Hi everyone! Today I’ve got a special guest post for you! Let me introduce Erika, the brilliant mind behind The Pancake Princess. She’s here to share a delicious recipe with us: Quadruple Banana Layer Cake with Marzipan and Chocolate Glaze. That’s a pretty big title, but there’s just one word to sum it up: yum!
I’m Erika from the Pancake Princess and I am super excited to be guest posting on Bailey Bakes today! Isn’t her blog gorgeous? Bailey and I are both relatively new to the blogging world and I was lucky enough to meet her early on. She’s super sweet and takes the most fabulous photos of delicious food, so I knew I had to make something extra special for a guest post. So I went back to my roots.
If you can’t tell from my blog name, I love pancakes. But pancakes are just a means to an end.
Towering, complex layer cakes are my real love. Layer upon layer of thick, tight-crumbed cake sandwiching thick layers of frosting sandy with sugar and puffed with whipping and air, dusted with sprinkles, chocolate curls or shavings–mmhm. That’s where it’s at.
A few years ago, I made Smitten Kitchen’s pistachio layer cake for my dad’s birthday and ever since, I’ve been wanting to make another cake with marzipan, the subtly nutty, lightly sweetened almond paste that can be molded like play-doh into thin rounds and layered between cake layers.
I haven’t yet, because they say marzipan is an acquired taste and not everyone likes it. But um, then I found out how EASY it is to make. It’s basically almonds, sugar, an egg white, salt and extract in a food processor. Who wouldn’t like that?
Whole wheat banana cake seemed the perfect accompaniment to the nutty paste, bound together by a chocolate glaze made with almond milk. Unlike cream, which clouds, richens and thickens chocolate into a thick ganache, almond milk dials things down a notch, allowing the semi of the semi-sweet chocolate chips to shine.
Also, it’s a tad healthier. This whole layer cake uses only 5 tablespoons of oil and packs in whole wheat flour, ripe bananas, and tons of almonds. I left the sides bare because I liked the rustic, unfrosted look, but it also means less frosting = less fat. (P.S: If you’re all about texture, you can even add some of the sugary toasted almonds in between each layer for extra crunch! Go wild.)
To sum things up: quadruple-layered cake topped with toasted sugared almonds? Sounds like my kind of a lighter layer cake, and it should be yours too!
I had blanched my own almonds to make the marzipan, but you certainly don’t have to. In the event that you, like me, have a Costco-size sack of unsalted almonds that you’re dying to get rid of, blanch away! (instructions below)
I used a rather unorthodox method to assemble this cake; you can easily make this into a double layer 8” cake by baking it in cake pans rather than a cookie sheet. Or, as the original recipe indicates, you can make this into a 9 x 13 cake. But what’s the fun in that?
I subbed out some of the fat in this cake for a spritz of applesauce and a couple dabs of yogurt. Feel free to use all yogurt (though I wouldn’t use all applesauce) or to add the oil back in, if you’re feeling decadent. The whole wheat flour can also easily be swapped out for all-purpose, though I think grainy whole wheatiness is a great complement to the slight graininess of the almond paste.
The following recipe will make about double the amount of marzipan you’ll need. I don’t recommend halving the recipe as that will make it harder to roll out the rounds of marzipan for the layer cake. If you’re using the four-layer technique, feel free to halve the recipe. Leftover marzipan does freeze well, though and you can use it for all sorts of things!
The chocolate glaze is somewhere between a glaze and ganache—it’ll only thicken a tiny bit after being refrigerated—unlike ganache made with heavy cream, you won’t be able to whip it to thick peaks. But once you drizzle it on the cake, it will firm up in the fridge and look nice and solid.
Quadruple Banana Layer Cake with Marzipan and Chocolate Glaze
All recipes are below. To assemble the cake, use a small pot, pan or bowl with a 5” diameter as a template. Using a small knife, trace four 5” circles out of the sheet of banana cake. Set aside.
Place the marzipan log between two large sheets of plastic wrap. Roll out the marzipan to about 1/8” thickness and using the same pot/pan/bowl template, cut out a 5” circle of marzipan. Remove the top sheet of plastic wrap, invert the marzipan circle on top of one cake layer and remove the other sheet of plastic wrap. Spread the marzipan with a layer of chocolate glaze and refrigerate as you roll out the next circle of marzipan, re-using the plastic wrap as you roll.
Repeat until all cake layers have been stacked. Top with a final layer of marzipan and glaze and finish with toasted sugared almonds. Place in the fridge for 2+ hours for everything to harden and solidify, if time allows. Bring to room temperature for serving.
Adapted from Pastry Affair
Yield: above 4-layer cake + scraps OR 2 8-inch cake layers OR 9 x 13″ cake
2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup + 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 tablespoons yogurt
1 tablespoon applesauce
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 large eggs
3 overripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk (or almond milk + 3/4 tablespoon vinegar)
Preheat oven to 325. Grease and flour a standard 18×13 cookie sheet. (Or 2 smaller cookie sheets.)
Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. In a large bowl, mix together the oil, yogurt, applesauce and sugars. Add eggs one at a time; combine well after each addition. Add mashed bananas and vanilla.
Alternatively add and beat in the flour mixture and buttermilk in 5 additions, starting and ending with the flour. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 20-24 minutes, or until cake springs back lightly under your finger and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
Marzipan (Almond Paste)
Altered from One Perfect Bite
Yield: 1 1/2 cups
1 1/2 cups almonds, blanched*
1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract (if you have almond extract, use that)
1 egg white
1/4 teaspoon salt
Place almonds in a food processor; cover and process until smooth. Add confectioners’ sugar, egg white, extract and salt; cover and process until smooth.
Almond paste may be stored in airtight containers and refrigerated for up to 1 month or placed in the freezer for up to 3 months.
*To blanch almonds: Pour about 1 cup of boiling water over 1 1/2 cups of unsalted almonds. Let sit for precisely one minute. Drain, rinse with cold water and drain again. Almonds should appear slightly wrinkly and you should be able to pop them out of their skins by squeezing one end or using your fingernails to peel them off by sections. It took me about half an hour to peel 1 1/2 cups (it’s not a quick process).
A PanPrin experimentation
1/2 cup almond milk
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Microwave the almond milk for 1 minute or until boiling. Add 1/4 cup chocolate chips, stir, add another quarter cup and repeat until the whole cup has been added. Stir until melted.
Sugared Toasted Almonds
From How Sweet It Is
Yield: The perfect amount to top the cake. Triple or quadruple this amount if you want to add almonds between layers as well.
1/4 cup slivered almonds
1 tablespoon brown sugar
Heat a small skillet over medium heat and add almonds. Tossing and stirring constantly, toast for 2-3 minutes, just until almonds start to brown. Reduce heat to low and toss in sugar, stirring to coat. Stir constantly and cook for another minute, then remove and place almonds in a bowl. After a few minutes of cooling they will harden and you can break them apart and place on frosting.