DYou don’t have to prepare all the ingredients of this cake. On its own, it’s a filling snack—light enough for a lunch box treat or a morning cup of tea. But with the ganache and pecan brittle, this is a cake worthy of a celebration. The brittle can be made up to two days in advance and stored in an airtight container. The recipe makes a little more brittle than you need, but it’s an addictive snack and you’ll no doubt be munching on it before it gets on the cake.
For the cake
unsweetened cocoa powder 70g
instant coffee powder 2 tsp (optional)
cinammon 1 teaspoon
overripe banana 260g (3 large)
vanilla essence 2 Tea spoons
plain flour 330gr
baking soda 1½ tsp
baking powder ½ tsp
salt ½ tsp
unsalted butter 250 g, at room temperature
powdered sugar 150gr
dark brown sugar 150gr
eggs 2 large, at room temperature
protein 1, at room temperature
For the ganache
dark chocolate 200 g, chopped
double cream 250ml
For the pecan brittle
golden syrup 2 tbsp
powdered sugar 1 tablespoon
half pecans 120 g, roughly chopped
flaky sea salt ⅛ tsp
Start by brittle the pecan. Preheat the oven to 190°C fan/gas mark 6½ and line a small baking tray with baking paper. Combine golden syrup and sugar in a small saucepan and stir gently over low heat until sugar is completely dissolved – about 2 minutes. Fold in the pecans and sea salt until well combined, then remove from the heat and scrape onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake until golden and bubbly, about 8 minutes, then remove from the oven and let cool on the tray. When the brittle is completely hard, roughly chop or hit with a rolling pin to break it up into irregular pieces. Store in an airtight container until ready to use.
For the cake, preheat the oven to 175°C, fan/gas mark 5½. Grease a 30cm x 22cm baking tin, line with baking paper and set aside.
In a small saucepan, gently toss the milk over medium-high heat. When small bubbles appear around the edges (just before it starts to boil), remove from heat and add cocoa powder, coffee and cinnamon. Whisk to combine, then set aside to cool and allow the cocoa to “bloom” – about 10 minutes.
Mash the bananas until smooth, then add to the cocoa mixture with the vanilla essence. Fold to combine, then set aside.
Sift the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into a medium-sized bowl.
Place the butter and sugar in the bowl of a cake mixer and beat with the paddle attachment on medium-high speed until light and creamy. Reduce the speed to low and add the eggs one at a time, scraping the bowl after each addition. Still on low speed, add the sifted dry ingredients in 3 batches, alternating with the banana-cocoa mixture. Beat until smooth and combined, then scrape the batter into the prepared baking sheet.
Place in the preheated oven for 35-40 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and cool completely before turning out onto a serving platter or board.
While the cake is in the oven, prepare the ganache. Place the chopped chocolate in a medium bowl and heat the heavy cream in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. When small bubbles appear around the edges (just before it begins to boil), remove the saucepan from the heat and pour the hot cream over the chocolate. Let it sit for 1 minute, then stir to combine. Allow to cool slightly, then press some cling film over the mixture and refrigerate until ready to use.
When ready to serve, use a whisk to whip the ganache until light and creamy (if it has become very thick, you may find it easier to beat the ganache with the whisk attachment in the food processor). Spread the whipped ganache thickly over the cooled cake, then sprinkle generously with the pecan brittle.
Helen Goh is recipe developer and co-author of Sweet (Ebury, £27)