I am in a petulant mood today. You've been warned. I am all peach eye shadow and cranky scowls. I share a birthday with Christmas and as I am not Jesus or Santa the day is usually an afterthought or forgotten about entirely. Any of you out there with Christmas or New Year birthdays will understand how shitty this can be. Last years was forgotten about in the mad rush that was Christmas. I was given a hurried promise that we would have cake and dinner when everything quietened down. January has passed and now February it seems, so I think this is unlikely. I may not like my birthday but I can't help but feel a little cheated.
My mother, with some degree of irritation, has suggested on numerous occasions I just change my birthday. I shoot back that she should have kept her legs shut for 3 more weeks so I could come out in January like expected. Neither suggestion ever goes down well. One year I changed it to June 20th. All of a sudden I was an artistic, quick learning Gemini whose lucky colour was yellow and I was able to be 19 for six more months. This year I have chosen March 3rd. So it is a Pisces year. A quick google search tells me Pisces are "Imaginative, enjoy change and are emotionally sensitive but with a penchant for escapism, pessimism and laziness" (that all sounds about right i think...).
I hate the ideals embedded within the notion of age, that certain milestones should have been achieved by now or what milestones and panics should have set in, in a few years by the time I hit 30. But I do think it is important to celebrate life especially if you have ever found yourself wrestling with demons that make you think (probably somewhat) self indulgently, that you may not even survive your 20's.
When I speak of celebrating a birthday I am not talking about holding a raging party where you get shit faced (I hate parties) or about receiving tonnes of presents (I don't want more stuff) or well wishes on Facebook. I am talking about a candle in some cake, making a wish and a kiss on the cheek from some loved ones acknowledging they are glad that through all your failings, your personality faults and scars you have actually survived another year of life.
I have long believed that celebrations of any kind should always involve cake none more so than birthdays. That is where this five layered banana and salted butterscotch cake comes in. I baked it to shut down these petulant feelings. And if I have to bake my own cake to make people celebrate with me then so be it but goddamn it is going to be a big beautiful cake.
Dense and wholesome layers of banana cake layered with a simple honey and mascarpone cream drizzled with salted butterscotch. This cake is a grand cake to make a wish on. The idea for this cake came from one of my older Donna Hay magazines from under the bed. The cake is taken from Food52 Baking Book.
Banana & Honey Mascarpone Layer Cake with Salted Butterscotch
For the Cake:
- ½cup (110g) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 1 ½ cups (300g) granulated sugar
- 2 large eggs, separated
- 2 bananas, mashed
- 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon black strap rum (optional)
- ½ cup (120ml) buttermilk
- 1 ½ cups (210g) pastry flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ¼ teaspoon baking powder
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ cup (60g) chopped nuts (optional)
For the Filling:
- 1 cup / 250 ml thickened cream
- 250 g mascarpone
- ½ cup / 90 g honey
For the Frosting:
- 50g cream cheese
- 30g butter, softened
- ½ icing sugar, sifted
For the salted butterscotch:
- 1 cup (light packed) dark brown sugar
- 1 cup heavy cream
- ½ cup (1 stick) unsalted butter
- ¼ cup Scotch
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1½ teaspoons flaky sea salt
For the Cake:
- Heat the oven to 180°C/350° F.
- Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the egg yolks one at a time then add bananas, and butter milk, stirring well after each addition until combined.
- In a separate bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. Add the dry ingredients (and the nuts if using) to the wet ingredients and fold to combine.
- Beat the egg whites until soft peaks form, and fold into the batter.
- Butter and line two 6-inch cake pans, divide the batter evenly between the pans, and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until done. Turn out onto cooling racks and cool completely before slicing each cake in half to make four layers (one of my cakes was really tall for some reason so I was able to cut it into three layers)
For the mascarpone filling:
- In a large bowl using electric beaters, beat together the cream, mascarpone and honey together until stiff peaks form. Set aside until ready to use.
For the salted butterscotch:
- In a heavy bottom saucepan bring to a boil the cream, sugar, butter, vanilla and scotch stirring until sugar is dissolved. Reduce heat to low medium and cook stirring frequently until thickened. Add sea salt to taste and leave to cool to room temperature.
For the cream cheese frosting:
- In a medium sized bowl beat together the cream cheese and butter until fluffy. Add in the icing sugar and beat well until combined.
Place first cake layer, cut side up onto serving platter and pipe mascarpone filling starting at the centre and working your way out (leave a cm or two at the edge). Top with the second cake layer cut side facing down and repeat piping the mascarpone on top. Repeat with remaining cake layers. Leave the last layer bare. Place in the fridge to firm up for 20 minutes but no longer than 40 minutes.
Remove cake from the fridge and spread liberally with the cream cheese frosting to create a crumb coat/the naked cake effect. Set back in the fridge to firm up for another 20 minutes. Drizzle with the cooled butterscotch sauce and decorate as you please.