A little dark, a little bright- isn’t that what life is all about. The light and the dark blend in to make our lives what they are. In fact, the dark makes us appreciate the light even more.
Just like this chequered eggless banana cake. The light and the dark come together to make it the thing of beauty that it is.
I first came across a two toned cake when I was very young. Ma had made a marbled cake and I was so impressed when she cut into it and revealed the beautiful dark and light patterns within. It made me smile with wonder. Years later, I now have my own version of that cake and whenever I make it, it still makes me smile.
As far as two toned cakes go, I had always admired chequered cakes. I am not a very mathematical person, but somehow, the alternating geometric patterns of such a cake had always caught my fancy. I know that, nowadays, it is very easy to assemble such a cake by buying a pan specifically meant to create such cakes. But I found a very easy way of doing so, and yes, without the particular pan.
You see, I was enlightened while waiting at the hairdressers, the other day. I had arrived a bit early and while waiting for my turn, my eyes fell upon a book on cakes ( please do not ask me the name, I had just picked it up randomly, didn’t bother about the name). I flicked through and came across a chequered cake. And lo and behold! It showed steps for making one without the special pan. In the two minutes that I had before I was called by the hairdresser, I managed to get a gist of the idea. The pictures haunted me after that little glimpse and I could not get it out of my mind. I had to make one before it got buried among all those others in the head!
The resulting cake is my humble attempt to recapture the idea before it went of my mind. I kept the flavours quite simple and and the cakes were light, inspite of the cream that I used to glue the various pieces and for filling and covering. As I was feeling a bit adventurous, I also managed to decorate the top of the cake with some melted chocolate mixed with a little cream, a pattern which I really enjoy doing, but which I rarely do nowadays. The last time I did this pattern was for this perfect party cake for a daring bakers challenge.
After decorating the cake, I crossed my fingers for the moment of truth. Apprehensively, I cut into it, and voila! There it was, a chequered cake in all its glory. “Mum’s made a chess board! “, exclaimed the kids, excitedly, as they wolfed down slices of the cake; while I ticked off another bookmarked idea in my head!
1 large banana , pureed
1 and 1/2 C of whole wheat flour (atta)
6-7 tblsp of ground almonds
2 tsp of baking powder
1/3 tsp of bicarbonate of soda
1 c of milk
1/4 C of vegetable/sunflower oil
5-6 tblsp of honey
for the dark cake, add 3 tsp of unsweetened cocoa powder + 1T of milk
For glueing, filling and covering-
2C of double cream, whipped with 1tblsp of sugar till stiff (update- if you like you can also use something else like jam instead of the cream to fix the pieces together and then cover with cream)
- Pre heat the oven at 180 deg C . Line two 8 inch round pans with foil and grease. If you have one pan, make sure that it cools completely before preparing it for the second cake.
- In a bowl, whisk together the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda.
- In another bowl, whisk together the pureed banana, milk, honey and oil.
- Make a well in the centre of the flour mixture and tip in the banana mixture. Fold in till everything is just mixed together.
- Divide the mixture into two parts. To one part, add the 3 tblsp of cocoa powder and 1 tblsp of milk and fold in.
- Tip the two mixtures into the two pans.Tap the pans against the counter to spread the mixture and release air bubbles.
- Place the pans in the centre of the pre heated oven and bake for about 25-27 minutes or till the top is lightly browned and a toothpick inserted through the centre comes out clean.
- Cool the cakes in the pans for two minutes and transfer to a rack, upside down, (after peeling away the foil) to cool completely.
- Once cooled, cut out two smaller circles from each cake. ( update- I used 5 inch and 2 inch pastry cutters to cut out the circles; if you do not have one, you can use something else like a lid to cut them out.) Brush the insides of the cakes and the sides of the cut circles, and fix them in alternate colours. You will now have two cakes with alternating colours in each. Spread a little cream over the top of one cake and pace the other on top. Cover the sides and top with the cream to make one whole cake. I ran a fork along the sides of the cake to make lines.
- Decorate the top as desired. ( I mixed a little melted chocolate with some cream to make the patterns; I eyeballed the amounts)
- Now, slice and enjoy your handiwork.
I had great fun making this cake. The cake was soft and light, and we loved the mild taste of the cake and yes, it was a beauty to behold!
On another note, my blog is being currently featured at refrigerator soup.com’s section of “twenty questions with our favourite food bloggers”.