The humble banana cake is one of two cakes that really defined my childhood. So much so, that I can virtually taste the nostalgia and the warm Perth summer air with every bite. There is still magic in cakes such as these and to forget them in a sea of 8-texured or 10-layered-mousse what-nots would be a massive shame. We can have our dazzling modern cakes but lets not forget their classic origins. Now bananas. Sexy looking fruit but for me it needs to me jazzed up, baked, pulverised, fried or obliterated into smoothies. Otherwise by itself, it’s a little… unexciting. But in this cake, it’s divine. Divine I tell you! How many more camp superlatives can I throw in? Oh honey, it’s fabulous!
Seriously though, this could be the best banana cake that I’ve ever tasted.*pause for dramatic effect*Let me tell you why.
First the frosting. Normally I prefer the cake by its pure self but here? I can’t imagine life without it. It’s ultra smooth and light because there is absolutely no sugar in it. Yup, no overbearing toothaching sweetness or grittiness from icing sugar – zilch. Just the most silky frosting with a beautifully creamy tang from the cream cheese and sour cream and a little body from the butter. Most amazing is the addition of white chocolate in place of icing sugar, which gives it the required sweetness but just a hint to complement rather than overpower. And surprisingly enough, there is barely a taste of white chocolate, which to me, is always too cloying.
I’m going to stop talking now, because there’s still half a cake left and I’m going bananas for a piece. Folks, I urge you to try this. If you like bananas, then you’ll go ape for this cake. Try it, love it and to thank me, send some fruit my way because something tells me that I’m going to be making it again soon.
2 large very ripe bananas, peeled and broken into pieces
116g sour cream
1.5 tsps vanilla extract
1 tsp lemon zest
170g caster sugar
120ml canola oil
200g cake flour (or 30g cornflour plus 170g plain flour)
1/4 tsp salt
1.5 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Preheat oven to 175°C. Grease and line a 22-23cm springform cake tin (9-inch).
In a food processor, add the bananas and sour cream and blend until smooth. Make sure to scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula to incorporate it all.
Add the eggs, vanilla and zest and process for about 10 seconds until smooth. Scrape out into a large mixing bowl.
Add the sugar to banana mixture and with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk until combined. Gradually add the oil, beating it until it’s completely mixed through.
Sift over combined dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and bicarb) and mix on low speed until the ingredients have moistened and it has combined.
Scrape into your prepared pan and bake for 40-50 minutes until skewer comes out clean (mine took around 50-55 minutes in the 23cm pan – it’ll take longer if you’re using a slightly smaller tin). Remove from oven and cool in tin for about 10 minutes, then turn out and cool on wire rack with the top side up.
Cream Cheese White Chocolate Frosting
Note – if you’re using a 20-22cm pan, half of this batch could be enough to ice just the top. For me, I used a full batch for a 23cm tin and still had plenty for the top and sides).
170g white chocolate (with cocoa butter), chopped
225g cream cheese, softened but still cool
55g unsalted butter, softened but still cool
15g sour cream
In a double boiler or bowl over gentle simmering water (make sure the bottom of the bowl isn’t touching the water), melt the white chocolate. Remove from heat and set aside until it is cool but still fluid.
In a food processor, process the cream cheese, butter and sour cream until mixed and smooth. Make sure to scrape down the sides with a silicone spatula to incorporate it all. Add the cooled white chocolate and mix until it’s all smooth and mixed. If it’s a little soft, firm it up in the fridge before icing.
Place cake on a serving plate and spread the frosting on the top. Cake has to be stored in the fridge and personally, I prefer to eat this chilled but if you like, you can bring it to room temperature to soften the frosting (which will firm up when cold).
Recipe adapted from Rose Levy Beranbaum.