So, last week was when this cake was due (check out everyone else’s!).  And I had baked it!  And photographed it, even.  But the pictures didn’t get edited, and we went out of town, and, and, and…  so it’s a bit late.  But still tasty!

Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache

from Sky High: Irresistible triple-layer cakes

Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache

Banana Cake with Praline Filling and White Chocolate Ganache

The banana cake came together like a dream – easy to make, smells fabulous, tastes great.  I did my usual ‘cut the recipe in half and use three 6″ pans’ trick so as to not end up with miles of cake.

I used walnuts for the praline instead of pecans, and made it by melting sugar and coating, rather than the boil/fry method the recipe calls for.  It was fabulously tasty, and I think walnuts go better with banana anyways!

The white chocolate ganache…  Jeff loved it.  Said it was fabulous.  To me, it tasted way, way too sweet, but I’ve been off sugar for two weeks now and my taste receptors are changing 😦  The cake was a little plain when I’d frosted it, so I covered the sides with leftover praline, and spun some sugar for a topper (I still need practice with that bit – lots!)  I still strongly dislike working with whipped cream frostings.  It’s just not smooth.

Check out my fabulous sugar!

Check out my fabulous sugar!

Here’s another shot of a slice with sugar on top:

(and if you look very carefully, you’ll see some of that five inches of snow we got last week.  Only snowfall all season!  Gone now.)

my-favorite

The Cake:
makes a 9-inch triple layer cake

3 cups of cake flour [I actually used this – shocker!]
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
8 ounces of softened unsalted butter
2 cups of sugar
7 egg whites

Praline Filling:
1 cup sugared pecans, cooled [I used walnuts]
1 and 1/2 cups white chocolate ganache

Sugared Pecans:
1 and 1/2 cups pecan halves
3 cups vegetable oil
1 cup confectioners sugar

Alternately:

1 cup sugar
1 and 1/2 cups walnut pieces

White Chocolate Ganache:
8 ounces of white chocolate chopped
2 and 1/2 cups of heavy cream
1 and 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract

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.
6. To assemble the cake, 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.

Praline Filling

1. With a large chef’s knife chop the pecans. Or pulse in a food processor being careful not to turn into paste.
2. Add the sugared pecans to the white chocolate ganache and stir to mix well.

Sugared Pecans

1. 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.)
2. While the nuts are draining, heat the oil in a large heavy saucepan or deep fat fryer t0 350F degrees.
3. 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.

Alternately,

1. Place 1/4 cup sugar in a saucepan over medium-high heat and heat until melted and dark amber in color.
2. Add walnuts.  Stir to coat, sprinkle with another 1/4 cup of sugar.
3. When the new sugar has melted, add another 1/4 cup.  Repeat with last 1/4 cup.
4. Turn out onto non-stick, melt-proof surface (such as a silpat).
5. When cool, chop into small pieces.

White Chocolate Ganache

1. 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.
2. 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.

Late afternoon sun on spun sugar.

Late afternoon sun on spun sugar.

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