Another International Incident Party is upon us, and this time we’re coming straight from the beach without time to have a proper shower, still covered in salt and sand and with bits of seaweed stuck in our hair all night until someone finally tells us it’s there.
Hang on to your shakers, this month we’re talking salt.
“Salt is born of the purest of parents: the sun and the sea” (Pythagoras)
Those sly dogs, getting it on right in front of our faces and us all being none the wiser!
“Salt is the policeman of taste: it keeps the various flavours of a dish in order and restrains the stronger from tyrannizing over the weaker” (Margaret Visser)
Yes, the sun and the sea gave birth to the culinary Robin Hood.
As luck would have it, this salt themed party coincided with the birthday of a particularly salt-encrusted marine biologist Maid Marian – my friend Asha. There was nothing for it but to create a salty cake in her honour and hope that we could keep it from the clutches of Friar Tuck .
After songs were sung, candles were blown and cake was eaten, the birthday girl christened this chocolatey salty creation the Ganasha Cake and I vowed to make it again very soon. The cake itself is incredibly soft and moist, the frosting is rich and bittersweet with hints of peanut and coffee to add depth of flavour, and the salt flakes cut through it all and amplify everything. I’m not sure if Robin would approve but Maid Marian gave it two thumbs up and that’s good enough for me.
(Banana cake with peanut mocha frosting, honey roasted peanuts and lashings of sea salt)
Based on David Lebovitz’s Banana Cake with Mocha Frosting
350 g plain flour
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
1.5 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
230 g softened unsalted butter
300g caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tsp instant coffee granules
2 extra large eggs, room temp
90 mL natural yoghurt, sour cream or buttermilk, room temp
2 cups mashed very ripe bananas
1.25 cups toasted and roughly chopped walnuts
280 g dark chocolate, chopped
1 tsp instant coffee granules
70 g butter, room temp
70 g smooth peanut butter
~1 cup honey roasted peanuts, whole
1/4 – 1/2 cup honey roasted peanuts, chopped
sea salt flakes
1. Preheat oven to 175 degrees (350 F).
2. Grease and line two 9 inch round cake tins.
3. Sift the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl, then whisk to combine.
4. In a separate bowl, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy (3-5 minutes). Add the vanilla and coffee and beat to combine.
5. Add eggs one at a time, beating 1 minute after each addition.
6. Add half the flour mixture, beating until combined. Add the yoghurt and banana, beat until combined. Add the remaining flour and beat until combined, but do not overwork the mixture as it will make it tough. Stir through the walnuts.
7. Divide the mix between the two cake pans, smoothing out the tops. Place pans in the oven and cook for 40 minutes, or until golden and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool in the pans on wire racks.
1. Place the chocolate and coffee in a heatproof bowl then melt over a pan of simmering water, being sure the water does not touch the base of the bowl. Stir until the chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth.
2. Remove bowl from the pan and add the butter and peanut butter, stirring or whisking until smooth.
1. Remove the cakes from the pans and remove the paper from them. Ensure they are completely cool before continuing on.
2. Place one cake on your serving plate or stand. Place approximately 3/4 cup of frosting on top and spread it evenly. Sprinkle the chopped honey roasted peanuts over the frosting. Sprinkle about 1/4 tsp of sea salt flakes over the frosting as well, depending on your taste.
3. Place the other cake on top of the frosted cake. Pour the remaining frosting over the top and smooth out to completely cover the top and sides of the cake.
4. Decorate with the whole peanuts (or chopped if you prefer) and more sea salt flakes, using some to spell out the name of that special salty someone in your life.
Big thanks to salt-of the-earth Penny of Jeroxie (Addictive & Consuming) for again being such a fabulous party host. and please head over to the following salty-dog blogs to check out their creations.