Gluten Free and Eggless Coffee Banana Cake

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I made this cake for my grandparent’s wedding anniversary, and they absolutely loved it! Its a beautiful combination of the deep bitterness from the coffee, and the sweet, creamy banana filling. Its beautiful to look at as well (sorry for the odd lighting in the picture), and this elaborate cake would be a great addition to any celebration or event. Its a pretty heavy cake, so cut thin slices. But its also really delicious, so maybe don’t do that.

Feel free to adjust the amount of instant coffee granules you add to the cake, depending on how strong you like your coffee. I added 2 tablespoons, which lent the cake a moderately intense flavour, but you could bump it up to 3, or even 4 tablespoons of coffee for a stronger coffee flavour (and for more of a caffeine kick as well).

Ingredients:
For the coffee cake:
2 tablespoons cocoa powder
2 tablespoons instant coffee granules
1/2 cup boiling water
2/3 cup milk
3 cups gluten free all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
1-3/4 cup granulated sugar
Egg replacer equivalent of 5 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

For the banana filling
1-1/2 large bananas (or about 2 medium sized bananas)
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1-1/2 tablespoons custard powder
3 tablespoons sugar
3/4 cup milk
3/4 heavy cream (whipping cream)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

For assembly
1/2 cup strong black coffee (optional)
Sliced bananas
Whipped cream
Cocoa powder/Grated chocolate

Procedure:
For the coffee cake:
Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease two 9″ round cake pans, and line with parchment paper.

In a large mug, combine the cocoa powder and the coffee granules. Add the boiling water, and stir until all the cocoa and coffee has dissolved. Add the milk, and stir well. Set aside.

Sift the flour and baking powder into a medium bowl. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer beat the butter until soft and creamy. Add the sugar, and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg replacer and vanilla extract, and mix well.

Add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture in three instalments, mixing well after each instalment. Add the coffee-cocoa liquid, and beat until combined (don’t overmix).

Divide the batter equally amongst the two prepared pans. Bake for 22-25 minutes, or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean, with a few crumbs attached. Let the cakes cool, before assembly.

For the banana filling:
While the cakes are cooling, prepare the banana filling. In a small saucepan, stir the custard powder and sugar together. Add a bit of the milk to create a thick paste with no lumps, and then add the rest of the milk, stirring well. Place on medium-low heat, and stir until thickened. Then, stir for one more minute, and then remove from heat and allow to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large bowl, whip the whipping cream with an electric mixer until soft peaks form. Add the vanilla extract and whip until well-combined. Set aside in the refrigerator.

In a blender, or using an immersion blender, blend the bananas and the lemon juice together until there are no large pieces left. Mix the pureed bananas with the cooled custard mixture, and then fold in the whipped cream.

Assembly:
After all the components have cooled, begin assembly.

On your cake stand, place the bottom half of your cake. Brush with half of the strong, black coffee if using. Then, spread half of the banana filling on the first cake layer. Carefully top with the second cake layer, and brush with the coffee. Top with the remaining banana filling.

To decorate, arrange the sliced bananas in a ring, and sprinkle with lemon juice (to prevent browning). Dollop the whipped cream in the centre of the ring, and sprinkle with cocoa powder/grated chocolate.
Note: I used instant coffee granules for the sprinkling, which was a terrible idea. While it looked pretty for the first 10 minutes, after the coffee dissolved in the whipped cream, the cream looked corroded (really). However, apart from that feel free to decorate the cake as you wish, and enjoy!

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