Yes, it was that time again, it was the second Sunday of the month which can only mean 1 thing…Ironcupcake Leeds! I missed out on May’s competition but was eager to get baking and back into the swing of things!
June’s theme was The Perfect Pair and I had a few ideas…Lemon Meringue? Cheese and Pickle? Coffee and fags? Luckily I didn’t let my imagination run away with me too much and I eventually settled on one of my all time favourite flavour combinations, Banoffee!
Moist banana sponge, filled with salty sweet caramel and a light caramel frosting – perfect! What’s not to like? Well, apart from the fact I would be completely putting off that large number of people who dislike bananas, and trust me I know a few!
I also went for this combo as I was expecting a myriad of Strawberries & Cream type of combos but to my surprise there wasn’t! In fact there were 3 Banoffee cakes!
Overall I was happy with the end result, not too sweet, not too sickly as some banana type sweet things can be. It also had a very good level of texture contrast. My only comment would be it needed more contrast – not sure if the yellow wrapper made the whole thing seem a bit beige! Ever the perfectionist though and I don’t think I am every really truly happy with anything I produce!
The standard of cakes were very high, with some really interesting combinations, a couple of which including bacon! For a list of all the entries please see the IronCupcake site
In the end I came 2nd! Very pleased with the result – I got a bit of ribbing from Larraine (Zoe’s mum) who helps out at the events, joking that I’d win again but I honesty never go into these things thinking I may win – I do it to try and think creatively about cakes, flavours and presentation.
Charlotte and her Ben and Jerry cakes based on Phish Food placed 1st. A chocolate brownie cake combined with marshmallow and caramel – well done Charlotte!
Next month’s theme is Very Berry and am slowly concocting some ideas…
So to the cakes! This recipe is adapted from Martha Stewart’s Roasted Banana with Honey Cinnamon Frosting combination. The most interesting aspect of the recipe is that it calls for the ripe bananas to be roasted in their skins to further enhance the banana in the cake. This gives the sponge a lovely depth of flavour and would recommend not skipping this step.
I also made my own caramel for the recipe, but if you are short on time, then ready made caramel is just as good.
Banoffee Cupcakes (Makes approx 16)
For the cake
3 x ripe bananas
115g unsalted butter
200g caster sugar
3 eggs, separated
250g plain flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
1/2 tsp of salt
120 ml buttermilk
1 tsp vanilla extract
For the caramel
150g caster sugar
80ml double cream
For the buttercream
See the recipe for my flour frosting from a previous post
2-3 tablespoons of caramel (cooled)
100g melted chocolate
Dried banana chips
Chocolate / toffee sprinkles
Preheat the oven to 200 deg C
Line a muffin tray with paper liners
Place the 3 bananas onto a tray and bake for 20 mins. They should come out completely black. Leave to cool before peeling and mashing. Set to one side and cover. Reduce the oven temp to 180 deg C
Whist the bananas are roasting, measure our your ingredients.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb of soda and salt into a bowl.
In a separate bowl, beat together the flour and sugar until pale and fluffy, then add the egg yolks, one at a time, beating between additions. Add the mashed bananas and mix to combine.
Add the dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the buttercream and again, mix after every addition. Finally add the vanilla and stir through. Set this mixture to one side.
In another clean bowl, whisk the egg whites until they form soft peaks. Fold in one third of the egg whites to the cake batter to lighten. fold in the rest of the egg whites in a further 2 additions.
Divide the batter between the muffin pans and cook for 20 mins for standard sized cakes and 10 minutes for minis. turn the pans halfway through the cooking time if you have uneven heat in your oven. Once cooked, leave to cool on a wire tray.
Making the Caramel
Pour the water water into a medium saucepan and add the sugar. place on a medium-high heat, until sugar is dissolved and syrup is clear. Try not to stir too much or the sugar will crystallise.
Continue to cook, without stirring, until syrup comes to a boil, washing down sides of pan with a wet pastry brush two or three times to prevent crystals from forming.
Let the syrup boil, gently swirling pan occasionally, until syrup is dark amber.
Immediately remove from heat and carefully pour in cream (be very careful, the caramel will bubble vigorously!!). Stir the caramel until smooth.
Transfer to a jar and leave to cool.
Making the buttercream
Make up the flour frosting as per my Pistachio Honey and Lime Cakes and then add a couple of tablespoons of the caramel at the end. Beat vigorously.
For the decoration
Melt the chocolate in a small bowl. Dip the banana chips halfway into the chocolate and then place on a try so that the chocolate can harden.
Core out the middle of the cupcake using a corer or a knife – please see this post to see what I mean! Fill with the caramel and then replace the top of the cupcake.
Top with the buttercream, sprinkles and banana chip.
Eat as many as you like!!