Okay, so I am playing a bit of catch up since my son's 1st birthday (on August 15th) which was also my aunt's birthday as well. As such, I spent that whole week before baking two cakes, my son's cake, pictured above, is the one I will post now, and I will post about my aunt's cake later. By the way, this tasted amazing, and they all were amazed I baked and decorated it myself.
...And I will add if you do not know what the theme of this cake is... it's the '1 up' mushroom from Super Mario, complete with coins around the sides. I figured this fit, what with him being 1 up and all ;)
The Banana Cake:
I made three batches of this cake in a square silicone cake pan, I think it is about 8 x 8, but I am not going to go measure it, I am sure it would turn out in any pan. Each layer turned out only to be about an inch or two high, and the cake was more impressive with three layers, however if you do not want that much cake then just prepare the amount of cake you want.
This cake freezes well, and I froze each layer after removing the edges and skimming the bottoms off the cakes, to remove that harder, flour-y layer. I wrapped each (cooled) cake layer in plastic wrap, then put in large freezer bags and sucked the air out with a straw, like a vaccum seal, sort of (thanks to Kendra at New Life On A Homestead for the straw tip!) The cake is easier to ice and decorate when frozen too, as a bonus.
3/4 cup of unsalted butter
3/4 cup of brown sugar
2 lage eggs
3 tbsp yoghurt
3 large banana, mashed
1 cup self raising flour, sifted (after doing the recipe, I recommend the tip below instead of self raising flour)
If you are using plain flour, use 8 oz plain/cake flour with 1tsp baking powder and 1tsp baking soda
1, Preheat oven to 160 degrees celcius (the original says 180, but you have to watch because my first layer got a bit dark, and the first baby cupcake was burnt crispy)
2. Cream butter & sugar till light and fluffy
3. Add eggs, one at a time and beat well
4. Add yoghurt and banana mix till well blend
5. Fold in flour to mixture and pour into a greased baking pan
6. Bake at 160C for 40 min - 1 hr or till golden brown and skewer comes out clean
Original of this recipe comes from here:
Quick and Easy Treats From Zu's Kitchen
Caramel Buttercream Frosting
For the three layers of cake I had, a double batch of this was just about perfect.
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/3 cup caramel topping (look for ice cream sundae topping stuff)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 (16 oz.) package of powdered sugar (2 cups, and sifting is a good idea for the best frosting)
1 - 3 Tbsp. milk (2 was perfect for me)
Beat the first four ingredients together at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.
Gradually add powdered sugar alternately with 1 tbsp milk, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition. Beat in extra milk if needed to achieve the right consistency.
Original recipe for frosting found here: My Recipes
*** If you are not freezing your layers of cake, or are afraid of that crumby crust, take a small amount of your finished frosting and 'water' it down a bit with milk, and use to do a crumb coat before frosting outer cake. Let your crumb coat set, or better yet, give it 10 - 15 min in the freezer before applying your outer layer of frosting.
Use a hot, but dry spatula or cake knife to smooth icing. Heat it by sticking it in a glass or pot of hot to boiling water, then wipe dry with a cloth or paper towel, being careful not to leave 'fuzzies'.
To make the mushroom or something similar for the top of your cake, draw or print a template picture and outline with heavy black marker. Lay out a piece of parchment paper on top of your template, then use slightly cooled chocolate melts in a piping bag, or a sandwich bag with a tiny hole cut in the bottom corner to trace and fill your design, allowing time for each colour to cool between. Be cautious using the fridge for the chocolate, as it is temperamental and can discolour. Chocolate melts help, not being real chocolate, but the darker colours may still change if cooled wrong. Be very careful in removing your image, and avoid picking delicate designs, or else you will want to switch to royal icing, and I am not an expert at that.