Layer upon layer, this impressive cake is deceptively simple to make. What’s more, you could call it a hazelnut hummingbird cake with the added bonus of lashings of caramel. Now what’s not to love about that!
Banana and hazelnut cake layers
- melted butter, to brush
- 300 g (2 cups) plain flour
- 3½ tsp baking powder
- 2 tsp ground cinnamon
- ½ tsp ground cardamom
- 220 g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar
- 100 g hazelnut meal
- 60 g (⅔ cup) desiccated coconut
- 150 g butter, melted and cooled
- 3 eggs, lightly whisked
- 4 ripe medium bananas (about 200 g each), mashed
- 2 tsp natural vanilla extract or essence
- 165 g (¾ cup) caster sugar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) water
- 150 ml pouring cream
- 30 g butter, cubed
Cream cheese frosting
- 250 g cream cheese, cubed, at room temperature
- 80 g butter, cubed, at room temperature
- 1 tsp natural vanilla essence or extract
- 185 g (1½ cups) icing sugar
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Cooling time 1 hour
To make the cake layers, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Brush three shallow 20 cm round cake tins with melted butter and line the bases with non-stick baking paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom into a large bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, hazelnut meal and coconut and stir with a wooden spoon to combine, breaking up any lumps. Make a well in the centre. Use a fork to whisk together the butter, eggs, banana and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold together until just combined.
Divide the cake mixture evenly among the prepared cake tins, smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, swapping the tins around halfway through baking, until pale golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Stand the cakes in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.
Meanwhile, to make the caramel, combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and use a wooden spoon to stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Boil for about 10 minutes, brushing down the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar crystals, until the mixture turns a deep caramel. Remove immediately from the heat and carefully add the cream and butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined and the caramel is smooth. Brush a little of the hot caramel over the warm cakes.
Pour the caramel into a heatproof bowl or jug and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally, with the cakes (this will take about 1 hour).
Meanwhile to make the cream cheese frosting, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until well combined and creamy. With the mixer running, gradually beat in the icing sugar until well combined and smooth. Cover and set aside in a cool spot (but not in the fridge).
To assemble the cake, spread about ½ cup of the cream cheese frosting over the top of one of the cake layers. Top with another cake layer, another ½ cup frosting and the remaining cake layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting around the outside of the cake so that the cake layers show through. Spread the remaining frosting on top. Pour a generous amount of the caramel over the top of the cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Serve in wedges with the remaining caramel passed separately, if desired.
• This cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
Photography by Alan Benson. Styling by Anneka Manning. Food preparation by Tina McLeish.
Anneka's mission is to connect home cooks with the magic of baking, and through this, with those they love. For hands-on baking classes and baking tips, visit her at BakeClub. Don't miss what's coming out of her oven via Facebook,Twitter, Instagram and Pinterest.
This recipe is part of our Bakeproof: Caramel.