Over the years, it's become quite fashionable for desserts to take on unusual shapes; pie, cake, or cupcakes in a jar, cake or pie pops, and then there's the shot glasses with Tiramisu, Cheesecake, or Chocolate Mousse, to name a few. I think for those special occasions, an individual cake is just the thing to WOW your family and friends.
Banana Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/3 cups granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 medium, ripe bananas, peeled and mashed with a fork
1 1/2 tsp. Vanilla extract
1/2 cup buttermilk (or sour low fat milk with 1 tsp. of vinegar and let sit for 10 minutes)
2 cups Cake Flour
1 cup All-purpose Flour
2 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
Preheat oven to 350F-degrees. Prepare a sheet pan (approx. 18" x 26" x 1") by brushing with melted butter, then, place a full sheet of parchment paper on the bottom, brush the parchment paper with butter, and finally, dust with flour. Set aside.
In a stand mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the butter while slowly adding the granulated sugar for 10 minutes (this ensures the sugar will dissolve completely and give you a better texture.)
Add the eggs, one at a time, scrapping down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula . Add the mashed bananas.
Measure the vanilla extract into the buttermilk. Alternately, add the dry ingredients with the wet, starting with the dry in three measurements. Beat on medium one more minute once everything is added. Transfer the batter to the sheet pan, spreading it to equally cover the surface.
Bake for 23 to 25 minutes, testing with a wooden skewer that the center is completely done. Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.
Meanwhile, make the Chocolate Buttercream.
10 oz. chocolate, chopped or use chips
1 cup heavy cream
1/4 cup light corn syrup
1/4 tsp. salt
1 1/2 cups confectioners' sugar
2 tsp. vanilla extract
18 T (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
Place the chocolate in the food processor. On the stove, in a small saucepan, heat the heavy cream, light corn syrup, and salt to a low boil. Pour the hot cream mixture over the chocolate and process the mixture until smooth.
Add the sugar and vanilla and pulse several times to combine (about 30 seconds). With the machine running, add the butter, one tablespoon at a time and combine until smooth and no butter chunks remain. Transfer frosting to a medium glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap. Refrigerate until thick and spreadable, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
I used a 3-inch round biscuit cutter to create circles for the individual cakes.
By the way, scrapes are "fair game!"
Place one of the circles on parchment or wax paper. Fill a pastry bag with the buttercream and a small rose tip. Pipe the top of the first layer, then add another layer of cake.
As an extra garnish, I sprinkled some Toffee Bits between the layers and a little bit on top.
Add one or two more layers, then, pipe the sides, starting from the bottom. Pipe some on top, then, smooth with an off-set spatula.
One more sprinkle of Toffee Bits and it's ready to be served. Enjoy!