How does it feel to show up, tripled-layered cake in hand, to a dinner party on the wrong night? Most of the time, embarrassing, I’m sure. In my case, I felt disoriented…like my whole world was fake. Did I really mistake the date to be Friday, even after viewing the fb event page at least ten times? How was I that out of the loop? Luckily, my friends were understanding. After bursting into the room, declaring, “I have the cake!,” I was answered with, “That’s great, except the party is tomorrow…but the cake looks delicious!” First two thoughts to go through my mind: Is this for real? and Dang, I have to wait a whole 24 hours to try my cake! …The latter was more devastating.
Now, every cloud has a silver lining, right? I sure felt pretty cloudy minded after shuffling my feet back down to the room. I think my poor roommate, Carly, felt the tension immediately. How could I not be bummed?? How could I not feel like a complete idiot? We both sat in front of the tv, staring mindlessly at “The Princess Diaries” playing on some random channel. Do homework….or watch tv??? Do homework…or watch tv???
Carly had a much better idea. Here is where the silver lining comes in. See, we have been playing pratical jokes on our other roommate, Cassie, all year long. It’s a friendly thing…sort of like a love pat. I mean, the girl is too easy to fool, and she takes it like a trooper. From slowly removing the food in her cupboards to hanging her stuffed cow with a threatening note on the wall behind her door, we’ve done it all. But this time….THIS time, we really shocked her.
Welcome to the Fortress of Doom…for lack of a better name.
Carly and I literally turned our living room into a giant, adult-sized blanket fort. Oh, but it gets better.
We plotted the ultimate plan to gain control of Cassie. Upon entering the door (in which she was greeted with a “No Cassie’s Allowed” sign), she was immediately entangled in a web of Halloween themed holly strung on the other side. This held her in place just enough for Carly to throw an unfrosted cupcake precisely 3ft in front of her to gain the utmost effect. The entire room dark, save for a tv on fuzzy screen mode (scary, right?) and one other illuminated area (I’ll get to that in a bit), Cassie was totally unaware of her surroundings. As Carly threw the cupcake, I pressed play on the Ipod doc which was set to “The Beautiful People” by Marilyn Manson. As heavy rock shook the walls, we continuously shot Cassie with nerf guns and pelted her with cupcakes behind the safety of our fortress.
And the poor thing only just arrived home from working the grill all day.
We definitely had no pity on her. Behind the carefully structured mess of bed sheets and fleece blankets was a basket filled with ALL of the food in Cassie’s cupboard. Yes, we kidnapped her food, and her favorite bamboo plant, Megan, who was perched strategically on the top tower of our fortress. Tauntingly, we lit up Cassie’s empty cupboard and hung her cow, once again, in front. The catch? If Cass wanted to save both her food and Megan, she only had to do one simple thing: dance.
At the perfect moment, Carly and I flipped the lights on, turned on “Peacock” by Katy Perry (terrible song), and danced around Cassie, taunting her with with the stolen goods. At first, she wouldn’t budge. Not a bit. Finally, though, she warmed up to it, and a full-blown dance party ensued.
Looking back on the situation, I can only laugh. Did we really do that? Yes, yes we did, and it was awesome. Carly and I waited in the pitch black fort, staring out the window for literally 45 minutes for Cassie to get back. We spent an entire evening plotting the most random, dramatic, and ridiculous prank. That it ended in a dance party made the entire thing 100x more worth it. All I can say is that Cassie better watch out in the future 😉
Back to the banana cake.
It was rather unfortunate that I assembled it a day early. Fresh banana slices and whipped cream don’t fare too well sitting over night. The caramel in-between the layers had also soaked into the cake. It wasn’t pretty. However, I like to take these sorts of issues as challenges. Most carefully, I peeled each layer apart, scraped the old whipped cream and bananas, and replaced it anew. I don’t like wasting food in that way, and if the cake was only being eaten by my roommates and I, I probably would’ve left it. Dinner parties are special occasions, though, so I wanted it to look as perfect as possible.
If you’re looking to make a triple-layered cake anytime soon, I highly recommend this one. It is a little time-consuming if you make the dulce de leche and whipped cream fresh, as did. It is also really easy. Just make sure you know the EXACT date of the occasion you are making it for. Things will go a lot more smoothly.
Banana-Chocolate Chip Cake
adapted from Sky High: Irresistible Triple-Layer Cakes
by Alisa Huntsman and Peter Wynne
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 1/3 cups plus 3 tbls sugar
1 1/4 tsps baking powder
1 1/4 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp salt
1 stick plus 1 tbls unsalted butter, room temp
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas, plus 2 ripe but firm bananas, thinly sliced
3/4 cup buttermilk
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
3/4 cup semisweet choc. chips, plus extra for decoration
1 1/2 cups heavy cream
Dulce de Leche (recipe follows)
Butter three 8 inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper and re-butter the bottoms over the paper. Preheat the oven to 350 deg.
In a large bowl, whisk the flour, 1 1/3 cups sugar, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, and salt. Add the butter an dmashed bananas and beat until well-combined for about 3 minutes.
In a separate bowl, whisk eggs, buttermilk, and vanilla together. Add to the batter in 3 additions, making sure not to over-mix. Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips by hand with a spatula. Divide the batter between the 3 pans.
Bake the cake layers for 25-28 minutes, rotating halfway through. Let cakes cool on a wire racks for 10 minutes, then invert onto the racks. Peel off the parchment paper and let cool fully before assembling the cake.
Meanwhile, make the whipped cream. With a chilled bowl and beaters, add the heavy cream and sugar. Whisk on high speed with the whisk attachment of the hand mixer until stiff peaks form. Keep refrigerated until ready to use.
Before assembling, heat dulce de leche on low for a few minutes to loosen it up. Let cool slightly and add a few tbls of rum if desired.
To assemble, place one cake layer flat side up on a large cake platter. Top with a few tbls of dulce de leche. In a single layer, place banana slices on dulce de leche. Top with about a cup of whipped cream, spreading evenly. Do the same for the second layer. For the top layer, spread on dulce de leche and top with bananas. Add the rest of the whipped cream in a large dollop in the center. Sprinkle the extra chocolate chips sporadically on top to decorate.
Admire. Slice. Savor. Enjoy 🙂
Dulce de Leche
1 14oz. can sweetened condensed milk.
pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 400 deg. Pour contents of sweetened condensed milk in a small baking dish. Stir in the sea salt. Cover dish tightly with aluminum foil. Set in a larger baking dish filled with water halfway up the sides. This is called a water bath. Set in oven and let bake for 1.5-2 hours or until desired depth of caramel is reached. When done, set small baking dish on a wire rack. Leave it alone until cool, then whisk smooth. Store in refrigerator until ready to use.