My mother loves bumble bees so this year I wanted to push my limits and make her an extra special bumble bee cake. I found a popular banana cake recipe at allrecipes and adapted it. It's especially important to use ripe bananas to get a sweet cake rich in banana flavour. You can save bananas for this baking project by freezing peeled bananas once they get nice and ripe.
This cake recipe should not be mistaken for the denser banana bread recipe as it is so moist and delicious it is a favourite at afternoon tea parties.
One of the challenges of baking for our family is to dance the line of being dessert enough for my hubby but not too sweet that my chinese family can't stand it. I reduced the amount of sugar in the cake, and used a malleable honey buttercream that allowed the musky honey shine through without being achingly sweet. The recipe for it is here.
I love the flavours of honey with banana together so I was pleased how this cake turned out.
Fills one 4 inch pan, two 6 inch pans.
1 1/2 cup butter
2 cups white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
6 cups all-purpose flour
3 teaspoons baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 3/4 cups buttermilk or 2 1/2 cups whole milk with 3 tablespoons of vinegar or lemon juice, allow to curdle around 10 minutes)
1 1/2 tablespoon lemon juice
3 cups mashed bananas
1/4 cup sour cream
Preheat oven to 275 degrees F (135 degrees C). Grease and flour the pans.
In a small bowl, mashed the bananas then mix with lemon juice to keep from browning, set aside.
In a medium bowl, mix flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
In a large bowl, cream butter and cups sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Mix in the flour mixture alternately with the buttermilk, only stirring enough to moisten. Less mixing is better. Fold in banana mixture.
Pour batter into prepared pans no more than half full as it will rise.
Bake in preheated oven for 1 hour, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from oven and place directly into freezer for 45 minutes or until cool. This will make the cake very moist.
Take the cakes out of the freezer and cut horizontally though the middle in half.
Spread icing or jam over each of the layers.
Stack the 6 inch slices on the bottom, and the 4 inch slices on the top. I used Peach Ginger Wine Jam. You can put in a few bamboo skewers through the middle for stability if you like.
Using a knife, shave the cake into a bee hive shape. It can still be quite rough because you can correct it with icing, but you'll want to aim for symmetry.
GETTING DOWN TO BEES-NESS
Take some marzipan and kneed it until it's workable. Work in some yellow gel food colouring. Roll into a pill shape. I like my bees a little plump.
I've seen people paint on the black lines with a brush but I applied the stripes by rolling the pill with a dye coated toothpick because it was easier for me. Add sliced almonds for the wings, then use the tip of the toothpick to do the eyes. Allow to dry over night on a sheet of wax paper.
Stick the bees to the end of a toothpick and add to the decorations at varying heights. I hope you like this bee cake tutorial and that your cake turns out as bee-utiful as can bee! :)
Note: the green grass is shredded coconut I shook in a ziplock bag with green gel dye.