I have taken on the somewhat crazy task of making my own wedding cake. As someone who has generally shied away from layer cakes and fiddly frosting techniques and any kind of buttercream in general, THIS IS REALLY QUITE BIG.
Because our wedding is essentially going to be a hipster picnic in the park, I don’t think the guests will mind if we serve my fallback option, which is a couple of bundt cakes with a drizzled icing. But now that I’ve started to delve into the layer cake world (I dropped A LOT of $$ at Spotlight on baking equipment the other day), I can see myself becoming obsessed with it. Actually, I think I already am. Specifically those cute 15cm cake tins, which is what I made this cake in.
I still can’t believe this cake actually turned out looking roughly like a naked layer cake, but then again each element – the banana cake, the cream cheese frosting and the salted caramel – is something I’ve made many times before, but in a different format, so at least I had that on my side. Turns out my go to banana bread recipe is actually the perfect volume to make a petite four-layer 15-cm cake. Yay! Next: learn how to make a meringue buttercream. I tremble just thinking about it. Baking gods, give me the creativity of Molly Yeh, the precision of Sweetapolita and the dependability of Smitten Kitchen. Amen.
I have to thank my friend Reana for coming around and being my salt-sprinkling hand model and cake eating assistant!
Does anyone have any advice for this newbie layer cake baker? ALSO, can we talk about Eurovision! Don’t know why Australia is in it now (lol), but I like it. What’s your fave song of Eurovision 2016?!
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- ½ cup / 115g caster (superfine) sugar
- ½ cup lightly packed / 115g brown sugar
- 2 extra large eggs
- 4 large ripe bananas, mashed or pureed
- 2 cups / 300g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 100g butter, softened
- 1½ cups / 230g icing (confectioner's) sugar
- 500g cream cheese, softened
- 3 tbsp caster sugar
- 1 tbsp salted butter
- 3 tbsp thin cream
- a hefty pinch of salt
- Grease four 15 cm cake tins (if you have two, simply be prepared to do two rounds of baking!) and preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan-forced.
- Place the butter and sugars in the bowl of a stand mixer, or in a medium mixing bowl if using electric hand beaters. Beat until pale and creamy, around two minutes.
- Add the eggs, and beat to combine.
- Add the banana, and beat to combine.
- In a separate mixing bowl, combine the flour and baking powder, then add into the wet mixture, and beat until just combined.
- Divide between the four baking tins, and bake for 15-20 minutes, until golden brown and spongy. Test for doneness by inserting a skewer into the centre of each cake. Allow to cool in the tins for 15 minutes or so before removing and leaving to cool completely on a cooling rack.
- Next, make the frosting: add the butter and icing sugar into the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large mixing bowl if using an electic hand beater. Beat until pale and fluffy, around two minutes. Add the cream cheese, and beat until thick and creamy, around one minute. The frosting is now ready to use!
- Once the cakes are completely cool, level them (you can place them in the fridge for a few hours, if you have the time, to make the task easier). Place one layer on a cake stand or serving board, and then spread with a thick layer of frosting using an offset spatula. Place the next layer on top of that, and spread with more frosting. Repeat with the third layer and the top layer. Next, spread some a thin layer of icing all around the outside of the cake and smooth it down as best as possible. This is the crumb coat. Refrigerate for 30 minutes to allow it to harden.
- Apply another thin layer of frosting to the outside and top of the cake and smooth it out. It's ready for the salted caramel drip now!
- To make the salted caramel drip, place a small saucepan over medium heat and add the sugar and a splash of water. Swirl the pan from time to time. After a minute or two the water will begin to evaporate and the sugar will dissolve. Continue to swirl the mixture as it takes on a browner colour. Once it is dark golden, add the butter, cream and salt, but be careful as the mixture will be extremely hot and can bubble up. Swirl for another one to two minutes to allow the caramel to thicken slightly.
- Take the sauce off the heat, and at this stage you can stir it using a small spatula. Leave it to cool on the bench. It will continue to thicken as it cools.
- Once cool, carefully drizzle the caramel on the top of the cake and spread it out slightly to allow it to drip down the sides of the cake.
- The cake is now ready to be eaten! It's best stored in the fridge, but should be brought to room temperature before eating.