Thursday, June 17, 2010

Torta Di Banana (Banana Cake) ... or is it Banana Bread?

Mentioned 'Banana', most people would love this fruit, especially children (give them to my kid, he will eat almost ½ kg!). Banana comes with variety of colors, sizes and tastes. Basically, bananas are classified into 2 types or groups as 'Dessert Banana' (yellow, soft and sweet when fully ripe) and 'Cooking Banana' (mostly used as green bananas in curry, stew and snacks). Banana is famous among athletes as energy booster besides keeping any hunger pangs at bay :-D In fact, the whole Banana Tree has many uses besides as food (I had a recipe using the Banana Flower in this blog), fertilizer, religious ceremonies and also a new science discovery! If you want to know names of Banana varieties in Southeast Asia, here's a page in Malay language if you're interested but excluding Pisang Ambon which is a Dutch made green-banana flavoured liqueur :-P

By the way, any foodies received emails or read about Japanese researchers found that fully ripe bananas with dark spots or patches has higher immunity enhancements quality? Whether it's true or not, I love bananas and so did everyone else! On the other hand, if it's true, am sure Pharmaceutical companies are not happy with the news :-) You can read some of the reports about benefits of banana and other superfoods that help to boost our immune systems here and here. I hope any Japanese foodies out there who had came across such informations to post comments and links in my blog.

When I was in Belgium recently, I discovered a pure Banana Purée/Juice by Delhaize with no added sugar, additives, coloring or from concentrate. It became an instant hit especially with my boy who loves to drink it besides milk. When we're back in Southeast Asia, everyday he would asked for it... sigh... Anyway, I encouraged him to taste the many varieties of fresh banana available locally. He still asked for it occasionally and I would made him Banana Lassi or whole banana ice cream (just freeze any ripe bananas and whizzed it). This leads to the recipe I wanted to share. It's currently one of my son's favourite item when I have surplus of bananas. The recipe is simple and contains no artificial flavorings or colorings. I like to serve it straight from the oven, hot with butter and freshly brewed coffee or tea. You can freeze any left overs and warm them up later. If you like (which I'm sure you would and love it!) pay a visit to David Lebovitz's Banana Bread, or Banana Cake explaining of the confusion which I had as well when I baked this banana cake or is it banana bread? :-D it a Cake or a Bread???

... sliced it thick and serve with butter or any of your favourite spread!

Torta Di Banana (Banana Cake)
Serves 1 Loaf

4 Bananas (about 300 g, peeled)
250 g Flour-sifted
½ tsp Baking Powder - sifted
½ tsp Bicarbonate of Soda - sifted
240 g Raw Caster Sugar/White Caster Sugar*
220 g Butter
4 Large Eggs (I used about 65 g-70 g egg)
125 ml Plain Yogurt (optional)

1. Pre-heat your oven to 180º C/160ºC fan force.
2. Peel and mash the bananas but not until watery. (I like to taste little chunks of banana in the cake). If you're using yogurt, add it in when mashing the banana.
3. Cream the butter with sugar until light and fluffy. Add in the eggs and continue to whisk until fluffy.
4. Add in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder. Stir well and add in the mashed banana. Continue to stir until ingredients mix well but not over mix.
5. Rub a cake mould/loaf tin with some butter and dust with with some flour. Knock off any access of flour. Pour the batter into the mould (you can also use 2 small loaf tins for this recipe but reduce the cooking time).
6. Bake in preheated oven for about 40 minutes or until cooked when a tester comes out clean.

Sometimes, I add about 125 ml of plain yogurt to the mashed bananas in the recipe to give it a nice fluffy texture and also the sourness of yogurt helps the bananas from turning brown.
* If you use Raw Caster Sugar, you will have a darker banana cake like in my photos. :-)
The verdict of this recipe... :-)



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