Saturday, March 29, 2014

Gluten-free "Funky Monkey" Cake

I really need to stop trying to figure people out and just remember that we are all very, very different and all have our own direction to take in life.  Thanks to Shutterbean's "I Love Lists Fridays" and finally getting to catch up on her and Joy the Baker's blogs, while working out this week, I have a new perspective on a few things.  Mainly that sometimes you have to stop caring what others think.  Also that like people constantly say, life is short..."if life teaches you only one thing, let it be that taking a passionate leap is always worth it. Even if you have no idea where you are going to land, be brave enough to step up to the edge of the unknown, and listen to your heart." - Marc Chernoff  I think this only really hit home, because I have several friends right now trying to figure out what the "next steps" are.  Its hard to imagine taking the leap sometimes, and for a lot of us now, its figuring out which direction to leap in and towards which dream.   But it only takes an inspiring view, like the below, to leave you dreaming about what might be....or maybe just dreaming about cakes.  

I have to give a special thanks to Amy and Amanda for how this cake came together.  We all kind of just threw around ideas for a few minutes last week, to take a break from the continuous meeting planning.  We came up with a cake I would be happy to serve in a bakery.  The idea for the brûléed bananas was not mine, but it definitely helped make this a unique cake.  So here it is....gluten-free banana cake, thick chocolate ganache layer, peanut butter frosting and a layer of bananas brûléed just before serving.  I will say it was pretty dang delicious but I mean...bananas, peanut butter and chocolate are sort of meant to be together.  Enjoy!

This was work this with this kind of view is truly the best.  I have to credit Molly with these amazing pictures!  She should really be a photographer in real life...check it out.  

Even just lunch outside with surrounded by flowers overlooking the ocean is like medicine and can turn your day around when you have been having "rooming list" nightmares for a few nights in a row.

This is one of my favorite things now...catching up on blogs while working out.

Beautiful, beautiful cake!  I was so happy to finally bake a gluten-free cake and not have it sink in the middle after it had cooled.

Smooth, shiny may want to start dipping the bananas in this and just eating them, but hold off...this makes the cake.

This might be a thin cake, but trust me it is rich and a single layer with everything that goes on top is all you really need.

Torch time!

Gluten-free Banana Cake: (adapted from Gluten-free Goddess)
1 cup mashed ripe bananas (I food processed mine to save time)
1/4 cup canola oil
1 cup light brown sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1/4 teaspoon white vinegar
1 1/2 cups King Arthur All Purpose Gluten-free flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons xanthan gum (I used 1 1/2 teaspoons ground flax seeds)
1 1/4  teaspoons cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger

Peanut Butter Frosting: (Recipe from Ina Garten - Kathleen's Peanut Butter Icing)
1 cup confectioners' sugar
1 cup creamy peanut butter
5 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/3 cup skim milk
1/2 cup semi sweet chocolate chips

Chocolate Ganache: 
4 ounces semisweet
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/16 teaspoon coarse salt
3-4 ripe bananas

1.  Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  Spray a 9" spring form pan with non-stick cooking spray and then line only the bottom with parchment paper.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the mashed bananas, canola oil, brown sugar, vanilla extract, eggs and white vinegar.

3.  Then in a medium sized bowl, sift together the dry ingredients: gluten-free flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, ground flax seeds, cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger.

4.  Next, combine the banana mixture and the dry ingredients and beat or stir just until smooth. If the batter looks too thick and dry, add some milk, a tablespoon at a time, until the batter is smooth- but thicker than cake batter.

5.  Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake in the center of a preheated oven on top of a baking sheet for about 30-35 minutes or so a wooden pick inserted into the center comes out clean. 

6.  Let the cake cool completely in the pan on top of the baking sheet.  (While the cake is cooking you can prepare the frosting ganache.)  Then, run a knife around the outside of the pan, before releasing the spring.  Remove the parchment paper and place on serving dish.  

Preparing the frosting:
1.  In a medium bowl, using an electric mixer, beat the butter and peanut butter until light and fluffy.  Then mix in one cup powdered sugar, salt, vanilla extract and heavy cream.  If the frosting is not the desired consistency, mix in a half a cup of powdered sugar at a time until desired consistency is reached.

Preparing the ganache:
1.  Bring cream just to a boil over medium-high heat. Pour over chocolate, and add salt. Let stand for 10 minutes (don't stir -- doing so will cool the ganache too quickly, making it grainy).

2.  Stir with a whisk until smooth and shiny to break up any pieces and emulsify cream and chocolate.

3.  Chocolate will often settle on the bottom or sides of the bowl.  Scrape dish with a rubber spatula to incorporate all of it. Let cool until mostly thickened, and a consistency not to runny but easy to spoon on the cupcakes with our running everywhere.

To assemble the cake, pour the semi-cooled chocolate ganache over the cake, and spread out evenly.  Then using a piping bag, frost the cooled cake with the peanut butter frosting.  Right before serving, slice the bananas at an angel and dip one side in white sugar, layering the bananas on the top of the cake as you go with the sugar side facing up.  Then using your torch, brûlée the top of each banana until lightly brown.  Serve immediately, Enjoy! 

*Store in an airtight container.

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