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Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cake and Caramel Corkscrews

I call this cake "revisited" although it is not entirely exact, but I could not think of a better way to say it. I made this cake for the first time last year, posted this pretty picture and promised to write down the recipe on this blog and never did. I have received many requests for it over the past few weeks months so I finally got my act together and wrote it down. Sorry for those who emailed about it six months ago…I keep being distracted by more pastries and desserts every day! The cake is adapted from Marcel Desnaulniers, sinfully rich and absolutely decadent.

I have also received many requests to post the how-to’s of making the caramel corkscrews I used for the Espresso Chocolate Trios and the Chocolate Crepe Cake. I hope the explanations and drawing at the end of this post will unleash the caramel playing gene in you. Just take your time, be patient and the good thing is that even if you mess up, you can still it it!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Cake, adapted from Marcel Desnaulniers


2 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp.salt
3-4 medium ripe banana,peeled and diced
1 cups sugar
2 large eggs
1/2 cup boiling water
1/2 cup dark rum
1 cup unsalted peanuts for the garnish (optional)

Chocolate Peanut Butter Icing:
1 3/4 cup smooth peanut butter
1/2 cup powdered sugar
4 oz semisweet chocolate, melted

Chocolate Ganache:
12 oz. semisweet chocolate
4 oz. unsweetened chocolate
2 cups heavy cream
2 Tb. sugar

Preheat the oven to 325F. Lightly butter 3 9 inch round pans and line them with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the banana pieces at medium speed, until just incorporated. Add the sifted dry ingredients, mix well. Add the boiling water on low speed. Once incorporated, add the rum, also on low speed. Run a rubber spatula around the side and bottom of the mixer to make sure that all the ingredients are well incorporated.
Divide the batter among the prepared pans and bake 25-30minutes, rotating the pans if necessary. Let them cool to room temperature. Invert the cakes and peel of the parchment paper.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the peanut butter and powdered sugar together,and beat for about 4 minutes at high speed until very smooth. Add the melted chocolate and beat on medium high for about 1 minute. Leave at room temperature.

Spread 1/2 cup of the icing over one of the cake layers. Top with another cake layer ad another 1/2cup icing. Place the final cake layer on top. Spread the remaining icing on top of that last layer and down the side of the entire cake. Refrigerate for several hours or until the icing is firm to the touch.

Meanwhile,prepare the ganache: place both chocolates in a large bowl.Heat the cream with the sugar until boiling.Pour it over the chocolates,let stand for 2-5minutes, then stir with a whisk until completely smooth.

Remove the cake from the refrigerator,place the cake on a grid over a parchment paper line baking sheet. Ladle the ganache over the top of the iced cake. Use a cake spatula to spread a smooth coating of ganache over the top and sides of the cake. Refrigerate the cake 20-30minutes until the ganache is firm. Scrape the ganache that has fallen on the parchment paper and fill a pastry bag fitted with a star tip with it.
If you wish to decorated the cake with the peanuts, save about a dozen for the top of the cake, chop the rest coarsely and press them on the sides of the cake. Use the reserved ganache to pipe swirlies on top of the cake.

Caramel Corkscrews:

Picture taken from Bo Friberg, The Professional Pastry Chef

Start with a basic 2 step dry-method caramel:
Over medium high heat, melt 1/2 cup of sugar in a heavy bottom saucepan until golden brown. Immediately add another 1/2 cup of sugar and stir untill all the sugar mixes and melt and becomes dark golden brown. In this particular method,it is ok to stir the sugar,but with a wooden spoon and very slowly. It goes from a semi-liquid golden to a dark brown caramel. It will coagulate but becomes smoother as it melts. This method is very convenient for reheating as you need when your working caramel becomes too stiff, without adding any more color. Remove from the heat and let it cool to a consistency of thick glue. Too thin and it will make pretty strands, too thick and you can play with pulled sugar.

For the corkscrews, I lightly oiled a metal skewer, held it in my left hand (I am right handed),I dipped a wooden spoon into the hot caramel with the other hand and twirled the caramel around the metal skewer, starting from part closer to my wrist and twirled my way up the skewer. Let it dry a minute and let it slide off onto a lightly oiled parchment paper lined baking sheet. Make sure the caramel is thick enough to play with. One easy cooling method is to put your pan into a larger one filled with ice as soon as your caramel has taken on the right color on the stove. If it gets too thick, simply reheat on low for a minute. Oh, and have scissors near by in case those caramel strands start taking on a life of their own!

Last but not least, I want to share with you a cool event that Kristen from Dine and Dish started about a month ago. She asked for volunteers veteran bloggers to adopt new bloggers. I remembered how strange and weird it was to start blogging. Finding your voice, your style, deciding on how much of your privacy to give, getting comfortable. I needed help with the basic styling, the basic editing, the basic everything (but now I have a computer Guru!).
I read and read "blogging 101", scratched my forehead and pulled my hair….not really but close. I really found my groove last year and I thought that Kristen’s event was a great way to help new bloggers find their skin or to simply give them a virtual high five for pursuing their dreams.

So, after this long paragraph, let me introduce you to Dana who writes Proof Of The Pudding and Evelin who is the voice behind Bounteous Bites, and I could not be happier to adopt them.
I "met" Dana in November when I stumbled upon her wonderful pear cake that I have made so many times since then, changing the fruits, extracts,…. everybody should have a base cake like this one!
I discovered Evelin through her 2007 blogging recap and started reading through her archives days before Kristen mentioned not having enough veterans for a few bloggers. I volunteered to take adopt another one (what I would do for cake?!!) and when I read it was Evelin, I was tickled pink. Karma/Fate is pretty powerful wouldn’t you say?!…or Kristen has psychic powers to have matched me with Dana and Evelin!
Tonight I am actually wondering how to dunk Dana’s bagels into Evelin pear and fennel soup

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JEP January 12, 2008 um 10:44 pm

This peanut butter cake sounds absolutely delicious!

glamah16 January 12, 2008 um 11:08 pm

Ahha! So that’s how you did that. Wow.

MyKitchenInHalfCups January 12, 2008 um 11:11 pm

Like I told Lynn with her PB&J Cookies, I really don’t need this Helen! Now I have a totally towering craving for peanut butter in all forms.
Cool with the corkscrews!

Anonymous January 13, 2008 um 2:02 am

This is my first time visiting your blog and what a wonderful recipe to start with!!! It’s like a Reese’s cake version and it looks absolutely delicious!


Peabody January 13, 2008 um 2:46 am

Marcel is my biggest inspiration…I love him. I have made this cake before and love it too!!!

Anonymous January 13, 2008 um 3:25 am

That is one gorgeous cake!

BTW – You are the model Adopt a Blogger, blogger. Thanks for all you do 🙂

Anonymous January 13, 2008 um 4:44 am

That cake looks too decadent to be true!

cookworm January 13, 2008 um 5:15 am

Many thanks for this tutorial (and that slobber-inducing cake)…I’ve been wondering how you did those amazing corkscrews. Will they last very long once made? I can’t wait to try them out.

Helene January 13, 2008 um 5:22 am

Cookworm: that really depends on where you live. Here at home with the humidity I can’t keep them longer than a day or two. Even in the restaurant kitchen, they start to sweat after 2 days.

Anonymous January 13, 2008 um 7:04 am

uauuu, superbe gâteau!

Anonymous January 13, 2008 um 7:47 am

Oh, I shouldn’t look at this glorious temptation on a sunday, my weakest day of WILL!!

eatme_delicious January 13, 2008 um 8:04 am

Your cake is beautiful!

Katie January 13, 2008 um 9:27 am

The cake looks divine. I love all three of those flavours but never thought of making a peanut butter and banana cake. I intend to try this. You always present things so beautifully.

Anonymous January 13, 2008 um 11:44 am

That looks incredible, and not too complicated either.

Good use of Bananas

Evelin January 13, 2008 um 2:10 pm

As for the cake, you’ve totally got me. Anything with peanut butter for me! The combo with banana is delicious, of course:) You made me hungry for cookies I made some time ago that were so peanut buttery, that I was impressed they even were cookies!

The caramel corkscrews look so easy on the picture! I’ve tried caramel 'gymnastics' for a few times, but these times have been awful failures…well, thanks for motivation:)

And thank you for all the kind words. Want to hear about some more fate? I hadn’t noticed that the blogs had already been divided for the event until I saw the banner on your site 3 days later. And what did I think? 'She could be my step-parent!' Although my name had got lost at first, I still ended up as your adoptee. Now that’s sweet!:)

Brilynn January 13, 2008 um 3:42 pm

Everyday I visit and while scrolling through the pictures I can usually pick out, (or at least I try to guess) which bloggers made what dishes. I can always guess yours correctly because they’re always stunning!

Anonymous January 13, 2008 um 4:36 pm

I too am a PROFESSIONAL PASTRY CHEF. Of course I graduated from Peter Kump’s Culinary Institute in Brooklyn, New York, with a Master’s certification.

When my BF, "Big Bear" goes on his next fishing trip in the Florida swamps (behind the trailer park) I am going to try this wonderful recipe.

Big Bear (also known as the "MANAGER") weighs 437 pounds so he doesn’t need any peanut butter cake, if you know what I mean. Besides he prefers pretzels (soaked in beer to soften them since he has lost most of his teeth) with his Bud.

Thanks for the recipe.

Deborah January 13, 2008 um 5:19 pm

Thanks for the tips on the caramel corkscrews – I would like to be daring enough one of these days to try something like that!

Amanda at Little Foodies January 13, 2008 um 7:05 pm

This will be the year that I master hot sugar!

Off to check out your adopted bloggers. Such a good idea as it is really daunting when you first start. I still sometimes don’t comment on blogs, because I feel like I shouldn’t, or that I’m not worthy enough to. I need to get out more!

lululu January 13, 2008 um 7:41 pm

This cake just looks too elegant to be real!!!1

Suzana January 13, 2008 um 8:32 pm

Oh dear. That cake looks SO delicious – and I’m not crazy about peanut butter. Loved the corkscrews!

Anonymous January 13, 2008 um 8:52 pm

This looks absolutely delectable!

I am also happy to hear you’ve adopted two food blogger newbies, well done!

Truffle January 14, 2008 um 7:40 am

Can I just say your recent recipes have been absolutely sensational? Not that it’s surprising given your extraordinary posts Helen but I’m doing some serious bookmarking because I need some of your sweet treats in my house very, very soon!

Anonymous January 14, 2008 um 10:03 am

so so so so sorry! i went to both dana and evelin sites and couldn’t locate the pear cake recipe u mentioned.. was hoping it was a charlotte au poire!

can i double check with u which site it is on?

Patricia Scarpin January 14, 2008 um 12:43 pm

Everything you make is amazing, Helen – but I especially love when you start your banana phase… 😉

Veron January 14, 2008 um 2:38 pm

Hmmn… I might attempt the dry method of caramel soon… and maybe the corkscrews. For now I shall feast my eyes on that delicious looking chocolate peanut butter banana cake!

Katy January 14, 2008 um 3:21 pm

Caramel corkscrews sound amazing. The way I read the recipe, you just heat the sugar without any liquid until it melts, correct? I’ve never made caramel before so I don’t have anything to compare it to. 🙂 They look so beautiful, though, I have a feeling it will take quite a bit of practice to get them right…

Anonymous January 14, 2008 um 4:35 pm

tartlette, i found the pear recipe on dana’s site 🙂

seems interesting, will still be on the hunt for the charlotte au poire with raspberry sauce!


Helene January 14, 2008 um 5:09 pm

PinkConfetti: I emailed you earlier this morning.

Katy: yes, no water. It requires that you watch it very closely but it also prevents crystalization. The decorations are also a little bit more humidity resistant.

Julie January 14, 2008 um 5:37 pm

This cake has the greatest flavor combination going on! At my house, there’s pretty much nothing that trumps chocolate and PB. I just want that PB icing on something…anything:)

Bev and Ollie "O" January 14, 2008 um 6:11 pm

wow that looks so good! chocolate AND peanut butter!!!!!! yummyyummyyummy!

african vanielje January 15, 2008 um 12:09 am

I love the adopt a blogger thing, and I totally get the 'adjustment' thing, but one thing I’ve just got to know. Are you (and everone you know and feed all your fabulous creations to )in imminent danger of ODing on sugar, because how do you ever stop eating until the entire cake / batch / loaf is gone? I mean, how could you not just keep going until you’ve licked the plate clean?

Aimée January 15, 2008 um 1:38 am

That’s really sweet of you to adopt a blogger. I could have used a helping hand along the way, that’s for sure! They are fortunate to have you as their mentor.

test it comm January 15, 2008 um 1:49 am

So many great things rolled up into one cake! It looks amazing!

Mallow January 15, 2008 um 2:06 am

Yummmm… how can you cram so many good things into one cake?

Emma Nowell January 15, 2008 um 3:17 am

The cake sounds yummy I have had an idea like this floating around my head for a while now… peanut butter and chocolate combines so nicely. I like the idea of adopting new bloggers. Being one myself I think the advice would come in very handy… unfortunately I saw the post too late!

Chris January 15, 2008 um 3:19 am

Wow…this is heaven on a plate!

Emma Nowell January 15, 2008 um 4:17 am

thanks so much for your comment on my blog… I have been looking at blogs for quite a while with plans to start my own for almost equally as long…. It seems so easy until it’s your own… and then sometimes hard to know where to start… I already feel like I’m adjusting if just a little bit. Having lots of fun though!

ambrosia ananas January 15, 2008 um 4:35 pm

Mmmm. That looks so good.

Jaime January 16, 2008 um 3:28 am

those caramel corkscrews are so cool!

PG January 16, 2008 um 9:32 pm

This looks like a great cake to attempt for a special occasion.

Susan from Food Blogga January 17, 2008 um 12:34 am

I had a chocolate, pb, and banana wrap for breakfast yesterday! Cake would be better though.

The Short (dis)Order Cook January 18, 2008 um 3:50 pm

That cake looks fantastic. I love the combo of chocoate and banana, and pb and banana, and pb and chocolate, so all three together is just perfect. I’ve been looking for ideas for a cake for my mother-in-law’s birthday and this is in the running now (even though my husband doesn’t like bananas).

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