One thing I don’t have a shortage of lately is bananas, bananas that have seen better days. I swear bananas are different than they used to be. They used to ripen fairly quickly going yellow and then developing brown freckles then they eventually went brown all over and if not used up by then they would be on their way to being black. These days they go from green yellow, immediately to solid black in less than a week. I eat a couple of bananas a day on a regular basis but I seem to end up with a few of black bananas in storage by the end of the week. Worse yet the bananas inside the skins are grey and look wholly unappetising.
So what to do with old bananas? Banana bread or in this case banana cake was the obvious answer. Banana cake is great after a few days, it gets soft and develops a stronger banana flavour as it gets a little older but it is at its best (in my opinion) when it comes out of the over, hot and steaming and crunchy around the sides (I love that crunchy edge). I could eat a whole cake just like that on my own. To avoid this tragic turn of events this weekend, I cooked two banana cakes. That way I could eat half of each and everyone else still got a sample and I feel like I haven’t eaten a whole cake myself (two halves do not equal a whole if you make a square and a circle, they are just not the same thing at all).
I just had so many bananas laying about I had to do something. To be honest with you, we collectively ate two half cakes and I froze half of each for a later date. Much of what I ate was straight out of the oven though and it was so good I had one of those ‘I am full but just want to keep eating’ moments. I used two different recipes, one was voted ‘the best banana cake ever’ by a group of 11 year olds (an obvious ‘must try’ in that case) and the other was named ‘exquisite banana cake’ which grabbed my attention immediately. Having tried both (both fresh from the oven and later down the track I will say this about them:
Best Ever Banana Cake (round cake) – I understand why this was voted for by the kids, it has a high sugar ratio and is sweeter and denser than the other cake. I enjoyed it but felt it lacked something (probably nutmeg)
Exquisite Banana Cake (square cake) – This was a more grown up version, less sugar and it had nutmeg (I like nutmeg), very simple ingredient list and my favourite of the two.
Both recipes are below and both are courtesy of kidspot.com.au (I have linked the above recipe critiques to the original recipes)
125g butter, softened
1 1/2 cup castor sugar
2 eggs (60g), beaten
1 cup (approx. 2 large) ripe bananas, mashed
5 drops vanilla
250g plain flour
1 tsp bicarb soda
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp allspice
1/2 cup milk
1 tsp lemon juice
Preheat oven to 180C. Butter and line a square cake tin.
Cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, bananas and vanilla.
Sift the dry ingredients together.
Mix together the milk and lemon juice.
Alternating, add the dry ingredients and the milk, beating between each addition.
Bake in the oven for approximately 45 mins or until a skewer comes out clean.
Rest in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
Exquisite banana cake
125g butter and dash of vanilla essence
¾ cup castor sugar
3 ripe bananas – could do 4 if you want it really bananary
200g lite sour cream (I used Greek yoghurt)
2 cups self raising flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon allspice
1 teaspoon nutmeg
Cream butter, vanilla and sugar. Add eggs and mix.
Mash bananas and mix in sour cream.
Add to rest of mixture.
Add all dry ingredients to banana mixture.
Bake at 180ºC for 45 minutes.
Ice if desired.(really there is no need but if you want to, try a cream cheese frosting)