Ah cake. There’s really nothing like it – It’s that small indulgence after a hard day, something to chat over with a cup of tea, the perfect way to show someone you care. I simply couldn’t imagine having someone come over and not having a piece of cake to offer them. I would say it’s definitely my fall back ‘demonstrating affection’ method which I’m sure it is for many of you out there and I don’t think there’s anything that does it better! I make a point of trying to change up our weekly cakes and try different things – of course you always have your fail safe classics you can go back to over and over but I try to do something new every few weeks. This is a recipe I’ve had on my radar for a while – it come from the beautiful blog The View From The Great Island and I have only just got round to playing with it. And oh how I wished I’d tried it earlier!
I’m not entirely sure why this recipe appealed so much. I’ve never been the biggest fan of banana bread and never got on that well with making it- it always just seems a little dull, and J doesn’t like nutella. So it certainly wasn’t an obvious choice! But this one is a keeper! It’s very very rich – you definitely only need a small piece (something J reluctantly agreed with after scoffing down an enormous piece and looking a little sick!). The cake it’s self is dense and moist – with a subtle banana hazelnut flavour, but it’s the icing that’s the real star of this show. It’s rich and intensely chocolatey and brings this whole cake to life in the best possible (Chocolaty) way!
I’ve stayed very true to the recipe with this one. I loved the use of ground hazelnuts in the sponge combined with the use of sour cream and oil rather than butter. I knew I wanted a double layered cake though so I’ve adjusted the quantities accordingly. It does make a BIG cake this one so it’s perfect for a celebration or feeding a group of people. You will need VERY ripe bananas – I’d set some aside for this purpose but the weren’t quite ripe enough when I came to use them. If you have the same problem put them on a baking tray (set well apart so the air can circulate) and put them in the oven on it’s lowest temperature for 10 minutes or until they are blackened! For the hazelnuts you could easily use pre ground hazelnuts if you could find them but I would recommend making your own for a more pronounced flavour. If like me you can only find hazelnuts with the skins on. After toasting them rub them in a clean tea towel and the skins should just come away. Any that don’t you can remove by rubbing them between your fingers before grinding them!
Banana Hazelnut Cake with Nutella Buttercream
5 Very Ripe Bananas – Mashed
170g Granulated Sugar
150g Light Brown Sugar
175ml Vegetable Oil
180g Sour Cream
375g Plain Flour
1 1/2 Tsp Baking Powder
1/2 Tsp Salt
1 1/2 Tsp Vanilla Bean Paste
235g Whole Hazelnuts
130g Icing Sugar
6 Tbsp Double Cream (Or Milk)
Grease and line a 9 inch spring form tin
Toast the hazelnuts on a baking tray for about ten minutes – keep checking them and moving them around so they don’t burn. Once toasted allow them to cool slightly then rub between a tea towel to remove the papery skins. Transfer to a food processor, removing any lingering skins and pulse until finely ground (Stick your nose in and take a whiff – incredible!). Set aside until needed.
Cream together the banana and both sugars until smooth and fluffy. Whisk in the eggs, oil, sour cream and vanilla paste until smooth. Mix together the flour, salt and baking powder then add these to the mix, along with the hazelnuts, a third at a time – whisking until just combined. Tip the mixture into the prepared tin and bake on the middle self of the oven for 1 hour. Check the cake after about 40 minutes – if it is browning too quickly just loosely cover the top with foil to stop it browning. It is done when a inserted skewer comes out moist but without any cake mix sticking to it.
Turn the cake out after 10 minutes of cooling in the tin. Allow it to cool completely before cutting in half with a serrated knife and icing.
Icing: Cream butter slightly if it’s a little stiff then whisk in the nutella, icing sugar and cream until smooth and spreadable. Taste it and add a little more cream or sugar if it seems a little thin or thick. Spread half inside the cake and half on the top.