Baking 52: Banana Cake
My mother made banana cake using the Edmonds cookbook recipe, a New Zealand staple. I remember it being slightly spicy, speckled and banana-rich, but when I’ve tried to recreate that with the NZ recipe, I get a perfectly respectable plain banana cake that is nowhere close to my memory.
I decided, as one does at four am in the morning when the toddler is finally asleep again, that I needed cake for breakfast. I had a few recipes bookmarked for this and in the comments on one recipe suggested adding coconut flakes and coconut milk to replace some of the flour and milk respectively.
Again, as I told my son when he saw me measuring out baking powder by shaking a pile into my palm, this is not an exact recipe. It doesn’t have to be, because banana cake is a very moist and forgiving recipe with fairly strong flavours.
Start by turning on the oven to about 160 celsius. Then I mashed up some bananas with a teaspoon of vanilla essence. I had some squishy pisang-type bananas, the little ones, and popped six of them in to blend briefly and set aside in a bowl.
I didn’t clean the thermomix after that, but tipped in 150g of butter and about 120g of brown sugar. It should be the same amount, but I cut back on the sugar because the bananas are so sweet already. I creamed it (Setting 4/10 seconds or so) and then added two eggs, one at a time with a brief pulse to blend.
I didn’t habe any self-raising flour, so for about 200g of plain flour, I added a generous teaspoonful of baking powder, plus a scant teaspoon of baking soda. I added another 40g of dessicated coconut, and a generous teaspoon or so of ground nutmeg and cinnamon each, and then decided to replace the milk entirely with a packet of coconut cream because – well, it was very early in the morning and I hadn’t had any coffee yet and I thought bugger it, see what happens. I meant to add only about 50g of cream, but ended up tipping all of it in, about 100g.
Then it was all mixed for about 10 seconds twice on speed 4, stopping to push down the sides. It was lovely thick batter that filled the round tin up. I sprinkled some more dessicated coconut on top and set the oven rack a little lower so the coconut would toast and not burn by the time the cake was ready. I check after 40minutes, gave it another 5 minutes to get golden on top and checked if a knife came out clean and let it cool down for a while.
The cake rose well and cut into big tender slices. The taste was very coconutty – more like a very moist, slightly banana-flavoured coconut cake. Half of it has already been eaten by my family.
Next time, I’d like to try a vegan variation, with applesauce for the eggs and vegetable oil for the butter, no coconut to replace the flour, and possibly some honey with the sugar, and coconut milk instead of cream. And possibly some allspice.