over the top and sides to create a 'crumb coat' to seal in the crumbs.
10. Place the assembled cake in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. Then apply your finishing layer of icing, leaving a few tablespoons of icing leftover for decoration if you wish. Refrigerate again for at least another 30 minutes before decorating the top of the cake.
11. Decorate your cake! It's up to you how you choose to decorate your cake. I coloured my remaining buttercream with more freeze-dried raspberry powder and a little pink food colouring, and then added buttercream swirls, strawberries and pink shimmer sugar (I bought mine from ASDA) to the top of the cake. When I make this cake again I want to make some white chocolate bark, break this into pieces and add this the top of the cake for decoration as well.