This is one of those cakes that looks good enough for any special occasion. For me it was just fun to make and serve to my family. You may have noticed that I like to make my Sunday bakes look a bit special and I have a lot of fun decorating my cakes.
Banana Mocha Torte
For the Sponge
125g ground almonds
5 eggs, separated
3 tbsp warm water
100g caster sugar
pinch of salt
For the Filling
500ml whole milk
2½ tbsp instant espresso powder
2 egg yolks
20 ml coffee liqueur
250g unsalted butter, softened
50g icing sugar
1 tbsp lemon juice
Icing sugar for rolling and dusting
150g dark chocolate
1 small banana
10 whole blanched almonds
250ml double cream
1 tbsp icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
1 tsp cocoa powder
Chocolate coffee beans
Preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan. Base line and grease a 24cm spring form.
Sift the flour into a bowl and stir in the almonds. In a clean bowl, beat the egg whites with the salt until thick then slowly add 40g of the caster sugar. Continue beating until the mixture is thick and glossy.
In another bowl, beat together the egg yolks, water and the remaining 60g of caster sugar until pale and thick. Gently fold in the flour/almond mixture until combined. Working in thirds and with a large metal spoon, carefully fold in the egg whites until well incorporated.
Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake in the preheated oven for 25-35 minutes, until firm to the touch and golden. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning it out onto a cooling rack. Remove the baking parchment and leave to cool completely. Once cooled cut the sponge horizontally into 3 even layers.
For the filling, keep 2 tablespoons of the milk aside. Place the remaining milk, the coffee powder and 40g of the caster sugar into a saucepan and bring to a boil. In a small jug, mix together the cornflour, the remaining 30g of caster sugar and the 2 tabelspoons of reserved milk and stir into the hot milk. Stirring constantly let it simmer for a minute. Take the saucepan of the heat and dust the mixture with a little icing sugar. Let it cool a little before stirring in the coffee liqueur. Let the crème cool completely before straining it through a colander.
In a bowl beat the butter and icing sugar together until soft and fluffy. Beat in the cooled coffee crème one tablespoon at a time until all the crème has been incorporated.
Place a sponge onto a serving plate and enclose with the spring form ring. Keep aside a ¼ of the coffee crème. Spread the first sponge with a half of the remaining coffee crème. Peel the bananas, cut in half lengthways and brush with the lemon juice. Push 4 banana halves into the crème so that they are completely covered. Place the second sponge on top and repeat the layer. Top with the third sponge and refrigerate for a minimum of 3 hours.
Remove the ring and spread the remaining coffee crème around the cake. Return the cake to the fridge for another hour.
Roll out the marzipan to fit around the outside of the cake in both length and height. Roll over the marzipan strip with a pattered rolling pin or use a grater and press the strip with the pattered side facing outwards, around the cake.
For the decorations, melt the chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir until smooth and remove from the heat. Peel and cut the banana into 1cm slices. Dip the banana slices into the chocolate and place on a parchment lined baking tray. Line a second tray with parchment paper. Fill a piping bag with the remaining melted chocolate and snip off a small whole. Pipe chocolate lattices onto the parchment paper and leave aside to set. Pipe a few stripes of chocolate onto the almonds and leave for the chocolate to set.
Beat the cream with a 1 tablespoon of icing sugar and the vanilla essence until soft peaks form. Spread the top of the cake with a layer cream and smooth with a pallet knife. Lightly dust with cocoa powder. Spoon the remaining cream into a piping bag fitted with a large round nozzle and pipe on 10 large and 10 small mounds slightly inset onto the cake. Dust the chocolate banana slices with icing sugar. Decorate the cake with the banana slices, chocolate lattices, almonds and the cocoa beans.
Keep the cake refrigerated and remove from the fridge 30 minutes before serving.