Sorry this post is slightly late and will probably be slightly incoherent and delirious. It was a very busy weekend and I woke up this morning totally sick and gross. Damn you immune system, you were doing so well this year! Anyway this weekend we were celebrating my niece's one month with a traditional Chinese full moon party. It was a pretty small gathering with pretty much just family and I was in charge of the cake.
My brother & sis-in-law requested their favourite cake flavour, banana cake with passionfruit cream cheese icing, a flavour combination we learnt about from Simmone Logue and have loved ever since. The construction of this cake was a nightmare, nothing went to plan for me. But we'll talk about that later. It was worth all the effort because it was for this cute face:
All together now: AWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW.
So anyway, I used the same recipe as last time but I was gonna make it special by baking four layers of cake and using this petal icing technique. I usually stay far away from icing techniques like this that require tidy and precise work. I am not good at either. But the tutorials online make it look so doable that I just had to try it. I learnt very quickly that the cream cheese icing I had made was WAY WAY too runny for it. And it was so runny that my cake semi-collapsed, so I had to make a whole new batch of icing and start over. The macarons I wanted to make in rainbow colours spelling out her name turned out so uneven and ugly but I didn't have time to redo them. BAH.
Like any full moon celebrations there was ang koo kueh from Alice's (tortoise-shaped glutinous rice flour cakes filled with mung bean paste). I love this kueh.
I also helped prepare the red eggs, which are meant to symbolise fertility and harmony.
Lunch was ordered off the Mamak catering menu; a gigantic pile of fried chicken, huge serves of nasi lemak, mee goreng and chicken satay and a HUGE 4 FREAKIN LITRES of teh o ais limau (Malaysian iced tea with lime). I drank a lot of tea and ate a lot of chicken.
We had to wake up little Sarah to cut the cake...
...which made her bawl her eyes out at first, hence the funny face below.
And there's a shot below of the layers inside the cake. Not as wonky as I thought, and super moist and delicious. Yay! I also decorated the cake with gold coin chocolates and some red Lindt chocolate eggs. It's the first time that having the supermarkets selling Easter eggs ridiculously early has actually come in handy! I don't want to talk about the macarons, sometimes you just make a bad batch of macs. Now I need to go make myself some chicken soup.
Banana Layer Cake with Passionfruit Cream Cheese Icing
(based on this recipe, makes a 4-layer 20cm square or round cake)
For the banana cake:
250g softened unsalted butter (salted is fine too)
2&1/4 cups (about 500g) sugar (I used caster/superfine but granulated white sugar is fine too)
2 cups mashed very over-ripe bananas (about 4 bananas)
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
500g (4 cups) plain flour
2 tsp bicarb (baking) soda
1 tsp salt
1&1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/3 tsp ground allspice
1 cup buttermilk (or 1 cup milk + 2 tsp lemon juice)
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), grease well and line the base of two 20cm square tins with baking paper (or round tins if you prefer a round cake). Cream butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer on high until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs one at a time until combined then add banana and vanilla and beat until combined. Sift dry ingredients (flour, bicarb, salt, cinnamon, allspice) together in a separate bowl. Add half the dry ingredients and half the buttermilk to them mixture, fold until just combined, then add the remaining dry mixture and buttermilk and repeat. Divide mixture between the tins and bake for 50-60 mins or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean and the cake is golden brown. (If you only have one tin bake one cake after the other) Cool cake in its tin on a wire rack for a few minutes before turning out.
For the passionfruit cream cheese icing:
500g (about 4.5 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
250g (about 9oz) cream cheese, softened
3-5 passionfruit pulp(adjust to taste, you need more if you strain out the seeds)
2 tsp lemon juice (optional)
About 500g (4 cups) icing sugar, sifted, adjust to correct texture
Place butter and cream cheese in a large mixing bowl and beat on high until smooth and fluffy. Add passionfruit pulp and lemon juice (I strained the seeds out of the passionfruit pulp so I would have a smooth pipable icing but this isn't necessary). Gradually add icing sugar and mix on low until it starts to come together, then mix on high until fluffy. You may need to add more icing sugar to get the ideal consistency, you want the icing to be easy to pipe but to hold its shape.
To assemble cake, slice the two banana cakes if half if you wish to have four layers. Sandwich a layer of icing between the cake layers and crumb coat the outside. You may need to chill the cake and the leftover icing if it is too runny. Spread or pipe remaining icing on the outside of the cake. If you wish you try the petal icing technique I used in the photos, there is a tutorial here but I wouldn't recommend it for a soft icing like this cream cheese one.