Saturday, 9 February 2013

Banana Walnut Cake

When bananas get too ripe, I just can't throw them away. I used to try to make banana bread with them, but it always came out either too dry or uncooked in the middle. This banana cake is the perfect solution as it is moist and not too heavy. With or without icing, it is delicious with ice cream.
The original recipe is from Lee Bailey's Country Desserts, a gift from my niece and one of my favourite cookbooks. Lee Bailey's recipe is a layer cake, sandwiched with cream and more sliced bananas and topped with a boiled frosting.  Delicious! I have made the original and served it as a dessert,   but this variation has evolved over the years and we like it because it keeps for a week, if stored in a tin, and it is portable. I used to take it to work as a treat for my colleagues and I was very popular on cake making days.

Banana Walnut Cake
4 oz softened butter or soft margarine (I use soft margarine)
1 1/4 cups sugar
2 large eggs
2 1/2 cups sifted Self Rising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 - 2 teaspoons cinnamon (If you don't like cinnamon, you can leave this out.)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas (about 3 bananas)
1/2 cup chopped walnuts

Cream butter and sugar.
Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.
Sieve flour and the rest of the dry ingredients into a large bowl.
Gently mix flour and bananas into the creamed mixture.
Lighten the mixture with a little warm water from the kettle, if necessary. ( I always do this with cakes as it makes a lighter cake. The mixture should flow smoothly into the pan.)
Fold in the walnuts.
Bake at 350 F/ 180C in a greased and lined 8" by 11" pan for 25-30 minutes.
Do not overbake as the cake will be dry.
Check the top.  It if is a bit springy in the middle, it is done.
Let the cake cool on a rack before icing.

Maple Walnut Icing
2 oz butter (You need to use real butter for the icing.)
3 Tablespoons milk
8 oz icing sugar, sifted
1/4 teaspoon maple flavouring (If you don't have this, use a little maple syrup.)\
16 - 20 walnut halves

In a milk pan, melt the butter. Watch it carefully!
Add the milk and the maple flavouring.
Using a whisk, add the icing sugar.
If it is too thin, add a little more sugar.
If it is too thick, add a little more milk.
Stir until it bubbles.
Immediately smooth it over the cake.
Place the walnuts in neat rows on top of the icing so each serving will have a walnut on it.

Lee Bailey's Country Desserts. This is a beautiful book, well worth the space on your shelf.  It was published in 1988 by Clarkson N Potter, Inc/ Distributed by Crown Publishers, Inc., New York. ISBN No. 0-517-56515-3.

A generous slice of cake on my pretty Portmerion dish.


  1. Looks delicious I so wish my new oven would arrive. I have been managing since Christmas eve with a grill hob and microwave. I beginning to get cooking/baking withdrawal.
    I'm a great lover of Portmerion pottery, I collect the botanical gardens stuff, but I do love the blue ware too is soo pretty.

  2. This cake is awesome - thanks for the recipe. x