hazelnut banana wedding cake

Hazelnut & Banana Cake
100 grams hazelnuts, roasted, skinned and ground
250 grams butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 tsp vanilla essence
6 eggs, at room temperature
5 large bananas, mashed
2 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp milk
3 1/2 cups self raising flour

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit / 180 Celsius. Grease 2 x 9 inch pans with butter and line the bottoms with baking paper.

Beat the butter, sugar and vanilla in a mixing bowl until light and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, beating slightly after each addition. Add in the mashed banana and mix until combined. Fold in the flour, ground hazelnuts, baking soda and milk and mix until just incorporated.

Divide the batter evenly between the two baking pans and bake for approximately 35 minutes or until the cake pulls away slightly from the edge of the pan and a skewer comes out clean.

Cool the cakes on a wire rack. You might need to cut the tops off before icing if they aren’t flat.

Use the passionfruit curd between the layers and on the top of the cake, and the hazelnut buttercream frosting for the side of the cake (see recipes below).

Hazelnut Buttercream Frosting
1 cup icing sugar
3 large egg whites
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 tbsp hazelnut praline paste (see below)
125 grams unsalted butter, cut into tablespoons, at room temperature

Whisk the icing sugar, egg whites and salt in a heatproof bowl. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and whisk gently until the sugar is completely dissolved, approximately 5 minutes.

Transfer the warm mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the whisk. Add the vanilla and beat at medium-high speed until stiff and glossy, about 8 minutes. Beat in the butter a few pieces at a time, making sure it is fully incorporated before adding more.

Beat in the hazelnut-praline paste until fully incorporated, scraping down the side and bottom of the bowl.

Remove the bowl from the mixer and beat with a wooden spoon to remove any air bubbles.

Note: you might need to mix in additional icing sugar if the frosting is too runny. You can also add in extra hazelnut praline paste for a stronger flavor.

Hazelnut Praline Paste
125 grams roasted and skinned hazelnuts
125 grams sugar
25 ml water

Place the sugar and water into a pan and heat gently over medium heat. Once the sugar is dissolved, try not the stir the mixture, to prevent the sugar crystallizing. When the sugar is a golden brown color, stir the hazelnuts through and spread the mixture onto a covered baking sheet. Let the praline cool for at least one hour, or until it has hardened completely.

Break the mixture into small pieces and grind in a food processor to form crumbs. Continue processing the crumbs until a paste forms. This will take a few minutes, but you will probably need to rest the machine every minute to prevent overheating.

This will make more than you need for the icing, but it’s great to eat the leftovers on toast, in other desserts or anything else you would usually eat with peanut butter!

Passionfruit Curd
From Momofuku Milk Bar Cookbook
1/2 cup passion fruit puree
1/3 cup cup white sugar
2 large eggs
1 gelatin sheet
12 tbsp unsalted butter, chilled
1/2 tsp kosher salt

Blend the passion fruit puree and sugar until the sugar has dissolved. Add the eggs and blend on low speed until you have a bright-orange-yellow mixture. Transfer the contents of the blender to a medium saucepan. Clean the blender canister.

Soak the gelatin sheet in cold water for a couple of minutes, until ready to use.

Heat the passion fruit mixture over low heat, whisking regularly. As it heats up, it will begin to thicken. Once it boils, remove it from the stove and transfer it back to the blender. Add the bloomed gelatin, butter, and salt and blend until the mixture is thick, shiny, and super-smooth. Transfer the mixture to a heatproof container, and put in the fridge until the curd has cooled completely, at least 30 minutes. The curd can be refrigerated for up to 1 week; do not freeze.

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