Baked Sunday Mornings: Banana in a Blanket

I was intrigued by the Banana in a Blanket recipe in Baked Elements from the first time I flipped through cookbook and saw the whimsical photo. I had never made a roll cake before (I don't think the Baked Stump De Noël counts), and I was both excited and nervous to give the technique a try this week for Baked Sunday Mornings.

The banana in a blanket is a chocolate sponge cake filled with chocolate-banana whipped cream and walnuts, rolled around a banana. The cake has no oil or butter and is leavened with eggs only. To make the batter, you whisk together egg yolks and vanilla until pale and thick, and then alternately fold in egg whites (that have been beaten with cream of tartar and sugar to stiff peaks) and the sifted dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, salt).

You pour the batter into a parchment-lined jelly roll pan and bake. When you take the cake out of the oven, you cover it with damp paper towels and let it cool for a few minutes. Then you take off the paper towels; dust the top of the cake with powdered sugar; lay a tea towel on top of the cake; and invert the cake (so that the tea towel is underneath the cake). You sift some powdered sugar on top of the cake, roll up the cake inside the towel, and keep it rolled up while you let the cake cool.

The cake filling is lightly sweetened whipped cream beaten to soft peaks, combined with melted dark chocolate and mashed bananas. (The recipe instructs you to microwave the bananas for 30 seconds before mashing them, but we don't own a microwave, so I just used room temperature bananas; I'm not sure what difference it would make to heat the bananas first.) 

You unroll the cooled cake; spread on the cream filling; sprinkle on chopped toasted walnuts; arrange two whole slightly frozen whole bananas end to end along one of the short sides of the cake; and then roll up the cake and filling around the bananas. I didn't have any problems with the cake breaking, but the rolling process was a bit messy because there was so much cream filling that the roll was quite fat and filing was spilling out of the far end of the cake as I rolled it up. Plus, the outside surface of the cake was sticky and my hands were covered in cake residue by the time I was finished.

Still, I was really happy with the way the cake turned out. I thought the finished roll looked fairly neat, and after chilling, the cake sliced neatly. But most of all, this cake tastes amazing. The chocolate sponge cake is exceptional, with a light texture and clean, rich chocolate flavor. The cream filling is also delicious, with the walnuts giving the perfect bit of crunch. I love the combination of chocolate and banana, and both flavors shine in this dessert.

Although I tend to be partial to layer cakes, this is actually one of my favorite recipes from any of the three Baked cookbooks. It's one of those rare chocolate desserts that's both light and refreshing, yet flavorful and completely satisfying at the same time. And the fact that the cake is beautiful and fun is just a bonus. I love this cake!

Recipe: "Banana in a Blanket" from Baked Elements: Our 10 Favorite Ingredients, by Matt Lewis and Renato Poliafito, recipe available here at Baked Sunday Mornings.

Previous Post: "Tacky and Tasteful at the Same Time: Banana Whoopie Pies," September 14, 2012.


Chelly said…
That is the most perfect looking cake roll I have ever seen! Beautiful job! Looks delish! You never cease to amaze me!
Beautiful cake! I too like a rolled cake as it is so much lighter than a regular cake, plus it just looks so beautiful on display! Great job!
Unknown said…
OK, now that is one perfect roll! I agree with everything you dais about the taste- yummy! Beautiful job!