There is something very cheeky about a banana cake. It’s a cake somehow magical enough to lull eaters into the false delusion that they’re consuming something almost healthy. With the notion of banana and its loaf tin appearance it allows consumers to relish in a phony sense of angelic healthy smugness whilst they’re actually eating a slice of a naughty carb laden cake. I mean yes it’s packed full of banana goodness but it’s still a cake, a delicious cake but clearly a cake.
This banana cake was a direct result, yet again, of too much fruit and not enough time to eat it! The bunch of bananas perched upon my kitchen bench were growing black spots right before my eyes and teetering on the edge of becoming irreparably overripe, even too smooshy for my beloved banana smoothie routine.
With no other option (other than making banana baby food for a baby I don’t have) I had to bake some sort of delicious baked banana treat and banana cake with lemon cream cheese icing and shredded coconut is what I came up with. The cake used three of the overripe speckled bananas which fully alleviated any of my fruit wastage guilt.
I started by ridding the banana of their skins and pummelling until completely mashed, I then added a ¼ cup of bush honey to the mashed bananas so to infuse the banana with all of the gorgeous honey, warming and sweet flavours. Honey and banana are a classic flavour combination, one of which I have adored since my childhood thanks to a daily breakfast of weetbix, banana and honey with milk.
Cooking food like this banana cake gives me a real sense of satisfaction. I mean I just adore the fact that the kitchen allows you to perform cooking alchemy and by that I mean being able to take seemingly ordinary, almost ‘over the hill’ produce and with just a few minutes of serene baking turn them into a cake that is full of deliciousness and that is actually made better because of the ‘state’ the main ingredient was in. Take for instance trying to use perfectly ripe, bright yellow, blemish free bananas for this recipe, it just wouldn’t work as beautifully, there would be less banana flavour and the consistency would not be right at all.
A cake that’s full of densely rich banana, warming cinnamon and sweet honey calls for a light lemon spiked icing, something to freshen and lift the cake. This icing is a wonderful combination of cream cheese, icing sugar (of course), lemon zest and juice and does exactly what it’s meant to; it provides a zesty, tart and light contrast to the densely sweet cake. To freshen up the cake a little further and to add a touch of a tropical vibe I gave the cake a final flourish of toasted shredded coconut. This cake is completely gorgeous, full of banana however manages to remain light and zesty thanks to the delicious lemon cream cheese icing and shredded coconut. Enjoy, K x
Banana Loaf Cake w’ Lemon Cream Cheese Icing & Shredded Coconut
Adapted from Taste.com
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 cup yoghurt
100ml extra light olive oil
1 tsp vanilla essence
3 ripe bananas, mashed
2 tablespoons bush honey
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup caster sugar
1/4 cups self-raising flour
1/4 cup plain flour
250g cream cheese, at room temperature, chopped
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
3/4 cup pure icing sugar, sifted
1 tsp fresh lemon juice
2 tbs shredded coconut, toasted
Preheat oven to 180°C. Brush a 21cm loaf pan with butter to grease. Whisk the eggs, yoghurt, oil and vanilla essence in a medium bowl until well combined. Stir in the banana and honey. Add the brown sugar and caster sugar and stir until well combined. Sift the combined flour over the egg mixture and stir until well combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Bake in oven for 40-45 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Set aside in the pan for 20 minutes to cool slightly before turning onto a wire rack to cool completely. Use an electric beater to beat the cream cheese and lemon rind in a bowl until smooth. Gradually add the icing sugar and beat until well combined. Stir in the lemon juice. Spread the icing over the cake and sprinkle with the coconut to serve.