Thursday, 20 March 2014

Old Banana Cake

Mmmm old bananas... how enticingly delicious, I hear you say!

I bought loads of bananas from the market recently, and this particular batch had a slightly odd over-ripe taste from the beginning... like super-strong banana flavour, even though they were bought under-ripe?! Weird. 
Apologies for the rather uninspiring phone picture of my last piece of cake - I promise you it was very moist and delicious!

Anyway I needed to use them up, and cooking them with various sinful things turned out to be a great way to disguise their slightly 'old' taste. 

Obviously if anyone fancies trying this recipe, you don't have to hunt down ready-fermenting fruits, any slightly blackened, nice and normal bananas will do!

Pre-heat the oven to 170°C


60g gluten free plain flour mix (I used Doves Farm)
40g ground almonds
1/2 tsp baking powder
1-2tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp xantham gum (optional)
1 egg, separated
70g granulated sugar
30g soft brown sugar
100g butter substitute (I think 'Pure' is pretty good for baking)
1 overly-ripe banana, well mashed.
40g walnut pieces 
Icing sugar (optional), to serve.

(You will need an electric mixer/strong arms & at least 3 medium sized mixing bowls)


  1. Combine the flour, almonds, walnuts, cinnamon and baking powder in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter, brown sugar and about half of the granulated sugar until smooth and creamy. Stir in the egg yolk and the mashed banana.
  3. Using the electric mixer (or your very strong forearms), beat the egg white in a very clean bowl until it forms firm meringue-like peaks. This usually takes my cheap hand mixer about 3 minutes. As it reaches a foamy stage, gradually add the remaining granulated sugar, and whisk that in too.
  4. Add the dry ingredients into the banana mixture and mix until just beginning to come together, then add the xantham gum, if you are using it. The mixture will be quite dry.
  5. Add a spoonful of the egg white 'meringue' to loosen the cake mix, and fold in as gently as possible. Fold in the remaining egg white, being careful not to knock the air out of it, until all is just combined.
  6. Spoon the mixture into either cupcake cases or a greased and lined cake tin, and pop into the oven until golden - about 12-15 minutes for cupcakes, and a couple of minutes longer if you make a single cake. I did both, and just kept an eye on them after 12 minutes, as our oven isn't always very reliable! Prick the cakes with a toothpick to test if they are cooked through - it should come out clean. 
  7. Dust with icing sugar and ground cinnamon to serve.

  • If you're not doing a gluten-free version, you can simplify this by omitting the egg separating and whisking stage -  I've found adding whisked egg whites to gluten-free baking really helps lighten up otherwise dense and stodgy cakes.
  • When whisking up the egg whites into a 'meringue', the bowl needs to be scrupulously clean and egg whites completely untainted by yolk/butter/other proteins, otherwise it just won't whip.
  • I find it better to work fairly quickly once wet and dry ingredients are combined. Raising agents start to work immediately, and gluten free bakes need all the raising help they can get!
  • Don't be tempted to over-mix the cake batter -  the raising agents will be working and too much mixing will just release any air being produced, and you'll get saggy dense cakes!
  • I don't entirely trust cooking times given in recipes - actual oven temperature can vary significantly, and if gluten free cake is overcooked and dry, it's awful - that's why I prefer to keep a close eye on my babies time-wise, and alter the temperature slightly if need be.

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