5.26.2013

Milk Bar’s Banana Layer Cake


05.10.13 
After a couple of posts leading up to the culminating “cake assembly”, it’s here! Most of the recipes in the Milk Bar cookbook require planning ahead with the preparation of different components before final assembly or baking. That “entirely from scratch” approach is, for me, what sets this cookbook apart from others.  


For the Banana Layer Cake, there’s the big picture of cake + layers of stuff, then the small picture of five recipes that make up the final product. If you have the cookbook or if you’ve been lucky enough to enjoy one of these cakes from Milk Bar, you’ll find that I substituted or omitted all the hazelnut components for other Milk Bar recipes. My brother’s nut allergies were the reason. (Oh, I know how banging the banana-hazelnut combination is!)
GIF numéro un: making the banana cake batter.

 
I waited until the bananas were super spotted, soft and fragrant so intense banana cake here I come! After having made this cake, I will tell you that being patient enough to wait for rrrrrripe bananas is the way to go. The ONLY way to go. :) 

This cake was meant for my mumsies for Mother’s Day so I didn’t want to make it overly sweet. Instead of replacing the hazelnut ganache with a chocolate one, I went for a more subtle alternative that’s used in Milk Bar’s Chocolate Chip Layer Cake, sprinkling chocolate chips on top of the cake batter before it hits the oven. 

Now time to get my other components ready! Banana cream is out of the fridge. Cornflake crunch is out as well. Now time for the coffee frosting! (Normally used in the Chocolate Chip Layer Cake). 


Coffee Frosting (from the Momofuku Milk Bar cookbook)
makes about 200 g (1 cup)
115 g
40 g
butter, at room temp
confectioners' sugar
8 tbsp
¼ cup
55 g
1.5 g
1 g
milk
instant coffee powder (Nescafé)
kosher salt
¼ cup
¾ tsp
¼ tsp

(below is the introduction to this recipe from the cookbook proceeded by the steps)
Do not make this recipe until you are ready to assemble the chocolate chip cake (in my case banana cake). Once it is cold, coffee frosting is hell to bring back up to room temp. It will separate on you, and you will spend the same amount of time trying to force the coffee milk back into the butter mixture.

 
*The key thing to remember when whipping it up is that it’s all about being patient. Just as mentioned multiple times throughout the cookbook, “you are essentially forcing liquid into fat, so be patient.” With lots of coaxing, scraping down of the bowl and time, it worked!

GIF numéro deux comin’ right up! This is a super truncated series of photos depicting the coming together of my coffee frosting. It took probably around 10 minutes of mixing for the final “wildly fluffy coffee frosting” to form. 

1. Combine the butter and confectioners’ sugar in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment and cream together on medium-high for 2 to 3 minutes, until fluffy and pale yellow.

2. Meanwhile, make a quick coffee milk: whisk together the milk, instant coffee, and salt in a small bowl.

3. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a spatula. On low speed, gradually stream in the coffee milk. You are essentially forcing liquid into fat, so be patient. The butter mixture will clump and separate upon contact with the coffee milk. Do not stream more coffee milk into the butter mixture until the previous addition is fully incorporated; keep the mixer on and remain patient. The result will be a wildly fluffy coffee frosting, pale brown and super-shiny. Use immediately. 


My work station. I'm all ready to go!


About a day and a half from when I started, I was finally ready to assemble the cake! To form Milk Bar’s signature naked 6-inch cakes, you should be using a 6-inch cake ring and 2 x 20 inch acetate strips.


Since I had neither, I used the ring from a 6-inch springform pan and parchment paper. It was a struggle and not a pretty one but nonetheless, I slipped the cake into the fridge to chill, crossed my fingers and hoped for the best. 
 

And this is how it turned out! Happy Mother’s Day mumsies! Definitely a change-up from last year’s cake but she was game. Next time, I’d really like to follow the recipe completely with all the hazelnut components because the cornflake crunch got sorta mushy after spending so much time sandwiched between the banana cream and the coffee frosting.


I brought about a quarter of the cake to practice and watched it being passed around my teammates, disappearing forkfuls at a time and I was happy camper! ^_^ 
Milk Bar cakes take time to make and then more time waiting before you can eat it. So I shall end off with this quote from the best trilogy of all time: Patience my love....

4.5 out of 5 NOMs
nomnomnomnom


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