No matter how many baking books you have, there is always room for another one on the shelf – especially when it’s as beautiful as “Melie’s Kitchen” by Amelia Ferrier. With zero boring recipes, it features original flavour combinations and has fantastic step-by-step pages that teach you how to replicate her elaborate creations.
If you’re in the mood for baking this weekend, we’ve been lucky enough to be able to feature the below recipe for Amelia’s incredible Banoffee, Hazelnut and Frangelico Cake. Would love to see any attempts if you post them to Instagram – tag us @hadlowgirls
“This cake, which combines various elements of my childhood favourite, banoffee pie, is definitely one of my bestsellers. This recipe is truly tried and tested — I have probably made it over 40 times, between cake orders and friends’ birthdays! I love using dulce de leche in this cake, as it has such a unique texture and consistency, and I find it isn’t as rich and buttery as normal caramel sauce. I also like to sprinkle a generous amount of chopped, toasted hazelnuts between the layers to complement the Frangelico in the ganache.” – Amelia Ferrier
For the banana cakes:
- 2½ cups self-raising flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 4 large ripe bananas, peeled
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 cup vegetable or canola oil
- 4 eggs, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
For the chocolate and Frangelico ganache:
- 200g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- 100g butter, softened
- ¼ cup cream
- 2–3 tablespoons Frangelico or any hazelnut liqueur
To assemble and decorate:
- 2 quantities of Cream Cheese Icing (see bottom of page)
- 1 quantity of Plain Cookie Crumbs (see bottom of page)
- 350g dulce de leche or tinned caramel
- 70g hazelnuts, toasted and roughly chopped
- 50g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- edible flowers to decorate (optional)
Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease two 20cm round cake tins and line the bases and sides with baking paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, stir together the self-raising flour and baking soda. Set aside.
Using a potato masher, thoroughly mash the bananas in a large bowl. Add the flour mixture, sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla.
Using electric beaters, whisk until combined and a smooth batter is formed. Divide the batter between the prepared cake tins and spread out evenly. Tap the tins lightly against the bench to level out the batter.
Bake in the oven for 35–40 minutes, or until golden on top and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Remove the cakes from the oven and set aside in the tins for about 10 minutes. Carefully turn out and peel away the baking paper. Cover with a tea towel or cling film and set aside to cool completely.
To make the chocolate and Frangelico ganache, put the chocolate into a heatproof bowl over a pot of simmering water and heat gently, stirring every so often, until smooth, glossy and melted. Remove from the heat and, using electric beaters, beat in the butter until fully combined. Add the cream and liqueur and beat until combined. Taste it as you go and, if wished, add more liqueur to taste. Put about 2 tablespoons of ganache into a small bowl. Cover both bowls with cling film and set aside until ready to use.
Slice the domed top off each cake if necessary to create a flat surface, then slice each cake in half lengthways to form four even layers.
To assemble the cake, place a cake layer onto a flat serving plate or stand. Fill a piping bag fitted with a 1cm circle tip with the cream cheese icing. Pipe a ring of icing around the top of the cake layer, about 2cm in from the edge. Pipe about 4 tablespoons of the icing into the centre of the layer and spread out evenly within the icing ring. Spoon over about a third of the larger quantity of ganache and spread out evenly within the icing ring. Evenly spread over a third of the dulce de leche or caramel within the icing ring. Sprinkle about a quarter of the cookie crumbs evenly over the top, then sprinkle over a quarter of the hazelnuts. Place the second cake layer on top and repeat the same icing and filling steps as above, taking care not to press down too hard. Place the third cake layer on top and repeat the same steps. Place the final cake layer on top and press down very lightly so that it is flat on top.
Ice the outside of the cake with a very thin layer to seal in the crumbs. Refrigerate for about 20 minutes to set the icing – this makes it sturdier and easier to decorate. Remove the cake from the fridge and ice the outside with a thick layer of cream cheese icing so you can’t see the cake underneath. Pat the remaining cookie crumbs around the bottom of the cake. Set aside.
To decorate, melt the chocolate and decorate the top outside edge of the cake with chocolate drips. If the chocolate is too thick to work with easily, microwave on low for 10-second intervals, stirring after each time, until it is of a dripping consistency. Place the cake back in the fridge to allow the chocolate drips to set.
Pipe the remaining icing in three rings of dollops around the top of the cake, filling in any gaps as you go. Spoon the smaller quantity of ganache into the middle and spread it out in a spiral motion to create a swirl. Sprinkle any leftover hazelnuts and cookie crumbs in a circle where the ganache meets the icing. Decorate with edible flowers, if desired.
Store in an airtight container at room temperature. This is best eaten the day it is made, or, if keeping overnight, store in an airtight container in the fridge, allowing about 20 minutes to soften at room temperature before serving.
Cream Cheese Icing
- 100g butter, softened
- 2 cups icing sugar
- ½ teaspoon vanilla extract or paste
- Pinch of salt
- 125g cream cheese
Put the butter, icing sugar, vanilla and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, beat on a high speed for about 4 minutes, until light and pale. Add the cream cheese and beat on a medium-high speed for about 3–5 minutes, until light and ﬂuffy. Cover with cling ﬁlm until ready to use.
Plain Cookie Crumbs
- 80g butter, softened
- % cup caster sugar
- ½ cup + 2 tablespoons self-raising ﬂour
- Pinch of salt
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a slice tin or baking tray and line with baking paper. Set aside.
In a medium bowl, use electric beaters to cream together the butter and sugar until light and ﬂuffy. Add the ﬂour and salt, and beat until just combined. Crumble onto the prepared tin or tray.
Bake for about 18–25 minutes, or until deep golden brown. Do not under-bake or it won’t crumble properly and will have more of a chewy texture. Remove from the oven and leave to cool.
Break up into pieces and put into a snap-lock bag. Seal the bag and, using a rolling pin, break up into crumbs. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to a week.
Reproduced with permission from Melie’s Kitchen, by Amelia Ferrier. Published Random House (NZ). RRP $40.00. Text © Amelia Ferrier, 2016. Photographs © Tam West, 2016.