This caramelised banana and coffee cake is beautifully moist and perfect with a cup of tea at the weekend. Nothing quite beats a slice of cake fresh from the oven with lashings of buttercream icing!
What makes this caramelised banana and coffee cake so special?
Let’s be honest, do I even need to go through why this cake is so good? Probably not. However, if you’re looking for a reason to make it, here’s the deal:
- It’s beautifully moist
- The subtle flavours make it ideal to eat at any time of day
- It’s a nice alternative to regular banana bread, and uses up those browning bananas!
Ingredients and alternatives
The ingredients for this caramelised banana and coffee cake are pretty standard. However, if you’re low on something or in need of an alternative, here’s what you can use instead:
- Flour: I use plain flour for this recipe, but you could also choose a cake or pastry flour instead. Equally, buckwheat flour would work really nicely in this too.
- Oil: rapeseed, coconut or grape-seed oil would also work well in this recipe. These oils all have a mild flavour which will complement baked goods, unlike olive oil.
- Eggs: you can use two medium eggs if you don’t have large.
- Brown sugar: muscovado sugar is a great alternative for regular dark brown sugar. This is great for its molasses content, giving a more caramel-y flavour. You could also use light brown sugar, but it won’t yield quite the same result.
- Caster sugar: this sugar is best for cakes and sponges because the granules are smaller than granulated sugar. You could use granulated if it’s the only sugar you have, or choose golden caster sugar.
- Milk: I use whole milk for a fuller flavour, but semi-skimmed or half-fat milk would also work fine.
- Bananas: while this cake is of course, a caramelised banana and coffee cake, it’s also possible to substitute the banana for puréed pumpkin if you so desire. The spices will really complement this flavour around this time of year.
Tips and tricks for this caramelised banana and coffee cake
Use ripe bananas
My number one trick to make this cake extra delicious, it by using riper “old” bananas that are starting to brown. There are a few reasons for this as follows:
- As bananas ripen, they get softer making it much easier to caramelise and mash them after
- Softer bananas that are mashed properly will mix into your batter without a problem
- Ripe bananas are much sweeter and have a more concentrated banana flavour
Don’t touch your sugar
Making your own caramel can be daunting, but it’s super easy if you follow these three easy tricks:
- Use a good non-stick pan.
- Once you’ve put your pan over a low heat, do not touch it until it starts to turn a golden brown. This can cause your sugar to crystallise and become grainy.
- Swirl the pan rather than using a spoon to mix everything.
Use silver foil
This trick is one that is a huge saviour when it comes to cakes with a higher molasses content. Here’s what to do:
- After 30 minutes of baking, place a sheet of silver foil over the top of your cake
- This helps avoid the cake becoming too dark in colour by shielding the top from radiant energy, so the top doesn’t brown before the whole thing is cooked through.
Ways to upgrade this caramelised banana and coffee cake:
This caramelised banana and coffee cake is absolutely delicious just the way it is. However, if you’re looking for a few ways to upgrade or change it, here’s what you can do:
- Add 100g of walnut of pecans to the batter before baking
- Double the cream cheese frosting ingredients so you can frost the entire cake
- Make it more spectacular with a dusting of ground cinnamon or some chocolate covered balls
- Swap the espresso powder in the icing for peanut butter powder
- Instead of using mashed caramelised bananas, use pumpkin purée!
Caramelised Banana and Coffee Cake
For the caramelised bananas
- 3 large bananas around 300g
- 100 g caster sugar
- 1 vanilla pod seeds scraped out (or 1tsp vanilla extract)
- 2 tbsp cold water
- 50 g unsalted butter
For the cake
- 200 g plain flour
- 1.5 tsp baking powder
- 1 tsp ground cinnamon
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp ground mixed spice
- 1/2 tsp ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
- 3 large bananas (caramelised as per the recipe) about 300g total
- 167 ml sunflower oil
- 110 g dark brown sugar
- 100 g caster sugar
- 80 ml whole milk
- 2 large eggs
- 2 tsp vanilla extract
For the buttercream
- 113 g butter softened
- 227 g cream cheese
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- Pinch fine sea salt
- 2 tsp instant espresso powder
- 480 g icing sugar sifted
To caramelise your bananas
- First things first: make your caramelised bananas. Cut your bananas in half lengthways then heat the sugar over a low heat in a non-stick frying pan. After a few minutes, the sugar will start to caramelise around the edges of the pan. Keep cooking until it's turned a golden amber colour, swirling the pan as you go. And be patient – if the heat is too high, it may burn!
- Remove from the heat and stir in the butter, vanilla seeds (or extract) and 2 tbsp of cold water, to stop it cooking any further.
- Add the bananas cut side down and return to the heat; cook for 1-2 minutes and then turn over, the bananas should have taken on the caramel colour. Place in a bowl and mash with the back of a fork.
For the cake
- Preheat the oven to 180C / 350F. Line a 6-inch cake tin with baking parchment.
- In a large bowl, sift the plain flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, salt, bicarbonate of soda, ground mixed spice, ginger and nutmeg until fully combined.
- In another large bowl, whisk together the caramelised bananas (this should be about 300g in total), sunflower oil, both the sugars, milk, eggs and vanilla extract.
- Add the flour mixture in thirds to the wet ingredients, whisking after each addition, until you've used up all the flour. Use a spatula to scrape down the sides of the bowl as necessary, until no streaks remain.
- Spoon the cake batter into the prepared tin, and bake for 50-60 minutes.N.B. After 30 mins of baking, you may need to pop a sheet of foil over your cake to stop the top from darkening too quickly.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes, before turning out onto a wire rack and leaving to cool completely.
For the icing
- Using an electric whisk, whip the butter until smooth, creamy and pliable then add the cream cheese and whisk again until everything it properly incorporated.
- Mix the vanilla essence with the espresso powder to dissolve it, then add to the cream cheese mixture, beating until well combined.
- Sift in 120g of the icing sugar at a time, mixing well on a low speed after each addition. Repeat until all the icing sugar has been used up, or you've reached the desired consistency. N.B. I like using the full 480g, but anything between 420g-480g should make a good icing so it's up to personal preference.
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