Monday, May 5, 2014

Awfully Dark Chocolate Banana Cake

I caught the making of a chocolate birthday cake on TV sometime ago and thought I could twist the recipe and challenge myself in making my very own version of my husband's favourite dark chocolate cake with banana filling. Although the taste is not exactly like the one from the famous shop in Singapore which he always have on his birthdays, this cake is just as yummy and satisfying. Anyway, I  still have months until November to practice this bake before my husband's next birthday. *Grin* Meanwhile, I shall dedicate this cake to Bake-Along's 3rd Anniversary, wishing every success to its current and future baking themes.

Awfully Dark Chocolate Banana Cake

I am sharing this post with Bake-Along #60: Theme - Chocolate Cakes organised by Joyce of Kitchen Flavours, Lena of Frozen Wings and Zoe of Bake for Happy Kids in celebration of Bake-Along's 3rd Anniversary.

Awfully Dark Chocolate Banana Cake
Makes a 3-layered 9-inch whole cake

Ingredients Required

Recipe referenced and modified from: Ree Drummond's Big Chocolate Birthday Cake

3 sticks (2 cups) unsalted butter, plus more for greasing
6 heaping tablespoons dark cocoa powder, plus more for dusting
3 cups all-purpose flour
3 cups granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cup boiling water
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3 whole eggs, beaten

Recipe referenced and modified from: Ree Drummond's Big Chocolate Birthday Cake

1 1/2 cup heavy cream
12 ounces (2 cups) semi-sweet dark chocolate chips
1 tablespoon dark cocoa powder
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Banana filling
The Dream Baker's Creation

5 large ripe bananas
1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 envelope unflavoured gelatin powder
2 tablespoons cold water

Bakeware Used

Three 9-inch round cake pans

Preparation Steps

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Heavily grease and dust with dark cocoa powder three 9-inch round cake pans. Set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, sift and combine flour, sugar and salt.
  4. In a saucepan, melt the butter. Add cocoa powder. Stir together.
  5. Add boiling water, allow mixture to boil for 30 seconds and then turn off the heat. Pour butter/cocoa mixture over dry ingredients and stir lightly to cool.
  6. In a separate bowl, combine buttermilk, baking soda, vanilla and beaten eggs. Stir the buttermilk mixture into the cocoa mixture until well combined.
  7. Divide the batter among the prepared cake pans and bake at preheated oven for about 20 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Once baked, invert cake pan to release cakes and leave cakes to cool over wire rack. Allow cakes to cool completely before icing. Refrigerate the cake layers after cooling for better results.
(yields approximately less than 2 cups)
  1. In a saucepan, heat the heavy cream until very hot and pour over chocolate pieces. 
  2. Stir to melt chocolate completely.
  3. Refrigerate mixture to cool.
  4. Once completely cooled, add vanilla extract and beat with an electric mixer until light and airy with a spreadable consistency.
Banana filling
(yields approximately 1 1/2 cups)
  1. In a large mixing bowl, mash peel bananas using a fork.
  2. Add lemon juice to mashed bananas and mix well.
  3. In a separate small bowl, add cold water. Sprinkle gelatin powder over cold water and let it sit for  about 5 minutes until bloomed.
  4. Microwave the mixture for about 30 seconds until all gelatin has melted. Stir to cool lightly.
  5. Add cooled gelatin to banana mixture and stir until well combined.
  6. Refrigerate banana mixture, stirring occasionally until gelatin sets but not hardened.
Assembling the cake
  1. Place a cake layer on a cake board or serving plate.
  2. Add a good amount of frosting and spread to form an even layer.
  3. Add half portion of banana filling and spread to form an even layer.
  4. Layer another layer of cake above the banana filling and repeat steps 2 to 4. 
  5. When finished, frost the cake on the top and around the sides and decorate as desired.
  6. Refrigerate the frosted cake before serving.
If properly handled, the cake frosting should be smooth and glossy. I left the whipped frosting in the fridge which hardened. Tried to salvage it by adding spoonfuls of milk (because I ran out of cream) and re-whipping the frosting. The frosting was slightly softened to spreadable texture but the gloss was lost and appeared rough. Nonetheless, the taste of the cake is still as delicious. ^_^

The Dream Baker's Experiment
  1. I have fractioned the ingredients of the original source recipe for the cakes to make three 9-inch cakes (simply because I only have three pans). The original source recipe makes four 9-inch cakes.
  2. The original source recipe did not specifically call for dark cocoa and dark chocolate which I have used in my recipe to make it awfully dark as the name of this cake suggests. ^.^
  3. I used buttermilk substitute by adding 2% reduced fat milk to one tablespoon of freshly squeezed lemon juice in a measuring cup up to the 1-cup mark, then letting the mixture sit for at least 5 minutes before stirring and using 3/4 cup of the mixture for the above recipe.
  4. I used large eggs weighing approximately 60 grams (with shell on).
  5. I halved the ingredients of the original source recipe for the frosting for my above recipe. Depending on the thickness of the frostings around the cake and the desired decorations, I had excess frostings for my cake design below.
  6. I baked all three pans in the middle rack of the oven for full 20 minutes.
  7. I trimmed the rounded top of each cake layer to level them for ease of stacking and filling.

Forget about the calories and indulge in a big slice of this rich and yummy dark chocolate cake! The intense exercise that shall follow to lose that extra inches (if they were even there) for finishing up this whole cake, if that's even possible, will be totally worth it! ^_^

Dare to dream.
The Dream Baker


  1. Hi,
    That is one tall and chocolaty cake! It would make any birthday person happy, especially those who love chocolates! The banana filling sounds really yummy!
    Thank you for joining Bake-Along's 3rd Anniversary bake!

    1. Hihi,
      Thanks very much for your compliments. I do hope people who tries it enjoys the cake too. Further, I'm just as glad to participate in Bake-Along's 3rd Anniversary bake. =)

  2. Hi Dream Baker,

    Although that your chocolate cake doesn't taste exactly like the one that your husband always has on his birthdays, I think yours looks actually better than the store-bought ones. Over the years, I have learned not to underestimate home-baked cakes... hee hee Tell your husband... dun play play! :p


    1. Hi Zoe,
      Once again thank you for leaving a comment. And your words are definitely encouraging! Thank you! No doubt, we should never underestimate home-baked cakes, especially they are made with so much love and efforts put into it. =)

  3. hi! first of all, thanks so much for your wishes! I believe you did great with the cake, it's not easy to make layered cakes at home at all, your efforts are well paid off knowing that it is just as delicious and also pretty! love it! thanks so much for taking part in our bake along anniversary theme and hope to see you again!

    1. Hi Lena, you're most welcome. And thank you for your encouragement. I'm glad to put up my bake for the Bake-Along event too. Definitely looking forward to more future participation. Thanks again! ^_^