What do you do when you have some overripe bananas sitting on the countertop? A banana cake of course! My friend GP came over just a few weeks ago to make banana bread for her mum, and it’s super delicious and soft, she was using her Thermomix recipe. I tweaked her recipe slightly as I do not have Thermomix. and I wanted it less sweet as well, so substituting the sugar with Monk fruit brown sweetener.
When I researched for banana cake recipes online, a lot of banana bread recipes popped up, I found many recipes and pictures of banana cake that are sometimes referred as banana bread. Some people call it banana cake, some call it banana bread. To me, the texture of the cake in this recipe looks and tastes more like a cake. It seems the names are used interchangeably, just like cupcake and muffin.
If you live in Southeast Asia, it’s not difficult to find banana cakes in local bakeries, it usually has a darker brown top, its texture similar to pound or chiffon cake, and the cake is grainy light brown in colour. However, you can hardly taste the real bananas in commercially bought banana cakes from these bakeries. The banana cake in this recipe is quite different, it’s much denser, very moist and you can definitely taste bits of bananas in the cake, although most of the mashed bananas actually sank to the bottom part of the cake.
Dr Leslie Tay, a well-known food influencer suggested to only decorate the top of the cake with sliced bananas and chocolate chips after the cake is baked in the oven for about 10-15 minutes, when the cake is almost firm yet still uncooked in the middle. Placing banana slices at this time on the firm cake surface will ensure the cake doesn’t sink to the bottom of the cake so it comes out very prettily decorated. Some blogs recommend to coat the banana slices with flour before dropping it into the cake batter and then bake it in the oven, I’ve tried and it didn’t really work for me. So you will see in my YouTube video that’s what I did, the cake turns out quite pretty. However only one disadvantage … I believed the moist banana slices cause the cake to collapse a bit (due to too much moisture from the bananas making the batter more fluid as the temperature rises) and the cake could not raise as much as I wanted to. Well the other factor could also be that I was using a convection oven with fan setting, so it cooks much faster, making it difficult for cakes to rise. However I’ve made butter cake and other cakes with my convection oven using the fan setting, and they came out perfect. Nevertheless, looking at the end result of my banana cake, I really liked how the banana slices are patterned like flowers.
I didn’t make any frosting for the banana cake, although I think my favourite cream cheese frosting will really complement the cake well. But for now, I’m contended just with the banana slices decoration.
Tips on making the banana cake
- I used cake flour instead of plain flour. Cake flour is my favourite go-to flours for cakes, although for denser cakes such as butter cake, plain flour is a better option. Cake flour is lower in protein, meaning it produces lesser gluten when mixed, and thus makes the cake very soft and fluffy.
- I used Zestyleaf’s Monk fruit golden sweetener, an alterative to Stevia or normal sugar, and of course a much healthier version with zero calories.
- It’s recommended to use very ripe bananas, those with black spots on the skin are the best as they are ripe enough and very soft to mash. I read somewhere that frozen bananas, when thawed, make excellent banana cakes, however bear in mind if the bananas are placed in the fridge or freezer, the bananas brown faster even though the inside might not be ripe yet, so you might end up with a less than ripe banana with very brown speckled skin.
- My friend told me she often adds Kahlua in her banana cake. I can imagine that rich coffee liquor flavour in the cake. Yum! But not many people have Kahlua at home. You can instead add a shot of coffee espresso for a hint of the earthy coffee flavour.
- Many recipes out there ask to add nuts such as walnuts or pecan nuts. I’m not a big lover of nuts so I’m omitting that in this recipe. But feel free to add nuts if you fancy it.
- I used a loaf tin for this recipe, thus with my convection oven, it took me about 50 minutes. If baked in a shallow cake pan, like a 8-inch or 9-inch cake pan, the batter will be more spread out and the baking time should be reduced. I always test the doneness of the cake with a chopstick or toothpick inserted into the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean and free of batter or crumbs, the first test is clear. The second test is a light press on the surface of the cake, if it springs back, it’s good to go.
- I whisked the eggs and sweetener using a food mixer with whisk attachment until the mixture reaches ribbon stage, that makes sure the cake will turn out fluffy than heavy. Ribbon stage means the egg mixture will slowly drip down in a thick trail. Watch my YouTube video below at about 01:20 to see how it looks like.
- I added a normal olive oil to the banana cake batter, although any other neutral flavoured oil will also work. Even though the banana adds moisture and flavour to the cake, a vegetable oil will help make the cake more moist.
How to store banana cake
I usually store it in an airtight container on the kitchen countertop and we will finish it within 3-5 days. If you want to store it longer, you can store it in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 weeks, just bear in mind the cake will turn harder. To soften it before serving, simply pop it into the oven toaster or steam it (my mother loves to do this) for a few minutes until it’s soft and warm. Warm banana cake with chocolate chips is the best!
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Watch how to make banana cake on YouTube
Check out other sugar-free cake recipes
Banana Cake with Dark Chocolate Chips (Sugar-free)
- 3 large eggs room temperature
- 80-150 g Monk fruit brown sweetener or brown sugar
- 100 ml vegetable oil I used olive oil
- 200 g bananas about 3. Plus 1 more for decoration
- 150 g cake flour
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- ½ tsp baking powder
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp chocolate chips or more if you fancy
- ½ tsp fine salt
- 1 tsp Kahlua or espresso coffee this is optional
- Preheat oven to 160°C / 320°F (convection oven), 175°C / 347°F (conventional oven).
- Line load tin with baking paper.
- Mash 200g or 3 bananas. Optional for decoration: use 1 more banana and slice thinly for top decoration on the cake.
- Put 3 large eggs (room temperature), 80-150g Monk fruit brown sweetener (or sugar, season to taste) into food mixer with whisk attachment, and mix at high speed until ribbon stage. This takes about 5-6 minutes. The batter will increase in volume and turn pale and foamy.
- Sift 150g cake flour, 1/2 tsp baking powder, 1/4 tsp baking soda, 1/2 tsp fine salt into the batter. Use a spatula to fold until dry ingredients are well-mixed into the batter but do not over mix.
- Add 100ml oil, mashed bananas, 1 tsp vanilla essence (and optional 1 tsp Kahlua or espresso coffee), and mix everything together with a spatula. Batter will not be smooth but it should well-mixed with no signs of flour.
- Transfer the batter into a loaf tin and tap a few times to release air bubbles. Use a chopstick or skewer to poke or swirl through the batter to release air bubbles.
- Bake in preheat oven for about 45-60 minutes. Cake is ready when you insert a chopstick or skewer into the middle of the cake and it comes out clean. The second test is to gently press on the top of the cake, if it springs back, it's good to go.
- Optional to decorate the cake: Remove the cake from the oven once the top starts to brown and firm up, around 10-15 minutes into the baking time. Quickly place the banana slices and chocolate chips on top of the cake and place it back into the oven to complete the baking.
- Cool the cake in the loaf tin on a cooling rack.
- Serve at room temperature.
Sharing this recipe with Fiesta Friday.