Chunky Monkey Cake

Impress guests with a pretty layer cake, smothered in candy!

Marta Nielsen shares how to make a wonderful Chunky Monkey Cake.
Chocolate Chip Banana Cake
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 2/3 cups sugar
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup butter
2/3 cup buttermilk
3 eggs
1 1/4 cups mashed banana
2/3 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Using a stand or electric hand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, then the mashed banana. Mix until well combined. In a separate bowl, sift together dry ingredients. Add the dry ingredients to the butter/sugar/egg mixture in three parts, alternating with the buttermilk, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients. After each addition mix only until just combined, and add the chocolate chips with the final flour addition. Mix just a few seconds with the mixer, and finish blending together by hand, scraping the sides and bottom of the mixing bowl to ensure everything is evenly mixed.

Divide the batter between two 9-inch round cake pans, lined with parchment paper and greased. Bake 35 to 40 minutes until cake springs back to the touch and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow cakes to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then run a knife around the edges of the cakes to loosen the sides and turn them out onto a wire rack to cool completely before assembling the cake.

Peanut Butter Frosting
2 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups creamy peanut butter
3 tablespoons cream
2 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon salt
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar

Using a stand or electric hand mixer, blend together butter, peanut butter, cream, vanilla, and salt until well combined and very smooth, about 4 minutes. Add in the powdered sugar gradually, and mix on medium high speed until fluffy, approximately 4 minutes.

Ganache Drizzle
1/2 cup chopped dark chocolate or chocolate chips
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon butter

Heat cream and butter in microwave until just boiling. Pour over chocolate and allow to sit for 10 minutes (avoid the temptation to stir it too soon). Whisk to combine until smooth.

Cake assembly:

2 layers chocolate chip banana cake
1 recipe peanut butter frosting
1 bag mini chocolate chips
1 recipe chocolate ganache

Spread mini chocolate chips on a tray. Stack the cake layers with frosting sandwiched in the middle, and coat the sides of the cake with frosting, leaving the top bare. Carefully lift the cake, placing one hand on top of the cake and one on the bottom. Turn the cake on its side, like a wheel, and roll it on the tray of chocolate chips, so that the sides of the cake get a nice coat of chocolate chips. Place the cake on a cake plate, and frost the top of the cake. Drizzle chocolate ganache over the top of the cake (a condiment bottle works great for this). Finish cake decoration by piping a border along the top and bottom edge of the cake.

Moist banana cake studded with chocolate chips is encased in fluffy peanut butter frosting, encrusted with mini chocolate chips, and drizzled with chocolate ganache in this decadent cake.

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