Hello everyone, this is Aditi checking in for the CeeBees. Yeah, we’ve not been around for a while now despite my many declarations of wanting to blog and be around more often. I think I could/ should (you decide) now write a post on how to take countless blogging hiatus (or hiatuses, I am still researching on the actual existence of the plural form of hiatus, any views?) and excuses to make on your return (smirks).
So, I could barrage you with a list of excuses (such as spending enjoying time with family visiting from India, debuting as an ESL teacher, SD card reader not working, SD card reader working but pictures not downloading and the list is endless) but I am pretty sure you are either not interested or have given up by now. But hey, have some cake.
Please ignore (or don’t) those stars in between the rosettes.. I was just trying to fill the gaps! It’s going to be smashed anyway so it doesn’t have to be perfect, right?
Coming back to business, my cutie patootie niece (I know I said that but don’t judge me, instead, I suggest you Google the words and you’ll know why I said it) celebrated her first birthday with her cool aunt (that would be me) in August. First birthdays call for smash cakes (aka let’s make some mess for the adults to clean up), photography sessions (aka full body workout) and celebrations and we decided to follow suit.
My photographer sister-in-law had it all planned out- props were bought days before, color scheme was decided, a dry run with an empty cake stand was done, lighting was tested at different times of the day and in different rooms, the CeeBees kitchen was shut for the day, naps were taken etc. In short, with 3 adults involved, we seemed like we were in good shape. The photo shoot went pretty well for her (and exhausting but fun for us) and deserves an entire post on how to entertain a one-year old for a photoshoot, toys, props and sundry items (empty bottles, bunch of keys, a hair dryer, a few dance moves) to keep handy. But since this is meant to be a food blog, I will leave this here and let your imagination run wild or take a sneak peek here:
…and that’s how we slide the top layer right off!
For the cake, I tried to make a somewhat healthy cake with healthier ingredients and no sugar but couldn’t come up with a healthy alternative for a frosting with which I could pipe rosettes. Not that she was going to eat the whole cake but…you know what I mean, right? So, after a couple of tries and tweaking my regular whole wheat banana bread recipe (which I promise to share soon-ish), I made a fairly delicious (so says my niece) sugar free version of the whole wheat banana cake. For the frosting, I whipped up some heavy cream and squeezed in a few drops of boiled beetroot juice for color. I used whipped cream since I wanted to pipe rosettes and make the cake look pretty but I am sure, if you are not hung up about the cake looking pretty, you could skip the frosting all together. Fortunately, the niece didn’t like the frosting at all and she threw the top layer aside and aimed straight for the fresh strawberries that I had layered in between the cakes. She is one smart girl!
Oh, and did I tell you what fun it was to watch her play in the creamy mess? I wish I could really show you how much fun it was. I can do this all over again.. and again!
So without further ado, here is how I made the baby smash cake:
- 2 ½ cups ripe bananas (approximately 5-6 bananas)
- ½ cup olive oil
- 2 eggs
- 4 tablespoons milk
- A dash of vanilla extract, optional
- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- ½ teaspoon baking powder
- a pinch of salt
- 16 oz or 2 cups heavy whipping cream, chilled
- A dash of vanilla extract
- 3-4 tablespoons beetroot juice (see notes)
- 5-7 sliced strawberries
- Preheat your oven to 350 F and grease (with butter or oil) two 8-inch round baking pans. Set these aside.
- In a large bowl mash the bananas. Add oil, eggs, milk and vanilla and mix this well until it all comes together. Set this aside.
- In another (smaller) bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.
- Then, add the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients and mix gently with a spatula only until combined. Do not over mix the batter or your cake will be very dense & tough.
- Pour the batter in the baking pans and bake at 350 F for about 55-65 minutes.
- Once fully baked, allow the cakes to cool completely (at room temperature). Then, cling wrap each cake individually and keep them in the refrigerator for at least 2 hours before frosting.
- Make sure the cream has been kept in the refrigerator and is chilled.
- If you can, chill your mixing bowl as well.
- When ready, pour the cream into your mixing bowl and with the whisk attachment of either your stand mixer or a hand mixer whip the heavy cream until frothy.
- Next, add in the vanilla and beetroot juice and whip until the cream reaches a light yet thick consistency that will spread easily or until stiff peaks form.
- Take the cakes out of the refrigerator and unwrap them.
- Keep the first layer on your cake stand.
- Dollop some frosting and spread to form an even layer.
- Layer some sliced strawberries over the frosting.
- Keep the second cake on top of this. Apply a thin layer of frosting over the top and sides of your cake. This is known as a crumb coat. It is okay for the cake to show through the crumb coat. You just want to make sure that you seal in any crumbs so that they don’t show in the final frosting.
- After the crumb coat, chill the cake in the fridge for at least 20 minutes before proceeding to the next step.
- Prepare your frosting bag with a 1M star tip. Fill your frosting bag with the frosting and gently remove air bubbles from the bag.
- Find a place to start on the cake and place the tip on the cake, squeeze gently, and then do a little spiral 3 or 4 times around. The rosettes won’t be perfect with the whipped cream frosting but it’s the best you can do unless you want to use buttercream frosting. You can also see that I covered the gaps between the roses with stars- so it’s really hard to go wrong with this one. I do suggest you look up a video to understand frosting rosettes better!
To make the beetroot juice, I microwaved half a beetroot with about 2 tablespoons of water for about 2-3 minutes. I then grated the beetroot and squeezed the juice out of it. You can use as much or as little depending on the color you'd like to achieve.