Saturday, 24 March 2012

coffee and banana triple layer cake

making the decision to hand over your spare front door key to a friend or neighbour is one of those decisions that should not be taken lightly... on the one hand it's the ultimate in trust... with this gesture it gives them access to your private space, the place where you come to that is truly yours... your home... your heart... your family... it's not just about watering the plants or picking up the post... or even being there when you stumble home drunk, late at night and you've dropped your keys down a drain... what...?

... no... this is so much more... it's knowing that they will be there for you when you've stupidly left the oven on... or they'll start a fire for you when they know you're coming home from London and the house is cold... or they'll make sure the dog is kept company when you're stuck somewhere and won't be back late...

... when we moved in to Belleau Cottage nearly 10 years ago I had no hesitation handing my keys over to Tracey... i didn't know her from Adam but it felt not only like the right thing to do but the only thing that made sense... this person would take care of my sacred place...

... of course it goes both ways... many a morning i've received a text from Tracey asking me to hang the washing that's still in the machine onto the line... it's not every neighbour who doesn't mind hanging someone else's husbands pants out!

Coffee and Banana Triple Layer Cake
its Tracey's birthday on Sunday so i'm spoiling her with cake... and i've been sent some rather wonderful Coffee Extract from a lovely company called Little Pod who specialise in responsibly sourced, high quality vanilla and chocolate products... the Coffee Extract is a new product from them so the details are not on the website yet but should be by the end of next week... I always worry about using extracts and flavourings like this as many can have that dreaded aftertaste that lingers but so charmed by them and their glorious product that I feel very happy sharing how excellent it is with you...

... as you can see the cake has come out quite dense but this is the banana in the sponge mix, plus I think a little better mixing of the batter on my behalf would have helped... it tastes bloody amazing so i'm not so bothered but I guess it goes to show that i'm not quite as perfect as I generally like you to think I am!

for the cake batter
12oz butter
12oz plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
2 bananas - mashed
400g caster sugar
6 eggs separated
3 tsp Little Pod Coffee Extract (you could use an espresso cup of fresh coffee)
150ml milk

for the mascarpone icing
225g cream cheese
225g mascarpone
icing sugar to taste
225ml double cream
4 tsp Little Pod Coffee Extract (you could use an espresso cup of fresh coffee)
1 banana - finely sliced

- pre-heat the oven to 180C or 160C fan

- butter and line 3 x 20cm round cake tins

- with a very large bowl and a hand-held double whisk, cream the butter and 300g of the sugar until pale and fluffy

- add the egg yolks one at a time gently whisking until combined, then add the mashed banana and the  coffee extract and whisk again

- weigh the flour and add the baking powder and then sift one third into the batter and whisk, then half the milk and whisk.  Continue in this fashion until the flour and milk have gone

- in a separate bowl whisk the egg whites until soft peaks then add the remaining sugar and whisk again till firm glossy peaks appear, gently fold this into the cake batter

- divide between the three cake tins and bake for 35 mins until golden and a knife or skewer comes out clean, set aside until completely cool

- to make the icing simply whisk the two cream cheeses together with a table spoon of icing sugar... don't go too heavy on the icing sugar... and then add the cream and coffee extract and whisk until firm

- place the bottom cake layer on your cake stand or plate and spread a layer of icing onto it, then add a single layer of thinly sliced bananas, repeat with the second layer.  Place the third layer on top and ice the entire cake liberally with the remaining icing...

i'd like to take a moment to thank Ruth from The Pink Whisk, Choclette from Chocolate Log Blog and Karen from Lavender and Lovage plus a host of nubile tweet friends for offering me recipes for this... I kind of combined a few!


  1. Tracey is one lucky lady being presented with such a cracking cake Dom!

  2. Ooh now coffee extract that is GOOD sounds a really great idea. I love coffee cakes, but I'm not an espresso drinker, so seldom have strong coffee in the house, and making up instant so it's extra strong isn't the same. Sounds good, may have to look into this one!

  3. This looks gorgeous...layer cakes also look impressive! I wouldn't have thought of coffee and banana but it sounds delicious! :-)

  4. I love the sentiment - it's great to live near people you trust so much in this day and age. I wish I had more occasions to bake layer cakes for - they always look spectacular.

  5. OMG this is the cake I was thinking about this morning!That's sound yummy!

  6. The cake is beautiful!! You've found a great neighbor there, and wow, you'll hang out the wash too?!?! Can I be your neighbor please!?!? You're a great friend to make such a delightful cake for your friend.

  7. The cake is stunning, and I'm salivating for a slice! OMG, what a lucky girl! Actually, the two of you are very lucky! It's nice to have wonderful neighbors! I will be making this . . . once I do the conversions! LOL!!! I just love the idea of these combinations! Yum, yum, yum!

  8. Now that looks like a great lump of magnificent gentry as far as cakes go! Not one, not two but three layers of decadence. Let them eat cake.

  9. This is the said neighbour speaking.......I completely agree with Dominic, the cake tastes beautiful (part of my 5 a day), I daren't say any other (he has my key and may rob me blind!). On a more serious note it tastes gorgeous and he is also a fantastic neighbour (they both are), not a bit of bother and I love them dearly! xx

  10. It looks great ! Normally use a little espresso or Camp (retro!) for coffee cake - how does the extract compare?

  11. This looks sooooo delicious - yum!

  12. It looks gorgeous, and I love the balance of the three layers. It look's really special, and Tracey is one lucky lady! :)

  13. Well, isn't Tracey the lucky one to be your neighbor! I want to be your neighbor too! This cake has my mouth watering because it looks divine! You are a great neighbor!!!!

  14. This cake looks completely amazing. You are a complete flipping genius with cakes. I am going to check out Little Pod. I am mildly obsessed with good vanilla, chocolate, and coffee.

  15. Lucky Tracey and lucky you for having a trustworthy friend like Tracey. What a great looking cake.

  16. I wish I was your neighbour!! This cakes looks fab. Happy Birthday to Tracey : )

  17. Sweetheart, you are perfect. Now can you come and move next door to me? Please?

  18. What a fabulous cake but then its obviously for a special lady's and a special relationship.
    That's what neighbours should be like....

    By the way...It's 'Meet your Neighbour Day' here in Melbourne. The intention is to knock the door of your neighbour to say hi, especially if you don't know reading your post today (I know I'm late) is quite fitting!
    I had a chat with the one neighbour that I didn't know and came home with a huge bag of beautiful apples from her tree! ;D

  19. Hey Neesie, said neighbour here again. My daughter is about to fly back to England from Melbourne getting back here on the 27th. She has been in Wangaratta with her husband for 6 months (he has been playing cricket for Greta South). Small world ! xx

  20. This looks super amazing Dom. Tracey will be bowled over I'm sure. Anyway, dense cakes are the best I reckon - far more satisfying than light as air creations. Seems as though you are very lucky in your neighbour AND vise versa.

  21. That looks like a proper American bakery style cake. Fantastic. Lucky Tracey!

  22. What a superb cake. We moved into our house 25 years ago and the neighbours on both sides have been here longer. It's fabulous to have people I can completely trust. Tracey must be delighted to have you as her neighbour.

  23. Gorgeous cake for a well deserving neighbour! My best neighbour moved away last year. Sadly, I don't know anyone else on my street that I would trust with a spare key. I would move next door to you if I get cakes like this :) I'm sure Tracey enjoyed it - please send her best birthday wishes.

  24. I'd hang out the washing for you AND hoover the carpets if I could get a cake like that...

  25. Mmmmm! What a cake ... and you KNOW I love a beautiful cake! Tracey has got it good! A neighbor that hangs the wash on occasion AND bakes her cakes! Sounds like a nice little neighborhood you guys have got goin' on! Hope the birthday celebration was chipper!

  26. I still reckon you're pretty perfect. If only you lived next door to me and I could get you to hang out my washing...

  27. It is a joy to have a good neighbour. We have some very good neighbours and, sadly, one not so good. It's lovely to see you celebrating your neighbour and her husband's pants #smuttysunday ;-)

  28. Name one person who wouldn't want to have this cake as their birthday cake. It's gorgeous! I love the height of three layer cakes too. I think this frosting should be your signature frosting.

  29. A good neighbour is a joy to behold......and that cake is a fabulous way to say Happy Birthday and Thank You!

  30. I'm jealous of your relationship with your neighbor - I don't think I've ever had a neighbor like that. Friends, yes, neighbors, no :( And the cake is fantastic, even if a bit dense - besides, perfection is boring ;)

  31. A good neighbor is hard to find and should definitely be cherished! This is a great way to help celebrate her birthday!!

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