Banoffee Cake

Sometimes it's hard to get anything done when the cutest kitten ever keeps pinching your seat whenever you get up or walking over your keyboard. Her face is a distracting delight. Her claws are not. She's decided to start being a cutie now and is snuggled against my leg. If I move too sharply she'll wake up and start typing again. Best to let her snooze and continue being gorgeous. Yes, I'm a crazy cat lady, no I'm not ashamed.
 
Yesterday evening was traumatic. A tiny bit of snow fell over Stoke on Trent and everyone in a car seemed to panic and leave work at once. This meant ridiculous traffic. I went to work wearing my silly shoes (read: completely appropriate for snow/rain shoes) and so by the time I got to the bus stop my feet were very wet and very cold. The bus then didn't turn up at all. I eventually gave up, rang Nick and, with a little sob down the phone (as I was feeling particularly sorry for myself) asked him to come pick me up. I sought refuge in the gym and waited for my knight in a shining mini to come and rescue me. I can deal with the rain and the snow, I just can't deal with wet feet.
 
The only cure for cold wet feet is to bake something epic. I had had this cake in mind for a couple of weeks and I decided yesterday that it needed to be baked whilst my toes regained feeling and my shoes dried off on the radiator. I love all the main components of banoffee anything...bananas, cream and dulche de leche. It's usually in pie form but I wanted it in a cake and I knew just where to start.
 
My favourite banana recipe is by The Hummingbird Bakery. It's so simple but that's why I love it and it's perfect warm with a little butter spread over a slice. I adapted the recipe to make enough for 3 20cm cake tins and I changed a couple of elements to make it more compatible with the cream and caramel. It's a big 3 layer cake so you only need to cut thin slices (well you don't HAVE to) and if you take it into work I guarantee some oohs and aahs from your colleagues.

Also, I have an interview and a recipe in the new issue of Sweet magazine. I'm really excited about it and have already had some lovely comments on twitter about it. It's a gorgeous magazine and I would very much recommend you pick it up (not just because I'm in it) if you see it on your travels.
 
Banoffee Cake
(cake adapted from The Hummingbird Bakery Cookbook)
 
makes enough for 3x 20cm cake tins
 
540g caster sugar
4 eggs
300g peeled bananas, mashed
560g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
280g unsalted butter, melted
 
250g mascarpone
300ml double cream
60g icing sugar
 
1x 397g tin of caramel/dulche de leche
 
demerara sugar, to decorate
  1. Preheat your oven to 170 C/325 F. Grease and line your cake tins and set aside.
  2. Beat the sugar and eggs until well incorporated, add in the mashed banana.
  3. Mix in the flour, baking powder, bicarb and cinnamon until smooth then add in the melted butter a bit at a time until well mixed. You might need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a couple of times.
  4. Divide the mix evenly between the three tins. Bake in the oven for 30 minutes, or until a cocktail stick comes out clean.
  5. Let cool in the tins completely before turning out onto a wire rack. You might need to level off 2 of the cakes so they have a flat top.
  6. When the cakes are pretty much cooled, prepare the cream. Beat the mascarpone and icing sugar until smooth. Whisk the double cream until thick and fold into the mascarpone mix. Spoon the caramel out of the tin and mix to soften.
  7. Now to assemble the cake. Place the bottom layer on a plate. Spread 1/3 of the cream mixture evenly over the top of the cake with a palette knife, making sure to leave enough for the other 2 layers. Spread 1/3 of the caramel over the top and place the 2nd layer of cake on top. Repeat the cream and caramel with the remaining layers.
  8. When you get to the top layer, spread the caramel over and create a decorative pattern with your palette knife. Sprinkle with a little demerara sugar to decorate and serve.