So my colleagues are guilty of cruelty to bananas. They were going to bin these two dear, sweet old fellows. Just because they are no longer tinged with the yellow blush of youth, their flesh no longer firm and tender. It’s ageist, I tell you. These guys are in the prime of their life. Give them a chance, sometimes age brings a luscious maturity, a little extra something that the young kids of the banana world can never match. As soon as I sniffed the sweet sweet smell of overripeness, and touched their wrinkled speckled skin I knew – it’s caking time!!
I wish I could capture the fresh-banana-cake-smell and put it in a bottle, it’d outsell any perfume I know (well maybe not, just among the foodies, and even then..well nevermind). There’s a caramel richness that you can only find in old bananas, so old that there’s hardly a yellow spot left on their skin. These two started the day as lightly freckled, and I am ashamed to admit that I tied them in a plastic bag and left them in a warm spot to speed up the aging process. Think of it as how you would think of growing up as a little kid, you always wanted to grow up faster didn’t you? To be baked into a sweet, moist, caramelly, fragrent, soft banana cake? You know you did!
I’ve tried a bunch of banana cake recipes, and the one below is my favourite. It’s not too sweet, and the texture is just the right combination of soft, moist and springy. And not to mention the intense banananana flavour. There are extra nanas because it’s extra banana-ry. Also, it tastes most similar to Malaysian style banana cake – none of this fussy nonsense with cinnamon and nutmeg! Eat it straight up, in the morning, no icing. And don’t be a traitor, don’t ever, ever use banana essence instead of your brownest banana buddies. They taste best in cake when they’re brown like milk chocolate, all over.
Lea’s Favourite Banana Cake / Kek Pisang
Borrowed from Kitchen Guardian and hardly changed at all.
Plain flour – 175g
Baking powder – 2 teasp
Bicarbonate of Soda – half a teasp
Salt – half a teasp
Butter (unsalted) – 125g, melted
Brown sugar – 120g. A note on sugar: I don’t like my everyday cakes too sweet, and I consider banana cake to be an everyday cake. If you like it sweeter, the original recipe uses 150g.
Eggs – 2
Bananas – the equivalent of 2 large bananas. Use the brownest you can find!
Vanilla extract – 1 teasp
Oven temperature: 170 degrees C
- Sift flour, bicarb soda, baking powder and salt. Don’t be lazy! This stops lumps of bicarb soda appearing in the middle of your cake. It doesn’t taste nice, even lazy me sifts.
Science flash: bicarbonate of soda, or sodium bicarbonate, is mildly alkaline in water. It’s also used in mouthwash, as a cleaning solution, and to kill fungus (biopesticide). You really don’t want big chunks of this nasty tasting but useful stuff hiding in your cake.
- Mix melted butter and sugar well.
- Add eggs, one at a time.
- Mash the bananas and add that too. If your bananas are brown enough, this should be easy!
- Fold the wet mix into the dry mix in 3 batches. Don’t over mix.
- Pour into a greased baking tin.
- Bake until a toothpick comes out clean. I made two smaller cakes, it took 35 minutes. If you make a larger cake it will take a bit longer, between 45 minutes and an hour – but I suggest you check it around the 45 minute mark anyway, no one likes burnt cake!
One for my banana-binning colleagues, and one for me. There have to be some perks to late weeknight baking. It’s especially fun when the people you are baking for don’t know you’ve eaten half the result first (lets hope they don’t find this blog).
* Royal Society for Prevention of Cruelty to Bananas