Friday, 9 May 2014
If you like your banana cake very fluffy and very "banana-y", you must try my version. Other recipes may be as fluffy but not as banana-y, or as banana-y but not as fluffy.
Making banana cake more banana-y is easy. I simply put loads of very ripe bananas in it.
Most recipes for banana cake have about 1 part banana to 1 part flour. Some may go up to 2:1. Mine has 175 g bananas to 70 g flour, so the ratio is 2.5:1.
When banana cake has a lot of bananas, it becomes dense and wet. IOW, it turns into banana bread. That's a good thing if you like heavy and squat banana bread but I don't.
How do I stop banana cake from turning into banana bread?
By making the cake rise, so it's not dense. And making the cake dry out, so it's not too wet.
To help the cake rise well, my recipe has a fair bit of baking soda and baking powder. Egg whites whisked till firm peak stage also lend a hand. A chiffon pan helps too because the funnel makes the batter heat up evenly.
I use a fairly low temperature, 160°C. If the temperature is higher, the inside of the cake would still be wet when the top is brown. Mashed bananas dry out slowly, so the cake must be baked longer, at a lowish temperature. If the cake is too wet when it's removed from the oven, it'll shrink as it cools down or after it's unmoulded.
Besides the baking time and temperature, putting less wet ingredients in the cake also helps make the cake less wet. There's no water or milk in the recipe, and there's only a small amount of oil.
A fluffy cake is fluffy because its structure is weak. To stop the structure from collapsing when it's at its weakest – just after the cake is removed from the oven – it must cling to the sides and bottom of the cake pan. The pan, therefore, mustn't be non-stick and it must be inverted once it's removed from the oven. A funnel in the middle gives the cake more surface area to cling to.
Banana cake is best served without frosting, so there's nothing to mask the flavour of the bananas.
Are you ready to eat the most fluffy and most banana-y ever banana cake? Hey, you have to bake it first.