Saturday, July 14, 2007

Banana Cake

I have a low fat recipe for banana cake...this is not it! Until recently I haven't been a big eater of banana cake. I started to make the low fat recipe because it was on hand, not because it was low fat. The cake is actually quite good. It uses wholemeal flavour and as a result has a great texture and is a little nutty. I'm not sure why I decided to bake, but I did and thought this time I might have a crack at the real deal. That gamble definitely payed off.

In my quest to bake all of my recipes I don't often step outside my standard collection of chefs and cooks. This is no exception, with the cake coming from Stephanie Alexander's Cooks Companion. I'm no expert on banana cake recipes but I think this one is pretty damn good. It's quite easy and straightforward to make, creating very little washing up along the way. The recipe suggested a brown sugar and walnut topping, to be added before baking. But I was keen to have a nice thick icing. The low fat cake has a very poor excuse for icing, it's main drawback actually. It's a watery mix of icing sugar, lemon juice and water. Where's the butter you may ask? Well that wouldn't be low fat would it. To make up for previous deprivation I aimed for a thick, rich cream cheese frosting from Women's Weekly Cupcakes. I'm always on the search for a great cream cheese icing. This one was pretty good. Nice and thick on the cake. I think next time I will increase the cream cheese just a tad.

So am I wholeheartedly converted to banana cake? Absolutely. I will revert back to the low fat cake on occasion. I enjoy providing kilojoule-conscious friends with clear conscience cake. I might swap the pathetic slop of icing for the creamy, cheesy delight however.

The full fat ensemble goes something like this:

Simple Banana Cake (Ali-K's version)
125 g softened unsalted butter
1.5 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 ripe bananas, mashed (this is the perfect banana balance for me and can depend on the size of the bananas. If you prefer a more consistent result aim for 1 cup mashed banana)
A few drops (or small slosh) of vanilla essence

250 g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup buttermilk or 1/2 cup milk mixed with with 1 teaspoon lemon juice.

In true Ali-K style I realise as I type this that I left some ingredients out. You could add 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon and 1/8 ground allspice however the cake probably wont miss it, considering I didn't realise until now. Flatmate laughs and thinks I should make a guessing game of the things I leave out of recipes. At least it wasnt the bicarb this time!

Butter and flour a 22 cm square cake tine, then line base with baking paper. Preheat oven to 180 degrees.
Cream butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, banana and vanilla. Sift dry ingredients and add to the mixture, alternating with buttermilk.
Spoon into tin and bake for 1 hour or until a fine skewer inserted come out clean.
Cool cake in its tine on a wire rack for a few minutes before turning out. Cool completey before cutting or storing.

Cream Cheese Frosting
30 g butter
80 g cream cheese
1 1/2 cups icing sugar

Beat butter and cream cheese until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in sugar.


KJ said...

Yum, I make this cake all the time. It's my go to banana cake recipe. It's so good.

I'd be lost without my copy of the Cook's Companion. It's a brilliant book.

Ali-K said...

I agree KJ, it has everything you might ever need to know!

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