Okay, so healthy might be a strong word. But this recipe is healthier than possibly all other cakes I make, and jam-packed full of fruit. What is even better about this cake is that it lasts. In fact – it gets better with age. I KNOW. It’s ridiculous. But put it in a cake tin, come back a week later, and the only change is that it is a little stickier and more lovely than the day you made it. So go on – get baking, and feel great that you can both eat cake, and get loads of good stuff down you in one fell swoop. I know people are going on about the high sugar content of fruit at the moment, but if we are going to indulge, surely a fruit-based indulgence is better than a chocolate, or cream-based one?
This healthy banana cake recipe hails from a Hummingbird Bakery book that I enjoy using, and decided spontaneously to change one day. I made the potentially dangerous decision to add more fruit (I am never an advocate of ruining cake by making it healthy, I keep culinary pleasure and abstinence separate, wherever possible) and was rather pleased with the outcome. Well. I was over the moon. What do you think?
Healthy Banana Cake
270g brown sugar (we often mix half-and-half golden caster with muscovado for that sticky sweetness)
2 free-range eggs
c. 300g mashed banana (I generally use 4 medium, over-ripe bananas)
280g plain flour
1tsp baking powder
1tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp ground ginger
140g unsalted butter (melted to liquid)
1 handful chopped nuts (I often use walnuts, or hazelnuts)
small handful chopped dried fruit (I use dates, figs and cranberries)
small handful raisins
(one 23-13cm loaf tin, or a shallower, square cake tin of similar volume, lined in greaseproof paper)
Preheat your oven to 170c/Gas Mark 3.
Put the sugar and eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk (use an electric whisk, unless you’re insane) and beat. When well mixed, add your mushed bananas and beat some more, until you have a nice smooth batter.
Next, add the flour, baking powder, bicarb, ginger and cinnamon to the batter, whisking until all the dry ingredients have been well incorporated. Now add your dried fruits and nuts of choice (you can do this recipe without them too – but I genuinely think it’s not as nice) and either gently whisk or fold in, until they too are well incorporated into the mixture.
Having craftily microwaved your butter during this last step (or melted it using another method), add it to your batter mix and whisk/bear until well incorporated.
Now pour the batter into your cake tin, smooth it over if it’s at all lumpy, and put into your preheated oven to cook for AGES – about an hour. Check on it after 45 minutes, and use the skewer test. If the skewer comes out clean – hey presto, she’s ready. Leave to cool (an unbearable process) and then turn out of your cake tin, smug in the knowledge that you have a week’s worth (at least!) of tasty, tasty banana cake hiding somewhere in your kitchen.