We are still in the land of butter cakes this week, though back in the full-size cake chapter (last week and next being baby cakes). This week is a one-layer chocolate cake made with banana and sour cream in the batter, then frosted with ganache and studded with chocolate chips.
I had a lovely ripe banana ready (actually 2--the other has been frozen for future use), and peeling it in its extremely softened state might have been the hardest part of this cake. Bloom the cocoa in boiling water and let it cool. Mix the wet stuff (banana, sour cream, cocoa mixture, vanilla, and the eggs), mix the dry ingredients. Add softened butter and some of the wet stuff to the dry stuff, mix carefully so you don't cover yourself and your counter in flour, then beat until smooth. The rest of the west stuff goes in two additions, and the batter is done and ready for the oven.
I took the cake out at the minimum time as I've continued to find the cakes dry for my taste. However, the goo on my wire tester made me put it back for 3 minutes or so, and then the cake was starting to pull away from the pan. My layer was also a little flatter than I'd hoped, though by the time it was covered in ganache it looked OK.
The frosting is ganache with a tablespoon of liqueur. The vanilla cognac from last week's cake was at hand, so that's what went in mine. It added another interesting note to the cake--otherwise, I think this would have been a pretty basic chocolate cake with a hint of banana.
Last step is to stud the frosted cake with chocolate chips, a step Rose warns might take 45 minutes. Younger niece and I covered the top of our cake in about 10 minutes. Want the secret? Ghirardelli 60% chips (which Cooks Illustrated prefers to Guittard....and I can't find the Guittard) are significantly larger, and thus are easier to handle and it takes fewer of them. We also weren't really particular about exact placement of chips. :) We then opted for first one row, then 2 more of peanut-butter chips on the sides--placing those took longer than covering the top.
Taste results: We all like the cake, though no one was in love with it. The banana flavor is subtle but there, though it didn't add as much moistness as I'd hoped. If I do repeat this one I think I'll underbake it and take my chances on a gooey, fallen middle--this cake seems like it should be really moist, and it's just not. Lovely smooth texture, moist enough to hold together, but still what I consider on the dry side. That's compensated for by the ganache, so maybe it's by design.
The chocolate chip "studs" are cute but make the cake difficult to cut and to eat, something I think would be true even with smaller diameter chips. On a repeat, I'll probably leave those off.