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A touch of caramel (Banana Cake)

April 22, 2010

I’d been planning this cake in my head for a while. I wanted to bake an impressive, yet everyday cake. When I saw that the bananas in the fruit bowl were starting to look a little too black to eat I knew it would be banana cake.

I wanted it to be more than just banana bread though, ideas of chocolate and banana combination, or a cinnamon and demerara sugar crust fleeted into mind, and then flew straight back out again. The idea of a cake drizzled in caramel just kept coming back to me, but I couldn’t get the idea of upside-down apple cake, which a friend made a few weeks ago, out of my head. Stewing on these ideas for a few days, led me to a banana upside down cake with caramel icing.

And it worked, and it was beautiful, and its gone. E came over for tea today, took one look at the cake and said ‘I thought you made that yesterday?’ with a confused look. I did. What can I say? It was a good cake.

The recipe is based on the banana loaf in the hummingbird bakery cookbook, but I reduced the amount of sugar, so that it could take all the caramel I decided to drizzle over as well as icing. I’m very glad I did, it came out sweet enough, even without all my extra sugar additions. I left out the spices as one of my flatmates is allergic to cinnamon, and with all the caramel going on I didn’t think it needed the extra flavours.

Cake:

140g melted butter

200g caster sugar

2 eggs

4 bananas – 200g mashed, the rest sliced

200g self-raising flour

80g wholemeal flour (or self-raising flour)

1 tsp baking powder

1tsp bicarb of soda

extra 25g of butter and 25g of caster sugar (or demerara, or dark brown soft sugar)

Preheat oven to 180˚C, grease and line 2 8-inch sandwich tins.

Cover the base of one of the baking tins with the sliced bananas, heat the 25g of sugar with a little water until golden, then beat int he 25g butter. Pour over the bananas. Set aside.

Wisk eggs and sugar together, beat in the mashed banana.

Add flour baking powder, bicarb of soda to sugar mixture, mix.

Beat in melted butter.

Pour half of the mixture into each baking tin, taking care not to disturb the bananas. Bake for 15-20 mins, or until cooked.

Caramel Syrup:

~ 75g sugar (demerara or caster)

~ 25g butter

Heat sugar with a ~ 1/4 cup of water until golden, stir in butter.

As soon as the cake comes out of the oven, poke holes in it with a skewer and pour over the syrup. Let the cake cool completely before taking it out of the tin.

Caramel Icing:

~75g sugar (caster or demerara)

~150ml cream

~100g icing sugar

~50g softened butter

Heat the sugar with a little water until golden, then stir in the cream. Continue to heat and stir until it thickens a little.

Take the caramel off the heat and leave to cool, beating occasionally.

When the caramel is nearly cool, but not set beat together with the icing sugar and butter.

Use to fill the centre of the cake.

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