Today some wilting bananas stared up at me from the fruit bowl mournfully and pleaded "DON'T JUST STAND THERE, DO SOMETHING". Some people are called to join a charity group in order to help others less fortunate, my calling is to save bananas from the compost bin. It makes me feel as though I've done a good deed. It also makes me feel quite virtuous because when I bake with bananas, it just feels healthy. Don't worry that this is one enormous cake with enough generous portions for second and third helpings. And don't worry that you smother it in the richest, gooiest caramel sauce. And don't worry that as you eat it, you'll be tempted to add just a little more of that gooey caramel sauce to it and may be even a dollop of whipped cream. Don't worry about all that.
BA. NA. NA. = healthy. Yes? Good. I’m glad we are all clear on that. That’s why we are such a great team.
Banana Cake with Caramel Sauce
from Paul Allam and David McGuinness's Bourke Street Bakery
For the Cake:
250g unsalted butter
355g caster sugar
1 vanilla bean, split length ways, seeds scraped
200g sour cream
300g self-raising flour, sifted
2 – 3 ripe bananas (depending on the size)
20g golden syrup or soft brown sugar
For the Caramel Sauce:
200ml thickened cream
300g caster sugar
30ml liquid glucose (optional) - the addition of glucose syrup helps to stop the sugar crystallising
80g unsalted butter
NOTE: The recipe for the caramel sauce is more than enough for the cake (making a smaller amount can become quite difficult without burning). The bonus is, it makes fantastic caramel milkshakes and is a great topping for ice cream.
Make the Cake:
Preheat oven to 200C. Grease a 28cm round cake tin and line the base and side with baking paper. The paper should protrude at least 2.5cm above the tin.
In the bowl of an electric mixer with the whisk attachment place the butter and sugar and vanilla seeds. Whisk on low until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one at a time, allow each to mix in properly before putting in another. Add the sour cream in 2 batches. Then add flour in two until all is combined.
Lightly mash the bananas and drizzle with the syrup or sprinkle with brown sugar. Fold the mashed banana lightly through the cake mixture to combine. Spoon into tin.
Bake for 55 minutes to 1 hour and 15 minutes. Use a skewer to test. Make sure that it comes out clean when inserted into the centre of the cake. Cover the top of the cake loosely with baking paper if it is starting to brown too quickly.
Make the Caramel Sauce:
Pour the cream into a saucepan over high heat and bring it almost to boiling point.
Put the water, sugar and glucose syrup in a sauce pan and stir until sugar dissolves. Once the sugar has dissolved, do not stir and just allow it to cook for about 7 – 10 minutes or until the liquid is a caramel colour. Remove from the heat.
Pour the hot cream into the pan with the with the caramel. It will bubble up so be careful. Place it back onto the heat and whisk until smooth. Remove from the heat and then whisk in the butter.
When the cake is ready, take it out from the oven and allow it to cool for 10 minutes. Remove from the tin and place it on a large platter.
Poke about 40 holes into the cake using the skewer. Pour the caramel sauce over the top of the cake while it is still warm.