Monday, October 8, 2012

Banana Bread Crepe Cake

 It was my birthday, so I made myself a cake...my 4 year old Little Miss put on the candles. I picked an intentionally 'difficult' (at least in my mind) cake..to say Goodbye to what I thought was a difficult year. Oh, and I looked online, and a bakery that sells a cake similar charges like $75 plus shipping, so I decided to go easy on the Husband and just make it myself.
 I usually stand by the "things taste better when someone else cooks them" phrase. But not in this case. In this case, no one could have done my cake better. Call it boasting, call it pride, heck, you might make the cake yourself and not even like it. But it was exactly what I needed. It was a stress relief and an act of Love for one person....me. A completely selfish endeavor for my birthday and I deserved it....and I enjoyed every caramel dripping, sweet bite of it!
The crepe part:
Banana crepes (adapted from Smitten Kitchen)

4 Tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
1 cup whole milk
1-1 1/2 banana*
3/4 cup ap flour
4 eggs
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
pinch salt
pinch nutmeg
pinch cloves

The filling:
Banana Cheesecake filling w/walnuts
1 1/2 cups heavy whipping cream
1 banana*
1 jar Cheesecake in a jar**
1 cup chopped walnuts, toasted

The sauce:
Caramel sauce (adapted from Mel's Kitchen Cafe)
1/4 cup water
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup heavy whipping cream
pinch of salt

The crepe part (cooking)-
I suggest putting all the crepe ingredients into a blender and just letting that do the work for you? I've got a small single serve blender (for smoothies and such) and I did up two different blends (eggs, milk, flour, spices/eggs, butter), then just put them in a bowl together and whisked it up.
I used more butter to rub over my medium heated non stick pan (I didn't have to, I wanted to)-I tried to use a 1/4 cup measure for this, but I didn't feel like it was really enough...that and it took me a few times to get the pour and swirl down, but my experience taught me that crepes are suprisingly forgiving. The first side takes about two minutes, the flip side only takes about 30 seconds, but you are going to spend a good 20-30 total cooking them all up. As you take them out of the pan, just lay them out on some wax paper to cool. I stacked mine a bit too, they didn't stick to one another.

The filling (prep)-
I used my KA w/ the whisk attachment to whip my heavy whipping cream, until it got pretty thick. While that was whipping away, I microwaved my frozen banana to 1)thaw it and 2)warm it so it would warm the Cheesecake. I'll address both my * and ** now. I generally keep peeled frozen bananas in the freezer, so I used those instead of fresh, they tend to be sweeter and it's what I had on hand-but they have to be thawed, so either sit them out for a few hours, or pop them in the microwave. I had some of the Cheesecake in a jar spread. I would think you could easily sub a block of cream cheese w/some karo and cinnamon mixed in and be fine OR they sell 'cheesecake filling' in the dairy case too. So I had my warm-micro'd banana and the Cheesecake spread and I put that in my little blender, whizzed it up, then folded it into the whipped cream.
Toast the walnuts in a pan on the stove and STAY with them...a burnt nut ruins things so easily. DON'T mix your walnuts into the cream...

Putting it together (did you think I forgot the caramel sauce? I didn't..it's a topper, you can make it while the cake hangs out in the fridge)-

I layered a plate with plastic wrap, just for easier clean up-
One crepe down on the plate, topped with about 1/4 cup of the cream filling, and a sprinkle of the walnuts-
repeat,repeat, repeat, until you are out of crepes. Don't top the last crepe with the cream. Just let it hang out and be the lid.
I used the hangover plastic wrap to pull up on the sides, just to tighten it up a bit, and popped it into the fridge for a few hours.

The caramel sauce-
I HIGHLY suggest you click the link and follow her tutorial! I had the recipe in my head and gave the ipad back to the kids and really should have read it a couple more times..I was happy with how my sauce came out, but next time I'll let my sugar go longer to get a deeper caramel flavor.

On medium heat in a saucepan add the sugar and water. Let the sugar totally dissolve, then pop the heat up a little to a boil and cover for about 2-3 minutes until you start to get a golden color. Add the butter (1 stick chopped up) and stir to combine and let that go another 2-3 minutes. Add the cream and stir until combined. At this point it's pretty much done, you can let it cook until it reaches the consistency you want...but keep it mind it will get thicker as it cools as well. I put mine in a Mason jar and let it hang out on the counter until the cake was ready.

This was around 10-11ish that I made the cake, and we pulled it out for the candles and song around 5. It needs a good few hours to get settled, maybe even overnight if you can bear it.

The cream filling didn't set up as perfectly as I had hoped it would, I think that the moisture from the bananas (thawed freezer bananas tend to be pretty wet) threw it off.

But overall....awesome cake. The banana flavor was prominent, but not overpowering. The crunch of the walnut was essential. And the delicate chew of the crepe made it all perfect.

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