Devil's Food Cake With Caramelized Bananas
Ingredients for Cake:
1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3/4 cup boiling water
3/4 cup buttermilk, divided
1/2 cup pecans, lightly toasted and cooled to room temperature
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup mayonnaise
cups light brown sugar
1 large egg, at room temperature
1 large egg white, at room temperature
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 tablespoon light corn syrup
3 tablespoons heavy cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups pecans, lightly toasted and finely chopped
1/2 cup granulated sugar
Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees. Lightly grease the bottom and side of a 10-inch springform pan. Dust the pan with flour and tap out the excess.
In a medium heatproof bowl, combine the cocoa powder and the boiling water and stir the mixture with a rubber spatula until it becomes a smooth paste. Place a piece of plastic wrap directly on the surface of the cocoa paste and set aside to cool at room temperature. Add 1/4 cup of the buttermilk to the cooled cocoa paste and mix until well-blended.
In the 4-1/2-quart bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, cream the mayonnaise, light brown sugar, egg, egg white and vanilla extract at medium speed for about 4 to 5 minute, until the mixture lightens. With the mixer at its lowest speed, add half the dry ingredients and then the remaining buttermilk. Mix until blended, then add the remaining dry ingredients. Add the cocoa/buttermilk mixture to the batter and beat on low speed until just incorporated, scrapping down the side of the mixing bowl as necessary, to maintain a smooth and uniform batter.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 33 to 38 minutes or until a cake-tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Remove the cake from the oven and place on a wire rack. Let cool completely in the springform pan. The cake may be made up to 8 hours in advance.
In a small saucepan, combine the water, sugar and corn syrup. With a wooden spoon, sir over medium heat until the sugar dissolves. Raise the heat to medium-high and continue to cook without stirring, for 4 to 6 minutes, until the syrup turns amber in color. Immediately remove the pan from the heat and slowly add the cream, stirring until smooth (be careful as the mixture will bubble up.) If any hard bits of caramel remain, return the pan to low heat and stir until completely dissolved; remove from the heat. Off-heat, blend in the butter and then the nuts, making sure that the nuts are well-0-coated with the <
Peel and thinly slice the bananas at an angle, keeping the sliced bananas intact; discard the end pieces. Work with 1/3 of a sliced banana at a time, fan out the slices in a single layer and place then in concentric circles, starting at the side of the pan and working inward. This may be done up to 2 hours in advance, making sure to press plastic wrap onto the surface of the banana layer if done ahead; keep at room temperature.
Preheat the broiler. Position a rack about 5 to 6 inches from the source of the heat. Sprinkle the granulated sugar over the bananas. Place the cake under the broiler for about 3 to 5 minutes, turning the cake occasionally, until the sugar is completely melted and lightly caramelized. Remove from the broiler and run a small thin-bladed knife around the edge of the pan to loosen the cake. Let cool slightly before removing the side of the spingform pan. Cut the cake into 16 slices with a hot, wet serrated knife.