Okay, so this recipe isn’t part of my A to Z of Baking challenge; it is instead a festive little treat!
When the folks over at Banana Moon, an online personalised clothing retailer, got in touch and asked if I would be interested in taking part in their Christmas-inspired banana recipe challenge, I jumped at the chance. It was the perfect opportunity to take the few things I’ve learned over the past few months of my baking challenge – which isn’t much, let’s be honest, I’m still very much a novice! – and create something with just a little bit of creativity from myself.
Banana Moon love to have fun and are really interested in everything Banana related. They have a Big Banana Bake Book – an online guide that sits on their website – which they ask bloggers to contribute towards, so I was just delighted to take part in this festive challenge.
I decided to take inspiration from a giant chocolate cupcake I made for the ‘E’ of my baking challenge and use parts of this recipe to create a giant Christmas tree, but with a banana inspired edge. I searched the web for banana frosting recipes and once I’d made the frosting, I added some green food colouring gel to give a Christmas tree look.
Despite a scary moment when I tried to pipe the banana frosting onto the top of the cake but then realised – as I saw it running down the cake, resembling more of a Halloween cake than a Christmas cake – that the mashed up bananas in the mixture meant it would be too wet to pipe on, the recipe turned out well. The addition of Cadbury’s Chocolate Fingers around the base was a last minute one, due to the runny nature of the frosting, so a MASSIVE shout out to my boyfriend Steve for saving the day and dashing to Tesco to get some for me!
Here’s the recipe:
Ingredients for the giant chocolate cupcake:
- 225g butter, softened
- 410g caster sugar
- 4 eggs, large
- 90g self raising flour
- 280g plain flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 90g Cocoa powder
- 300ml milk
- 45ml (3 tablespoons) vinegar (malt or white wine vinegar)
Ingredients for the banana frosting:
- 60g butter, softened
- 125g mashed bananas
- 1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 500g icing sugar
- A dash of green food colouring gel (I used Sugarflair ‘Green Apple’ colour)
- One pack of Smarties
- Silver sugar balls
- One bag of banana milk bottles (I bought mine from Tesco)
- Two boxes of Cadbury’s Fingers
- First, prep up your giant cupcake tin, a really important step in getting the cake out whole. Spray cake release is recommended as the easiest thing to use but I greased the tin with butter, making sure to grease every nook and cranny. Place a circle of baking paper in the bottom of the base. Preheat the oven to 140c (fan) / 160c / gas mark 3. A longer, more gentle bake means that the cake doesn’t take on a hard, thick crust.
- Measure the milk and vinegar into a jug, give it a quick stir and set it to one side. Cream together the butter and sugar until it’s nice and fluffy, no skimping on this stage. If you don’t get enough volume into it now, you won’t have enough to fill your tin.
- Beat in the eggs one at a time, making sure the mix goes light and fluffy again after each. Now you need to mix in all the dry ingredients and the milk/vinegar mix until it’s evenly incorporated.
- Time to fill up the tin. Fill the top first and fill it to about 2cm short of the rim. Now add the rest of the cake mix to the base section – this one will have slightly more space to the top of the rim but as it contains more mixture, it’s got more oomph to rise. Roughly level them both with the back of a spoon. Bake in the oven for 1 hour 10 mins – 1 hour 15 mins. Check the centre of the base section with a skewer and bake until it comes out clean.
- Once out of the oven, leave the cakes to cool in the tin for 25 minutes before turning out. After 25 minutes are up, place the cooling rack on the top of the tin and then turn both over together. Give the rack and tin a firm tap on the work surface and carefully lift away the tin.
- Once both parts of the cupcake have completely cooled, cut out a round hole in the middle of the base of the cake, being careful that you do not cut all the way to the bottom of the base. Keep the pieces of cake that you scoop out. Then, fill the hole (oo-err) with your banana milk bottles and then carefully place the pieces of cake back on top of the hole to seal the sweeties in.
- To make the banana frosting, cream together butter, banana, lemon juice and vanilla. Slowly beat in icing sugar and a very small amount of green food colouring gel to make a nice fluffy, spreadable icing.
- Spread the frosting over the top and base of the cake using a spatula, then stick the chocolate fingers all the way around the base. Then, place your Smarties on the top to look like baubles and decorate with some silver balls, swirling them around the tree to look like tinsel.