My history with birthday cakes and following recipes from the internet is well known for those of you who’ve been reading this little blog for some time. How can you forget the four lessons learned from baking cakes? I know I haven’t!
So imagine having to bake a birthday cake that’s also sugar free, almost unprocessed and with organic ingredients. Do you feel sorry for me yet?
Last year, on my daughter's first birthday I had made a small honey cake for the three of us and I bought a large one for our guests. I had used my recipe for banana bread which I have tried with success a lot of times and I was confident about and I added the lemon cream from Ari’s lemonpie recipe which was also tried and very yummy.
However I didn’t want a lemon tasting cake this time and Nick said to see if I can make a vanilla one. I am nothing if not stubborn so I set out to bake this mythical creature of a cake for my daughter's second birthday.
I knew I wanted to use the banana bread as the cake’s base but I needed a cream too.
And thus the adventure begins! If you search the internet for a sugar free vanilla cream you will find a lot of recipes using stevia or other artificial sweeteners I wasn’t willing to use. I only use dates, apples, bananas and honey as sweeteners in my recipes and they weren’t a lot of these to go around.
I was able to find an interesting looking cream a blogger made out of white beans. It did sound weird but her blog gets such raving reviews I decided to try it. Only to toss half a kg of organically grown white beans to the bin. I mean come on! I am a freaking chemist! I know how to follow a recipe to a T! How could you eat that thing and call it delicious? It was chilled white beans in a puree form for crying out loud!
Anyway, been there before, and learned this lesson well. I am only going to use Aris’ recipes from now on and that’s that! Rant over.
So I decided to go an unconventional road and try to recreate a favorite taste of my youth, only sugar free. I will not lie to you. It wasn’t easy! I am not a seasoned cook when it comes to such things and without a set recipe (and obviously some times even with that too) I fail! But I was determined to do it right!
And I did. This is a type of a crème patisserie so it’s not the usual buttercream you see on a cake but this was as far as I could stress my (obviously lacking) baking talent.
So this cake basically consists of a banana bread, a sugar free marzipan (recipe from here) and a pastry cream.
For the banana bread:
6 ripe bananas
1 cup yogurt (I used organic goat yogurt)
3 cups whole grain Zea flour
2/3 cup honey
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 teaspoons baking soda (aluminum free)
Combine the bananas with the egg and the yogurt. I use a rode mixer to mix everything together. Add the honey and stir it in. In a bowl combine the flour with the vanilla and the baking soda and slowly add it to the wet mixture.
Once it’s homogenous pour it in a buttered baking pan. Bake for 20min at 180oC and do the knife test to test for readiness. Leave it to cool.
For the sugar free marzipan:
You can follow the steps shown here or if you are lazy like me you can just buy organic almond flour.
Lukewarm water (~30ml)
1 tablespoon of honey or to taste
1 teaspoon of beet juice after boiling for coloring
Dissolve the honey in the water and add the beet color. Pour it over the almond flour and knead to combine. Refrigerate until you need it.
For the pastry crème:
1,5 lt organic goat milk
4 full tablespoons honey
100ml fresh orange juice
Orange and lemon jest
5 tablespoons corn starch
3 tablespoons of unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla
Whisk the eggs with the honey until they are fully combined.
Pour the milk in a large saucepan and put it to a medium heat for a couple of minutes. Do not boil the milk! Add the eggs and honey mixture and stir in for 5 minutes. Slowly add the orange juice, the orange and lemon jest and the vanilla extract and stir in for another 5 minutes. Add the corn starch spoon by spoon and whisk to avoid the creation of “lumps”. I used my trusted rode mixer once again for a smooth crème. Stir the mixture for another 10 minutes or until it has evaporated enough to set as a crème. Add the butter and let it set once more. You might need to add a bit more corn starch or a bit less. Note that the crème will set more once it’s refrigerated.
If you are an experienced pastry chef this will come easy on you (then again if you were a chef you wouldn’t be reading this right?). If you are “just a mom” like me (there is nothing JUST about being a mom by the way, but I was called that the other day on facebook when I made the mistake of talking about attachment parenting and this is my way to self-sarcasm) then this is what to do.
Take a large bowl roughly the size of your circular baking pan you used to bake the banana bread. Cover the inside of the pan with food membrane.
Now take the marzipan out of the fridge and cover the inside of your bowl. You might need to dip your finger into some flour to help you with the process. Once the bowl is covered with the marzipan you need to add the cake and crème layers.
I cut my cake to three tiers. I used the upper one for this step. I cut it to smaller pieces and pressed it down on top of the marzipan covered bowl. Then I added crème and then again a layer of banana bread. Another layer of crème and it was set. I covered it and store it in the refrigerator up until one hour before the party.
I then made the lower half of the cake. I used one of the two banana bread tiers and poured crème on top. Then I put the second tier on top of that, I covered it and refrigerated it until later.
I then mixed one teaspoon of the beet color with the left over crème and made about 30-40 small balls from the left over marzipan for decoration. I also used a heart cutter to make a small heart.
One hour before our guests arrived I flipped the bowl with the upper part of the cake on top of the lower part of the cake. I used the pink crème to decorate the lower part and the marzipan balls all over the cake.
It came out great! It wasn’t perfectly decorated like the ones you see all over the internet but it was delicious and healthy when compared to all the death-by-sugar counterparts.
Some extra notes:
- I have made the banana bread numerous times both in cake forms and as muffins. I usually add nuts and raisins in it. You can rest assured this is a tried and well performing recipe.
- The same goes for the marzipan. Ari’s recipes are well documented and tried numerous times.
- This is the first time I make this crème so be advised. If you have a well working sugar free crème recipe of your own do use it instead of this one (and please share it with me!!!). I will update the post the next time I make the crème in case it was a one time success.
- If you get the chance use everything organic. There is a difference!
Have you ever tried your hand with home baking? Do you have any sugar free recipes you love?
Lots of love