Banana cake

Now, I’m not much of a baker… but every now and then I get a craving for cake. And my personal brand of laziness is of that special kind whereby I can’t be bothered going to the market, but I can somehow scrape myself off my bum to make whatever it is I’ve developed that hankering for 😛

And that’s how my banana cake recipe was born – in a moment of lazy craving whereby I knew I could satisfy my own desire without having to leave the house, and I’d be able to use up those sorry-looking overripe bananas, if only I’d be willing to put in an hour’s meditative kitchen work… which is easy, as most of it is just wait-time 😉

I like my banana cake light on cinnamon and heavy on vanilla, with a smattering of blueberries for the occasional sweet burst of fruitiness. You can dial up or down any of the flavourings and extras in this recipe, so long as you stick to the quantities listed for the basics. You can make this one either as a loaf or as a round cake, but be sure to use a large tin either way, as this is a dense, crumby cake despite being a high-riser, and it won’t cook through properly if you use too small a tin (yes, I learned that the hard way myself…).

Let’s get cracking, and you can have yerself a slice with your morning coffee… 😉

Flavour: Sweet & fruity

Yield: 1 large loaf, or 1 medium-sized cake

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • half teaspoon salt
  • 4 overripe bananas
  • three quarters cup of sugar – I use a mix of raw sugar and rapadura
  • light sprinkle of cinnamon (really, go easy on the cinnamon – you want to taste the banana!)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla essence (you could omit this if you don’t have any)
  • 1 teaspoon vinegar (apple cider vinegar is an unobtrusive flavour for baking purposes)
  • quarter cup unflavoured oil – I use sunflower oil
  • quarter cup warm water

Optional extras:

  • 1 cup frozen blueberries – I highly recommend going this route 😉
  • half cup chopped walnuts

Directions:

  1. Preheat your oven to 180c
  2. Lightly grease your chosen baking tin – I tend to use nuttelex, as tins greased with plain oil tend to leave the cake with a slightly crispy, almost fried layer on the outside, which isn’t very nice on a cake
  3. Sift the flour into a large mixing bowl – lift your sieve up high as you do this to get lots of air through the flour, as this will help it rise
  4. Add the baking soda and salt, and stir through
  5. Mash the bananas with a fork in a separate bowl (to which you’ll add all the other ingredients)
  6. Add the sugar, cinnamon and vanilla essence; mash it through until there are only small lumps – you won’t get a completely smooth batter without using an electric whisk, but that’s fine
  7. Add the oil and vinegar to your mashed banana mix, and stir in until well combined
  8. Add the water to your mashed banana mix, and stir well
  9. Gradually stir your mashed banana mix into your flour with a spatula, combining gently as you go
  10. If you’re adding blueberries or nuts, stir them in gently at this stage – don’t worry about trying to get an even spread; an asymmetrical result can be more charming than homogeneity 😉
  11. Once your mixture is well combined, transfer it to your baking tin (no need to try and get it really smooth on top, as it’ll rise up and crack anyway, leaving it with a rustic finish), and pop it in the oven for 45 minutes
  12. At the 45 minute mark, test to see if your cake is done by poking a skewer into it – if the skewer comes out clean, your cake is ready;
    • Amateur tip: it the skewer comes out gooey, don’t panic! Cover the cake with foil, turn the heat down to 150 and leave in for another 5-10 minutes, checking regularly – it’ll come out a little denser, but will still be lovely
  13. When your cake is cooked through, take it out of the oven and rest it for 5 minutes before transferring it to a cooking rack (or a chopping board, as I generally use)

You can have this cake warm or cold, and it’s different either way. I never manage to wait until it’s cooled before I need that first slice, so don’t hold back on my account! Having said that, the cooled cake is a denser, sweeter experience that’s worth waiting for, so don’t finish the lot before you get to try it!

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