Tis the season to be eating. Whilst I'm not much of a domestic goddess these days (not in the kitchen anyway; if ironing and picking up after the males of my life count then I am well into godliness) there is something about Christmas that puts the baking spirit in me. I find myself brainstorming recipes at work and sectioning off my weekends according to what I should bake/bring to which events. It may sound stressful to some but to me, I'm embracing the chance to touch up my baking skills.
Marc and I try to be healthy most of the time but I believe it'll be increasingly difficult until after Christmas. I'm sure that's why new years resolutions were invented. In any case, I don't make things any easier by all the baking I've been doing. One of my projects last weekend was a banana cake. I absolutely adore banana bread. If I could eat anything I wanted without putting on weight, it would be a staple in my diet. I've whipped up a large number of banana loaves and cakes for this blog.
To name a few:
- Banana bread with passionfruit glaze
- Banana and carrot bread
- Banana cake with white choc frosting and cashew praline
- Banana and white chocolate mudcake with caramel frosting
It's no secret that I love eating and baking banana products. There have been a multitude of interesting and delicious concoctions but for this occasion, I decided to stick to the basics. I found a recipe for a classic banana cake in a magazine at work and it sounded perfect. It used a cream cheese frosting, which I believe is the ultimate unbeatable topping to banana cake (and carrot cake). I only modified the recipe slightly by reducing the amount of icing sugar used in the frosting and adding some lemon zest.
Banana Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting
Makes 1 whole cake
- 1 and 1/2 cups plain flour
- 3 tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp bicarb soda
- 2-3 large, very ripe bananas (I used 2 large ones to get the 1 cup)
- 1 and 2/3 cup caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 125g unsalted butter, at room temperature
- 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- toasted pecans, to decorate
For the icing
- 250g cream cheese, at room temperature
- 125g unsalted butter at room temperature
- 500g icing sugar, sifted (I used about 400g)
- 1 and 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
- zest of 1 lemon (optional extra)
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line a 25cm cake pan (I used springform for easy removal).
2. Process the flour, baking powder, salt and bicarb soda in a food processor until combined. Tip into a bowl and set aside.
4. Add the sugar and eggs. Process for 1 minute. Add the butter and process for a minute more until thick and creamy.
5. Add the milk and vanilla. Pulse until just mixed.
6. Add the reserved flour mixture and pulse until only just combined.
7. Spoon the batter into the prepared cake tin.
8. Bake for 30-35 minutes or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
9. Cool for 7 minutes in the tin before inverting the cake onto a rack to cool completely.
11. To construct the cake, the original recipe suggests slicing the cake horizontally in half and sandwiching with icing before topping and coating the sides with icing. I modified (see below).
12. Top with toasted pecans before serving.
I didn't want the cake to be too rich so my version is just a thick single layer of icing on top. Of course that means I was left with about half that quantity of icing so if you plan on doing it my way, it's worthwhile to consider halving the quantity of icing to start with.
The recipe is really easy considering you just need to pop everything in a food processor for the batter and again for the icing. I've done this type of thing in a stand mixer before so I'm sure you could use that instead.
The cake itself was a big success in our group. The texture is perfectly banana cakey with all the elements of dense, moist and slightly sticky plus a distinct banana flavour. Even though I reduced the amount of icing sugar in my frosting, I still thought it was a tad too sweet. I don't think I would have been able to handle an extra layer of frosting in the middle of the cake! Marc, who was eating the excess cream cheese frosting straight out of its tub would probably beg to differ.
Banana cake keeps well in the fridge, covered but it is ideally brought back to room temperature before serving. I feel that the flavour develops more the next day so you should bake this a day before you plan to serve it. From past experience, you can freeze un-iced portions of cake and defrost in the fridge when you want to eat it. That can last for months assuming you have the will power.