It’s finally Friday!! Even though work has been super busy, this week went by painfully slow. I’m looking forward to the long weekend and plan on indulging in this banana trifle tonight. :-)
To celebrate my dad’s birthday over the weekend, my mom and I made him the family favorite dessert–triple layer banana cake with caramel, vanilla bean custard and buttercream frosting.
We’re only graced with this gourmet cake on special occasions–you’ll understand why when you scroll down and see the recipe. My mom has always made the dessert by herself (which can take up to 5 hours) but since I was home, I decided it was time I learned how to make the cake. Even though it still took a few hours to make with the two of us, the result was beyond worth it.
The recipe is from one of our favorite cookbooks: The Hali’imaile General Store Cookbook. We visited this restaurant during our first trip to Hawaii 12 years ago. The macadamia nut-crusted halibut with mango-lime butter sauce recipe I posted a while back also comes from the The Hali’imaile General Store Cookbook.
This is undoubtedly the perfect dessert to make a significant impression on dinner guests. Although time-consuming (I spent about 6 hours total making all 4 components), the end product was absolutely delectable. I discovered this recipe when watching a Thanksgiving episode of Throwdown with Bobby Flay. The moment I saw everyone’s reaction after sampling the dessert, I decided to take on the challenge of one of Bobby’s laborious recipes.
I found his five-star recipe for pumpkin bread pudding with spicy caramel apple sauce and vanilla bean creme anglaise on the Food Network website. I first made the homemade pumpkin bread, which turned out moist and rich with flavor. Next, I made the homemade caramel sauce and vanilla bean creme anglaise.
I had to improvise a bit because I did not have every ingredient in the recipe. For example, instead of using bourbon for the pudding, I used whiskey. I also did not have any star anise for the cream anglaise, so I left this ingredient out. However, I doubt I would include star anise even if I had some in my spice cabinet because I am not a fan of licorice.
Next time I make this dish, I will split the task up into two days, making the bread, caramel and creme anglaise the day before. This way, I would only have to make the pudding and bake the dish the day I want to serve the dessert.
The other day, my dad rented the Nom Nom truck to serve food at his office in Carson for a couple of hours. Although I was still recovering from wisdom teeth surgery, I did not want to miss out on this opportunity. Who would reject free food?
My dad told his co-workers that I was coming to the office and the first thing people asked was if I was going to bring cupcakes. Apparently, baking cupcakes is my key to acceptance in his office. Some of the people I met that day even referred to me as “the cupcake girl.”
I’m a vanilla fiend, but had never worked with real vanilla bean before. Just a heads up, vanilla bean is expensive—it cost about $12 for a jar containing two vanilla beans.
I decided to bake vanilla bean cupcakes injected with a fluffy chocolate filling and topped with vanilla bean frosting. The filling and frosting were delectable, however, I was not satisfied with the cupcake—it was too dry for my liking. Since I did not want the first batch to go to waste, I still brought them to the office; however, I made another batch of cupcakes, but this time made Ina Garten’s vanilla cupcakes topped with my mom’s refreshing cream cheese frosting recipe. I was much more pleased with the texture of these cakes. The top of the cupcake was slightly crisp, while the inside was fluffy and moist.
I am only going to post the recipe for Ina Garten’s vanilla cupcake, but will still include the recipe for the chocolate filling and vanilla bean frosting, as both were delicious! If you would like the vanilla bean cupcake recipe, please let me know via posting a comment.
* The first four photos are of the vanilla bean cupcake and the last two are of the vanilla cupcakes. Both cupcakes have the chocolate filling.