Gourmandistan

Meet your new King, Chocolate Elvis Cake

Elvis Presley has many, many incarnations. Swivel-hipped Ed Sullivan-censored Elvis. Terrible movie star Elvis. Television-shooting, fried peanut butter and banana sandwich-eating Elvis. Black leather-clad Comeback Elvis. Sweaty sequined Vegas Elvis. Dead Elvis.

Elvis

Some see Elvis as a racist, others as a messiah. Gourmandistan saw Elvis as cake.

Elvis Cake

Our story begins like so many in Gourmandistan, with a bit of food about to go off. In this case, it was bananas, which Michelle (as she often does) starting thinking about making into a cake, and asked Steve what kind of icing he might like. Steve’s brain got “All Shook Up” and asked for both chocolate and peanut butter frosting. Chocolate Elvis Cake was born.

Elvis Cake

Michelle, of course, worked out the logistics of frosting and filling, dolling it up with delicious peanut brittle in a showy way Vegas Elvis would have loved.

Chocolate, banana and peanut butter go together like “Dixie,” “All My Trials” and “Battle Hymn of the Republic” (at least if you’re Elvis) and this cake now reigns over all in Gourmandistan. Elvis may have left the building, but his truth (at least the banana and peanut butter part) keeps marching on—now covered in chocolate.

Wall at Graceland

Wall at Graceland

BANANA CAKE WITH PEANUT BUTTER FILLING, CHOCOLATE ICING AND SALTY PEANUT BRITTLE

  • Servings: one 3-layer 8-inch cake
  • Print

(Cake adapted from Judy Rosenberg’s The Rosie’s Bakery All-Butter Cream-Filled Sugar-Packed Baking Book/filling adapted from marthastewart.com/icing adapted from Camille Glenn’s The Heritage of Southern Cooking/brittle adapted from Alice Medrich’s Pure Dessert)

CAKE:

  • Soft butter for greasing the cake pans
  • 2-1/4 c. sifted cake flour
  • 5 TB all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 t. baking soda
  • 2-1/2 t. baking powder
  • 1/2 t. salt
  • 3/4 c. mashed very ripe bananas (2 or 3 bananas)
  • 1 c. + 2 TB buttermilk, at room temperature
  • 10 TB unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 6 TB canola or other vegetable oil
  • 3/4 c. light brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 3/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs, at room temperature

Place a rack at the center of the oven. Preheat to 350°.

Line bottoms of three 8″ round cake pans with waxed paper and lightly grease paper and sides of pans with soft butter.

Sift both flours, baking soda, baking powder and salt into a small bowl. Set aside.

In another small bowl, mix together mashed bananas and buttermilk. Set aside.

Place butter, oil, brown and granulated sugar and vanilla in bowl of a stand mixer.  Cream on medium speed until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape bowl with a spatula.

Add eggs to butter mixture, one at a time. Mix on medium speed after addition of each egg, scraping down sides of bowl with a spatula as needed.

Add dry ingredients and banana/buttermilk mixture, alternately, until mixed in, scraping bowl as needed. Do not overmix.

Pour mixture into the prepared pans and flatten with a spatula.

Bake until golden and a toothpick comes out clean, about 20-25 minutes.

Cool completely on wire racks. Then remove from pans and pull off waxed paper.

PEANUT BUTTER FILLING:

  • 2/3 c. smooth peanut butter
  • 1 stick (8 TB) unsalted butter
  • pinch of salt
  • 3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar

Cream peanut butter, butter and salt in a stand mixture (or in a bowl with a hand-held mixer). Add confectioners’ sugar. Beat for 2-3 minutes.

CHOCOLATE FROSTING:

  • 4 oz. unsweetened or bittersweet chocolate or a mixture thereof
  • 1 stick (8 TB) unsalted butter
  • 2-3/4 c. confectioners’ sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 t. vanilla extract
  • 5 TB boiling water

Melt the chocolate and butter in a small pan over low heat.

While chocolate is melting, sift confectioners’ sugar and salt into the bowl of a stand mixer.

Add vanilla to chocolate/butter mixture. Pour over sugar in mixing bowl. Blend on low speed.

Add boiling water, 1 tablespoon at a time, while mixer is running. Continue beating for a couple of minutes until frosting is “smooth, pliable, but still very thick.”

Let cool for a minute or so before frosting cake.

SALTY PEANUT BRITTLE:

  • 1 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 c. salted, dry roasted peanuts

Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil.

Spread sugar in a dry stainless steel skillet. Set skillet over medium-high heat. DO NOT STIR. When sugar begins to melt around the outside of the skillet, turn down heat to medium-low. Shake pan to redistribute sugar and avoid burning.

When sugar has mostly melted and is starting to color, mix very gently with a silicone spatula or wooden spoon.

When sugar mixture is amber-colored, add nuts. Stir gently to coat nuts with syrup.

As soon as sugar mixture has turned dark amber, remove contents of pan onto the foil, spreading as thinly as possible.

While caramel is still warm, slide foil and its contents into a plastic freezer bag and seal. When ready to use, break or chop as desired.

ASSEMBLY:

Brittle can be made a day or so ahead of time and stored in a plastic bag at room temperature as noted above.

The cake can be made a day ahead. Wrap layers in plastic wrap or aluminum foil and refrigerate until needed.

This frosting is somewhat fiddly. After icing the cake, if the frosting is a little too thick, or if it looks a little grainy, heat a frosting knife with hot water and run it over the sides and top of the cake (reheating knife as needed).

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58 comments

  1. This is even the cake of my dreams! I love all those combinations of sweet, (banana) with salty (PB) and that chocolate frosting! Heavenly! If the King were still alive, i dare say he’d give up those Deep fried sanbo’s in favour of this!

  2. This is a king I could worship! I love anything banana and wholeheartedly encourage the combination of peanut butter and chocolate. The salty peanut brittle is what’s taking me over the edge though — I need that in my life.

  3. Such a beautiful cake, Michelle. Such perfect layers, the flavorful frostings, and such a great garnish of nuts all make this cake so special. Frankly, I’m in awe. I’m also a little unnerved. The TV is on in the background and, very coincidentally, Burns’ “The Civil War” is being rebroadcast. As I read your sentence that included “The Battle Hymn of the Republic” guess what was being played? I was already staring at the Elvis Lives photo when I realized what was happening and went back to reread that sentence. How did you do that? 🙂

    • See? Elvis has super powers! (Don’t encourage Steve, though. He and a friend once made up a whole hagiography of Elvis at a dinner party. It amused many but insulted some.)

    • Thanks, Conor! I could hardly believe my good fortune when I remembered I’d been on a business trip to Memphis a couple of years ago and still had some Elvis/Graceland photos on my phone. (I refused to pay the $$ to get into the silly place.)

  4. Pingback: Chocolate Elvis Cake Love | Foodie*ism

  5. You guys are making it VERY hard not to be a cake lover (which I’ve never been). Man does this look good! Also, I’m with Elvis–bananas, chocolate and peanut butter–I mean, how could you go wrong? Ken

      • I didn’t say I HATED cake, just that I wasn’t in love with it–so it’s rarely been a temptation for me (in a life that is rife with temptation). There are some desserts that beg to be eaten after a meal, no matter how full you are (e.g. coconut panna cotta with chili mangoes and avocado ice cream). Cake has just never been a temptation for me. Until now… I shudder to think of what would happen if I were left alone with that one. Ken

        • I’m just teasing. 😉 I agree that most cakes are not very good. And I always find them so stressful to make. So many component parts, each of which can go horribly wrong after hours of prep.

          • Me too. Sorry, I should have added a smiley icon. 🙂 I admire cake-makers. When things gang oft aglay, there’s little to save the day. Unlike savory cooking. But I’m always willing to appreciate and admire the efforts of other. 🙂 Ken

            • If you had told me a few years ago that I’d be using the dreaded emoticons, I’d have probably spat at you. To this day, I swear I have never (before now) typed LOL, for example. But there does seem to be some utility in saying with a silly little face: I’m kidding. Or at least I might be kidding… (It is a strange world in which we find ourselves.)

  6. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful!

    I think it just needs . . . bacon? My dad’s whole side of the family lives in Memphis and the peanut butter-banana sandwiches I remember were fried and had bacon 🙂

    • I don’t know why not. If you use 3, it would cook a little faster. And if you use 2, I’d just be careful not to overfill. The original recipe actually called for a sheet cake pan, I believe.

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