I bet without a doubt you have your favourite banana cake recipe. Your go-to cake to use up all those over ripe bananas that we all have lingering in the fruit bowl far too often. Am I right? This is mine. Let’s be specific it’s my banana cake filled with mascarpone, topped with cream cheese, crunchy banana chips and walnuts, drizzled with bourbon salted caramel sauce and scattered with pretty edible flowers. Yup it’s pretty darn good. It not only turns out every time, but it is also moist, full of flavour and has a wonderful dense crumb. What’s more it only uses around two bananas which is great because that’s what I normally have lurking in the fruit bowl, not four or five like some recipes call for. Now, did I mention this is no ordinary banana cake this has…wait for it…mascarpone cheese (mmmmm!!), cream cheese icing (delish!!) and, yes, bourbon salted caramel drizzle. Yup, this is a banana cake taken to the next level. However, although this might look spectacular it is actually pretty straightforward to make (it’s all in the edible flowers my friends, sprinkle a few of these over anything and it becomes instantly fancy looking).
Talking about favourite banana cakes, I couldn’t write this post without mentioning my husband’s colleague Didi (I really hope I spelt that right, sorry if I didn’t, eeek) I think she might be the biggest fan of my banana cake. I have only met her twice at two of my husband’s work functions (which she organised and were quite amazing by the way) but by all accounts she’s a treasure. Every year my husband is meant to bring a cake to work for his birthday (read: wife needs to bake a cake for husband to take to work for his birthday). Last year I made this banana cake and I am told it was quite popular in the joe room, so much so that there were requests for an encore in particular from Didi. So flash forward to his next birthday and out came the banana cake again. I was pretty happy to oblige, because, like I mentioned, this is actually pretty simple to put make despite appearances, so much so I’ll make the caramel and the cake the night before then in the morning before work quickly mix together the cream cheese icing while I’m having my breakfast and then decorate. The decorating is so forgiving when you embrace a “rustic” look (a.k.a. what I like to call it when it’s actually just me being my messy self) that you can put it together relatively quickly. Okay, so it is an incy wincy bit more work than you standard banana cake, but it is totally worth it – think gooey, bourbon laced caramel, creamy mascarpone, tangy cream cheese icing and crunchy walnuts and banana chips. A bit like a banoffee pie in cake form I guess. So, do you have any over-ripe bananas sitting in that fruit bowl of yours? Yes? Make this and I bet it will become your new go-to banana cake.
In other news….how do you all like the new look website? I thought it was time for an update so I really hope you all like it and find it easy to use. Make sure you have a poke around. Next on my list of things to do is update my logo. I have really loved my old logo but I think it’s time for an update too. Any suggestions? I would love to hear from all you creative, clever people. Let me know in the comments below! Thanks!
Bourbon Caramel Drizzle:
- 1/2 cup white caster sugar
- 1/2 cup cream
- 1 Tbsp bourbon omit if making for children
- pinch of sea salt
- 125 g/4oz butter softened
- 1 cup caster sugar
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 3 free-range eggs
- 2 cups plain all-purpose flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 3/4 cup 190g/6.75oz sour cream
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 cup ripe bananas mashed (approx. 2 large bananas)
Cream Cheese Icing:
- 250 g/ 1/2lb cream cheese softened
- 125 g/4.5oz one stick unsalted butter, softened
- 1 cup icing confectioner’s sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 200 g/7oz mascarpone cheese
- handful of walnuts and banana chips for decoration
- edible flowers for decoration
Bourbon Caramel Drizzle:
Sprinkle 1/4 cup of sugar over the bottom of a heavy based medium saucepan (I like to use my Le Creuset Dutch Oven for this) over medium heat. Once the sugar has almost completely melted sprinkle the rest of the sugar over and leave to melt until it turns a deep golden brown colour. You can stir the sugar as often as required while it is melting, but the less you can do the better as less lumps will form which take longer to melt. Using this “dry” method of melting sugar means that you can stir the sugar as often as you like, if you use the alternative method with added water then you cannot stir the sugar while it is melting.
While the sugar is melting place the cream in a small saucepan and heat over low heat until you see bubbles forming around the edge.
When the sugar is golden, remove from the heat, add the hot cream and stir vigorously to combine. Caution the sugar is very hot and the mixture will bubble up when you add the cream but it will subside relatively quickly and form a gooey, velvety caramel sauce.
Place back on the heat and add the bourbon and salt. Continue stirring for another 30 sec then remove from the heat and set aside to cool. You may want to transfer the caramel to another dish and place in the fridge to speed up the cooling process.
Preheat oven to 180C/350F. Grease and line a 20cm/8in ring cake tin (see note). Make sure the sides of your parchment paper stick up 5cm/2in higher than the tin because the cake rises quite a bit and this will prevent it spilling over.
Place butter, caster sugar and brown sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until pale and creamy.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. If the mixture looks like it is curdling then add 1 Tbsp of flour and this should fix it.
Sift in flour, baking powder and cinnamon and mix to combine.
Add the sour cream, vanilla and bananas and stir until just combined. Don’t over mix.
Spoon into preprepared cake tin then place in the oven to bake for 35-45 min or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted into the cake.
Remove from oven and allow to cool for 10 min in the tin before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.
Cream Cheese Icing:
While the cake is cooling make the cream cheese icing.
Place cream cheese and butter in the bowl of an electric mixer and beat until fluffy about 5 min.
Add the icing sugar then beat for another 10 min until pale and fluffy.
Drizzle in vanilla and beat until combined.
Cut cake in half.
Put mascarpone in a small bowl and beat until soft. Either pipe (see note) or spread the mascarpone over the bottom half of the cake.
Drizzle over approximately 1/4 cup of caramel.
Place the top half of the cake on to the bottom.
Spread over the cream cheese (I’m a bit messy with this because I like to make it look a bit rustic, but feel free to be neat or even to pipe on the icing).
Decorate with walnuts and banana chips.
Drizzle over more caramel (you may have some caramel left over depending on how much you like to use, but any leftover sauce is great served over vanilla ice cream).
Scatter with edible flowers.
The un-iced banana cake will keep for 2 days in an airtight container at room temperate. Once iced it is best eaten on the day.
1. I like to use a small 20cm/8in tin so I can get lots of height on my cake, I think it looks pretty like this but feel free to use a larger tin, it will work just as well or even a plain 20cm/8in cake tin if you don’t have a ring one.
2. I often buy my mascarpone in a little plastic bag so it is so easy to just snip of a corner with scissors and pipe away. If you are buying yours in a tub then you can always spoon it into a ziplock bag and snip off a corner and use this to pipe or alternatively use a piping bag if you have one.
Cake adapted from Donna Hay.
If you make this, I would love to see! Tag your photo with #mylittlelarder on Instagram.