Do you ever taste something and wonder how you ever lived without it? Well, that’s how I felt when I dug into a slice of this Brown Butter Banana Chocolate Toffee Cake. Yeah, the name is a mouthful, but it’s darn amazing.
It’s fluffy, moist banana cake made with nutty brown butter, studded with salted homemade toffee and slathered in a salted chocolate ganache.
Have you ever eaten dessert with brown butter? If you haven’t, then you’re missing out on something amazing. Seriously. You need to rectify that omission in your life by making this cake as soon as possible. Like now. Or maybe tomorrow.
The brown butter gives the cake and ganache a distinct nuttiness and depth of flavor that can’t be replicated in any way. Let’s just say that I’m sort of addicted to the stuff. You’ll be seeing some more brown butter treats around here, that’s for sure.
The original recipe for this cake is from Fine Cooking, and it calls for nuts in the banana cake batter. Since I was baking the cake for friends with nut allergies, I had to figure out what I could put in the cake that would give it a crunch and flavor but without nuts. Then it hit me – bananas and caramel are a combo made in heaven.
The only problem with caramel was that it wasn’t the right consistency. I wanted something with a crunch. And that’s how I decided to sprinkle the salted chocolate ganache between each cake layer with homemade salted toffee.
The moistness of the brown butter banana cake didn’t effect the integrity of the crunchy toffee, so each time you take a bite of this cake, you get a buttery, caramel crunch from the toffee.
What did my picky family think of this cake? Well, let’s just say that my youngest daughter liked it so much that when I gave a huge chunk of the leftover cake to our guests to take home, she started to cry. I’ll admit that she is only years old, and she was tired since it was past her 6:45 bedtime. (Yeah, I know, she goes to bed at 6:45.)
My husband and I couldn’t get her to calm down, so while I distracted her, my husband cut off another, much smaller piece of cake, wrapped it in foil, told us that he was going to catch our guests before they left. Then he made a huge scene putting on his shoes and coat. Then he came back 15 seconds later, declaring that he got the cake back right before our friends pulled out of the driveway. Hey, you gotta do what you gotta do. She was happy. We were relieved. And best of all, she went to bed happy 🙂
- For the Cake;
- 1 1/2 cups unsalted butter
- 3 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
- 2 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 1 1/4 tsp sea salt
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 tsp baking soda
- 2 cups (about 5 medium bananas) very ripe, mashed
- 1 cup milk at room temperature (not skim milk)
- 1 tbs plus 1 tsp lemon juice or white vinegar
- 1 3/4 cup light brown sugar
- 4 large eggs at room temperature
- 1 cup crumbled, homemade toffee (see the recipe below)
- For the Ganache:
- 4 tbs unsalted butter
- 1 lb semisweet chocolate, chopped (about 3 cups)
- 3/4 tsp sea salt
- 2 cups heavy cream
- flaky sea salt as a garnish (I used Maldon Sea Salt)
- For the Toffee:
- 1 cup unsalted buter, cubed
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp sea salt
- 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- For the cake: Cook the butter in a sauce pan over medium heat, swirling every few minutes. Cook until the milk solids at the bottom of the pan turn dark brown, about 5 minutes. Immediately scrape the browned butter and the milk solids into a shallow bowl. Refrigerate until softly set, about an hour.
- Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line the bottoms of 3, 9-inch cake pans. Butter and flour the pans.Set them aside while mixing the cake batter.
- In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and baking soda.
- In a small bowl, mix the milk, lemon juice (or vinegar), and mashed bananas.
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, mix the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 4 minutes.
- Add the eggs one at a time. Mixing well after each addition.
- With the mixer on low, add the flour mixture and banana alternately in three separate batches, starting and ending with the flour mixture.
- Evenly diviide the batter between the three prepared cake pans.
- Bake for about 35 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the cake comes out clean.
- Remove the cakes from the oven. Place the cakes, in their pans, on cooling racks, and allow them to cool in the pans for about 20 minutes.
- After 20 minutes, run a small paring knife around the edges of the pans. Invert the pans, and remove the parchment paper. Allow the cakes to cool completely.
- For the ganache: While the cakes are in the oven, make the ganache.
- Brown the butter as described above, but once the butter is browned, immediately add it to a medium sized metal bowl. Then add the chopped chocolate and salt to the bowl.
- In the same pot where the butter was browned, boil the cream. Once boiled, pour it on top of the chocolate mixture. Allow the mixture to sit for a minute or two, then whisk until smooth.
- Allow the chocolate ganache to sit at room temperature for about an hour, or until spreadable. Mix the ganache every 15 minutes or so until it reaches spreading consistency.
- For the Toffee: While the ganache is cooling, make the toffee.
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a heavy bottomed sauce pan, combine the sugar and butter.
- Cook on medium heat until the sugar is an almond brown color, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the pan from the heat and add the salt and vanilla extract. Mix until combined.
- Pour the toffee on the prepared sheet, and allow it to cool until brittle. (My kitchen was cool, so it only took about 1/2 an hour).
- Once cook, shatter the toffee into small pieces.
- To assemble the cake:
- Level each layer of cake with a seated knife.
- Between each layer of cake, spread the ganache. Then sprinkle with crushed toffee.
- Once the cake is filled, allow the cake to chill.
- Once chilled, spread a thing layer of frosting over the cake to create a crumb coating. Allow the cake to cool in the fridge for about 15 minutes.
- Then, frost the cake with the balance of the ganache to create a smooth finish.
- Sprinkle the top with a touch of sea salt to garnish.
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