It might be winter here in Sydney, but there’s plenty of blue sky and sunshine which means certain people* are choosing to wear shorts and singlets and thongs. It’s a trap because it may look lovely and warm but it’s actually only 10 degrees which according to Australians is bloody freezing cold (personally, anything under 20 degrees feels sub-arctic). Of course, just because it’s cold doesn’t mean the rays of sunlight are any less capable of roasting you whole if you’re not careful.
* You live in Bondi and/or you’re a British tourist.
I made these cakes in honour of all the tourists who grossly underestimate the strength of Australia’s winter sun and still strip off at any hint of sunlight and lie naked and shivering in the ice cold winds but still end up with peeling neon pink coloured skin. These banana cakes covered in a fluffy warm coat of cream cheese frosting and topped with lashings of caramel is for you.
You will need 5 bananas, which is quite a lot but trust me when I say you need them because who ever hoped their banana cake would only taste vaguely like bananas? All of this fruit keeps the cake extra – dammit I have to use that word again – moooistttt and pudding-y. It feels like a reasonably wholesome cake actually; the kind of cake you’d be happy to eat in broad daylight in front of other people rather than something so decadent that you’re forced to cram fistfuls into your mouth at midnight when no one is around to judge your poor eating choices.
I’ve added cream cheese frosting to give the cake that little something extra, and also because naked cakes are depressing and people glance at them with disgust before backing away, like when you encounter Turkish Delight chocolates or children throwing tantrums in supermarkets. The addition of salted caramel sauce is present because there is no reason to deny my body of salted caramel sauce.
Ok, so the topping is rather indulgent but you’re only eating a dollop and drizzle per cake so whatever, YOLO and all of that business. Except please just wear a sweater when it’s 10 degrees outside for God’s sake, you’re hurting my eyes.
Banana Cakes with Cream Cheese Frosting and Salted Caramel
Banana Cake adapted from food.com
2 cups plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
100g butter at room temperature
1 cup brown sugar
3 large eggs, beaten
5 mashed ripe bananas
1 extra sliced banana for decoration
Cream Cheese Frosting:
2 x 225g packages cream cheese, softened to room temperature
500g unsalted butter, room temperature
2 cups/230 grams icing sugar, sifted
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup pure maple syrup
75g caster sugar
50ml pouring cream
10g unsalted butter
1/2 tsp sea salt
For the cake:
Preheat oven to 180°C. Lightly grease a 12-cup muffin tin. In a large bowl, combine flour, soda and salt. In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and brown sugar. Stir in the eggs and mashed bananas until combined. Stir banana mixture into flour mixture; stir together just to moisten.
Pour the batter into muffin tins. Bake in a preheated oven for 20 – 25 minutes until a toothpick inserted into center of the cakes comes out clean. Let cakes cool in the pan for 10 minutes, turn out onto a wire rack to cool before topping with frosting and caramel sauce.
For the frosting:
In a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat all the ingredients on medium speed until fluffy. Chill the frosting for about 20 to 30 minutes or until it has set enough to spread smoothly and hold its shape.
For the salted caramel sauce:
Heat the caster sugar in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Swirl the sugar around as it melts evenly, don’t stir it as it may crystallize. Once the liquid is a deep honey colour, take off the heat and whisk in the 1/3 of the cream before adding the rest of the cream, then add the butter in chunks and stir until smooth. Sprinkle over the salt. The caramel will thicken as it cools.