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A banana cake for a dear friend

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“It seems to me that our three basic needs, for food and security and love, are so mixed and mingled and entwined that we cannot straightly think of one without the others. So it happens that when I write of hunger, I am really writing about love and the hunger for it, and warmth and the love of it and the hunger for it….and then the warmth and richness and fine reality of hunger satisfied….and it’s all one.”

The Gastronomical Me 


I will start with the last thing that I baked. I suggest you write this one down. This is not one to be buried in the recipe folder that you have stashed somewhere overflowing with torn out magazine articles of dishes you hope some day to cook if only you owned a fish steamer or a sous vide.

This one is to be handwritten into your recipe book. It will become a firm family favourite.

I just happened to be making this one for my friend’s Birthday. Her heart and my heart are very, very old friends.

Along the way you will meet my little clan as I share with you my daily life, as simple as it may be. It is a life full of joy, beauty and love and I am grateful for it.

I would like to celebrate it by sharing it with you. Not just the big things but also the little things, as that is where the real joy lives.

I am blessed with a passion for cooking.

Cooking is such a primal, basic skill that is thought of by many as a chore. I am grateful that I not only enjoy it but that I find in it an escape.

In the quiet of my kitchen my mind can be still, focused on the task at hand, devoid of all the noise created by our lives.

Still, at peace.

This happens in a busy kitchen too, on the surface this may seem impossible with the crashing of pans, orders barked, exhaust fans burring but underneath it all there must be a quiet, calm, focused mind. Present with the physicality of the task at hand. Focused purely on creating.

“cooking represents ‘creativity in it’s purest form’. It is meditation and stimulation, celebration and solace, a gift both offered and received. It can nourish the soul – and the mind- as well as the body”

Love and Hunger
Charlotte Wood

Find a quiet moment and try this recipe.


150g butter, softened
1 1/2 cups caster sugar (raw caster sugar is lovely too)
11/2 very full cups of very ripe, mashed banana
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs
1/3 cup milk
1 tsp. lemon juice
1 1/2 cups self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon bi-carb soda

This is a brilliant way to use up old bananas (but new ones work well too), my ideal banana situation would be that you left your bananas out until they were almost black then froze them and defrosted them the day before you were going to bake. But that is an ideal and reality is a very different beast. If you are using fresh bananas make sure you wiz them up well before adding the rest of the ingredients.


  1. Preheat oven to 160 degrees Celsius.
  2. Grease with butter the side and base of a 20cm round cake tin (or two 14cm round cake tins). Line the base with greaseproof paper and butter the top of the paper.
  3. In a bowl or food processor place the butter, sugar, banana, eggs and vanilla. Blend or process for 2 minutes. If you own a food processor or blender, you can prepare the cake in that or you can prepare it in a bowl and blend with a stick blender. I also make the cake in my Kitchen Aid with the scrape-a-bowl attachment and it works perfectly.
  4. Add milk and lemon, and blend until combined.
  5. Add flour and bicarb soda. Blend or process until just combined. The batter should be light and airy. Pour batter into your tin.
  6. Place into your oven and bake for 50-60 minutes (30-40 mins for two 14cm tins). Leave to cool on a wire rack.


250g cream cheese, at room temperature
45g butter, softened
300g icing sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla bean paste

Using the beater attachment of your stand mixer blend all the ingredients together for 3 minutes until light and fluffy.

I usually serve the cake with toasted coconut shards and dried pineapple rings.



This batter works very well as muffins also. Bake at 160C for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.

For beautiful presentation place a slice of banana in the base of each muffin cup and then pour the batter in and bake as above. Once removed from muffin tin and while still warm glaze with maple syrup.

Emma Jane

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