Individual Chocolate Banana Cakes with Crushed Honeycomb

Chocolate Banana Cakes with Crushed Honeycomb

 

When I moved to the Bahamas, I tasted my very first Crunchie bar, and it was pure, sweet, magical love.  I had never tasted anything like it, that airy, sweet, crispy caramel tucked neatly inside milk chocolate.  It was pure bliss.

Crushed Honeycomb

Imagine my happiness when my Jamie’s Great Britain book arrived in the post, and I found a recipe on how to make the inside of a Crunchie bar!!!!  I literally got the book on Tuesday, and Wednesday I was making the honeycomb.  I’m flabbergasted at how easy this was to make.  I mean, I don’t know what I thought it would entail, like some super-duper complicated machinery to infuse the caramel with all those teeny tiny holes, but in reality….it’s a 4 step process.  It took me a whole of 10 minutes.  Crazy!!!

My friend came over for lunch yesterday, and I hadn’t baked in a while.  Luckily, my pantry is always stocked with the necessary accoutrements (I just wanted to use a fancy word.  Ingredients, actually) to whip up a simple sponge cake.  Which also came out of Jamie’s book.

Queen Victoria Sponge Cake

I decided I would combine his recipe for honeycomb, with his recipe for Victoria Sponge, and add a little banana and some ganache.

Individual Chocolate Banana Sponge Cakes with Crushed Honeycomb

This is the bomb.  Tastewise and calorically.  But heck, it was worth the run I did afterwards!

So, if you are so inclined, here is the recipe for my little concoction!

Serves 6

Adapted from Jamie’s Great Britain Cookbook

Basic Honeycomb Recipe:

1/2 heaped tsp baking soda

125g white sugar

1 tbsp honey

Line a shallow baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper.  Measure out your baking soda so that it’s ready to go – you’ll need to work quickly once the sugar reaches the right temperature.  Put the sugar, honey and 25ml of water into a medium-sized, deep, heavy-bottomed pan.  Stir together and heat to 150 Celsius on a sugar thermometer.  Whatever you do, do NOT touch or taste the caramel, as it will burn you.

As soon as the caramel reaches the right temperature, turn the heat off and add the baking soda, whisking quickly and carefully to combine it.  It will froth right up, but that’s normal.  Carefully pour the mixture out onto your lined tray right away, then gently tilt the tray a little from side to side to get the mixture to spread out in a fairly even layer (again, being careful not to come into contact with the hot caramel).  Leave to one side to cool, then crack it into bite size pieces and crush some into powder or smaller pieces.

For the Victoria Sponge:

125g softened unsalted butter, plus extra for greasing

125g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting

2 large eggs

zest of one lime

a few drops of Rosewater

Preheat your oven to 190C.  Grease your individual cake tins with butter, and dust with flour.  Trust me on this, I didn’t dust with the flour and they stuck….so instead of 6 I had 4.

Beat the butter and sugar together in a mixer until light and fluffy, about 10 minutes.  Add the eggs, one at a time, making sure you beat each one before you add the next one.  Fold in the lime zest, flour and rosewater.  Divide the batter among the cake tin, and with a greased spatula, smooth the bottoms.  Bake for 20-25 minutes or until golden brown and rise, and a toothpick comes out clean.  Turn out on a baking rack to cool completely.

For the ganache:

250g dark chocolate

1 cup heavy cream.

Shave your chocolate with a serrated knife.

Shaved dark chocolateThis will make sure that the chocolate melts all at the same time.  In a medium sauce pan, heat the cream just before boiling.  Place the chocolate in a large heat-proof bowl, and add the cream.  Mix once and let sit for 1o minutes.  Then whisk well, until all the chocolate is mixed with the cream and it is glossy.

To Assemble:

1 banana, cut 6 slices, and chop the rest

Crushed Honeycomb

6 individual cakes

Ganache

Place a piece of parchment beneath the baking rack.  Add the honeycomb and chopped banana to the tops of the cakes.  Then drizzle the ganache over the cakes.  Let it set for about 3 minutes, then pour over again, and smooth the sides and top with a spatula.

Top the cakes with the small crushed honeycomb, then add one large piece.  Add one slice of banana to each cake.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla

 

 

Grenoblois: Grenoble Caramel Walnut Cake

Today was sort of a baking fiasco.  I love my kitchen, the huge amount of space, my wonderful marble countertops (great for kneading), and the funky color scheme ( mint green ceiling, yellow tiled walls, and terracotta mexican tiling).  But I HATE MY OVEN.  I think the last time this kitchen was updated was in 1986, when kitsch was cool.  I mean, it’s still cool, in a retro sort of way, but an oven that is from that year…..well, do I have to say anything more?

I have a hard time baking in this oven.  It’s either too hot, or not hot enough.  The times that I know I need for certain cakes/brownies/cookies etc. are all out of whack, and it frustrates me to no end.

But, I persevered, and through blind faith and luck, the cake came out great, albeit a little denser than I would have wanted.  I baked it in a bundt mold, a large one, but it looks like it was made in a miniature one.  But, no despair, the most important part is the taste right?

I decided to make this because I hadn’t since I was at culinary school, and I had a surplus of walnuts in my pantry.

This cake is really wonderful as an alternative dessert, instead of flour you use bread crumbs, and that is why it is so moist and dense.  The beaten egg whites help to make it a little fluffier, but when you take it out of the oven, it will sink.  That’s ok though.  Taste is not compromised!

It’s lovely with coffee, even better with a brandy.  Your choice!

So here’s what you’re going to need:

300g butter, melted

250g walnuts

6 eggs, separated

200g sugar

3 tbsp rum (I used Frangelico, hazelnut liqueur)

1 tsp instant coffee dissolved with 1 tsp water

3/4 cups breadcrumbs

For the caramel:

6 tbsp sugar

6 tbsp water, at room temperature

1/2 tsp fresh lemon juice

1 tsp frangelico or rum

walnuts

Preheat oven to 200C (400F).  Butter your cake pan and set aside.  Finely chop the walnuts in a food processor.

Combine egg yolks with 2/3 cup (150g) of the sugar in the bowl of a stand up mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment.  Beat until pale and fluffy, and doubled in volume, 10 minutes.  Fold in the butter, your liqueur, and coffee, then the bread crumbs and walnuts.

Wash out your bowl, or if you have another one, beat the egg whites, fitted with the whisk, until soft peaks form.  Add the remaining sugar, and beat until smooth and shiny.  Gently fold the egg whites into the walnut mixture.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake until browned, about 35 minutes.

Meanwhile, combine the 6 tbsp sugar, water, lemon juice and liqueur in a small saucepan and bring to a boil.  Cook until a dark caramel forms, then add the walnuts.

Turn the cake out onto a serving platter.  Pour the caramel over.  Let cool completely before serving.

From my kitchen to yours,

Carla