banana crumble cake

When I was in Brisbane last month I had some spare time to fill. I hadn't brought anything with me to read so I spent some time going through my parents copy of Stephanie Alexander's book, The Cook's Companion, bookmarking recipes I'd like to try when I was back home in my own kitchen.

I found lots of things I'd like to make but what caught my eye was this simple banana cake, topped with a walnut crumble. I do like a good old fashioned banana cake.

The key to a good banana cake is to use manky old bananas, the browner the better.  The Asian grocery store across the street from where I work, often sells battered and bruised bananas for $1.00 a bunch. I bought a bunch then waited another week until they were even more battered and bruised before mashing the bananas to make the cake. The ones you see photographed are not the ones I used, as they're not very photogenic. I had everything else I needed in my pantry so come Sunday morning I set to work.

Here's the recipe for you which is adapted from Stephanie Alexander’s Simple Banana Cake, from The Cook’s Companion while the topping comes from Belinda Jeffery's book Mix and Bake. The recipe can be baked in a 8 inch square cake or in a loaf tin. For all my recipes I use a 250 ml cup, a 20 ml tablespoon, unsalted butter and 60g eggs. My oven is a conventional gas oven so if your oven is fan forced you may need to reduce the oven temperature by 20°C. 

Banana Crumble Cake
Walnut or pecan topping
17g plain flour
27g brown sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon 
15g cold unsalted butter, cut into small chunks
35g pecans or walnuts

Place the flour, sugar, cinnamon and butter into a small food processor and whiz to combine. Add the nuts and pulse until the nuts are coarsely chopped. Tip into a bowl and chill while you prepare the cake batter.

125g softened unsalted butter
1 cup caster sugar
2 eggs
1 cup mashed ripe banana
1 tsp vanilla
200g self raising flour
50 g plain flour
pinch salt
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup buttermilk or yoghurt

Preheat oven to 180°C. Grease and line the base and sides of a loaf tin with baking paper. 

Cream the butter, sugar and vanilla until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs and the banana. Sift dry ingredients into a bowl and add to mixture, alternating with buttermilk or yoghurt. Spoon the mixture into tin, levelling the top then scatter the topping over the cake batter. Bake for 1½ hours or until a fine skewer inserted comes out clean.

Cool cake in its tin on a wire rack for a few minutes before turning out. Cool completely before cutting and storing in an airtight tin.

The cake came out of the tin smelling delicious whilst the cake itself was dense moist and redolent of bananas. If you don't fancy making the walnut topping you could ice the banana cake with a simple lemon icing or top with cream cheese icing. I still have some mashed banana in the freezer and have a few more banana cake/bread recipes I'd like to try.

See you all again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,


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