Tuesday, 18 March 2008

Monkey's Favourite Cake

Over the past two years, it has already became a family routine that we visit the library almost every weekend...and I must say, the library can be a dangerous place...at least for a cookbook lover like me!!

I simply couldn't resist the temptation to try out the various recipes whenever I leaf through pages and pages of beautiful illustrations and photographs of gorgeous desserts. Be it cakes, breads or muffins, they have never failed to entice me to make an attempt to replicate what I have seen. Some of them may not eventually appear on my breakfast table, but at least the recipes are safely kept in my folder...waiting to leap out anytime when the opportunity arise. As a result of my frequent visits to the library, it has become very apparently...no matter how hard I try not to notice...that my BMIndex has been 'bullish' ever since. I bet this index will remain bullish, judging at the rate that I am going ;(

I have been quite lucky lately...to be able to pick up very brand new cookbooks at the library, which means that there will be less chance of me looking at a book that comes with several missing pages!

I happened to pick up this newly published cookbook "Cooking for Kids" a couple of weeks ago. What caught my attention half-way browsing the book was the name of this cake....Monkey's Favourite Cake! After reading thru what are the ingredients that go into the making of this cake, I was immediately sold. This recipe was placed right on top of my ever growing to-do list!

You see, although this is simple banana cake, it comes with fillings! I thot it was really unusual and I like that the filling is made with not only mashed bananas but also some ground almonds. I was a little greedy and thought that I could use a large banana instead of a small one as stated in the recipe. It was a mistake. The filling was too 'runny'...I tried to salvage by adding more ground almonds to the mixture. Fortunately, by doing so, I was able to adjust the consistency to get a thicker paste.

It's a very simple and straight forward cake to make. The cake tasted delicious with the fillings. The only fault I could find was that the fillings turned to a darker shade when I left the cake overnight. Even though with lemon juice added, it didn't really preven the banana from turning black...maybe I should have added more lemon juice?

(make one 18cm cake)

125g butter, room temperature
125g caster sugar
125g self-raising flour
2 eggs, bring to room temperature, lightly beaten
2 large bananas, mashed
icing sugar for dusting

50g ground almonds (toast at 100 degC for 10mins)
50g icing sugar, sifted
1 small bananas, mashed
1/2 tsp lemon juice

  1. Grease and flour the sides of a 18cm pan. Line the base with parchment paper.
  2. Sieve self-rising flour, set aside.
  3. Toast ground almonds at 100 degC for 10mins, stir it halfway to ensure even toasting, set aside.
  4. With an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar together until pale and fluffy.
  5. Slowly dribble in the eggs gradually, mix well after each addition.
  6. With a spatula, fold in the sifted flour. Mix until flour is fully incorporated into the batter.
  7. Add in the mashed bananas and mix well.
  8. Pour batter into prepared pan and bake in pre-heated oven at 180 degC for about 30-35mins until the cake springs back when lightly pressed, or a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  9. Remove from oven, unmold and let cool.
  10. To make the filling, mix ground almonds with icing sugar (sifted), then add mashed banana and lemon juice. Mix to form a smooth paste.
  11. Slice the cake horizontally into 2 layers. Sandwich the layers with the filling. Dust with icing sugar.


Patricia Scarpin said...

Bananas and almonds together? It's a delicious idea!

tadınadoyamadım-dilek said...

beatiful cake
thank you

thecoffeesnob said...

I have exactly the same problem you do with libraries, so much so that the file holding all my 'to try' recipes is just bursting at its seams.

Banana cake with banana filling? I can't think of anything better than that. By the way, i love the first photo- makes the cake look really classic :)

Anonymous said...


Beautiful cake there! :D simple cake, but topped with icing, its very elegant. Hee~ i face the same problem too! i bookmark alot of recipes, photocopy and even have a folder of handwritten recipes~ XD a picture speaks a thousand words! most of the time its the attractive photos that catches my attention. =X Ever since my baking journey, i put on ALOT of weight~ :P I must say, baking is fun and enjoyable! keep those yummy pics and recipes coming k! :D


^cherie said...

Sounds gd!!

Btw hhb, may i know what yeast do you use? Which brand? I made your milk loaf today and i failed oh so miserably :((((

sherlyn said...

Another nice cake and nice pictures. Perhaps this filling can "apply" to some other cakes, then it will be healthier then whipped cream and mousse.

Wow, every weekend. If it is JE library, then perhaps i meet u :)

How come the books I borrowed always has torn pages, esp the most impt ones (the fundamentals) :-(

cocoa said...

This is interesting. Always look for some healthier for the little. I love baking cake, cookies and bread but at the same time I am concern that i can overdose them with all these sweet indulgence.

How do you like this recipe?

Happy Homebaker said...

Dear Pat, it certainly a delicious combo :)

Hi tadinadoyamadım-dilek, thanks!

Thecoffeesnob, that was what I had in mind...to use this banana filling for other cakes too. The only problem is how to prevent the bananas from turning into an ugly shade :(
I used flickr's toy to add in the frames for that 1st photo :)

Hi Amandalwh, beside 2 handwritten notebooks, one 2" folder and I also keep soft copies of scanned recipes! I simply have to scan the photos!

Dear ^cherie, so sorry to hear about your failed attempt! What happened to your bread? I use Bake King's Instant yeast, that comes in a plastic bottle, which is easily available at NTUC, cold storage.

Hi Sherlyn, me too, I always borrowed books that has got torn pages, and when I look at the table of content...they happen to be the ones that I am interested to look at!!! JE library is "the other end of the world" for me leh! but if I were to visit that branch, I will keep a look out for you ;P

Hi Cocoa, without the filling, the cake taste like any normal banana cake, the fillings is the one that makes the difference. I served this cake to my kids' piano teacher, she liked it and she thot I have added coconut in the filling ;)

^cherie said...

hhb, i felt so down yday night after my failed attempt. After that, i went straight to purchase myself an instant yeast fr PH. Before that, i was using dry yeast and i guess i failed because i didn't mix it with tepid water first.

Anyway, i woke up at 6am today (which is really rare!) and tried baking the milk loaf again.

Guess what?

It turned out so 'beautiful' that i almost wanna cry while eating it. My ist successful attempt after like 10 tries baking bread! [using bread machine for the whole process doesn't count :P]

U are right. The texture is so soft and simply awesome!

Thank you so much hhb. I loveeeeeee all your recipes! :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi ^cherie, I am so happy for u!! I admire your never give up attitude, really!! I would have given up by the 3rd attempt!
You can now use this milk loaf recipe and add in your favourite fillings...it can also be used to make buns too :)
Happy baking!

Rosie said...

What a beautiful combo of flavours and a great cake!

Rosie x

^cherie said...

Thanks hhb :D

I'll definitely try adding the extra ingredient the next time and then after, will try making buns with filling ;)

Anonymous said...

A banana cake with banana-almond filling sounds perfect! As much as I love bananas, I always stray away from any of the bakes with fillings, since they almost always include banana custards of sorts, which I find pretty weird-tasting. I'm glad you shared this. Consider this bookmarked!

Anonymous said...

Don't bring this to the zoo or the monkeys will be running after you! They looks yummy!

sherlyn said...


I am one that keeps scanned copies of recipes .. and yes, the photo is a must to me too. Now I am trying to create a listing of my scanned recipes, else it is difficult to find cakes to bake at times.

MH said...

This bananas cake looks real yummy with the icing :)

siying! said...

i love ur blog and all the photos u take.really beautifully taken!i tried baking the chocolate banana sponge cake u made last year, but my cake did not rise at all!would like to ask what makes the cake rise, and does improper folding in of the flour into the egg/sugar batter result in a cake mix that doesn't rise?terribly disappointed,so please help!! thanks.. =]

Happy Homebaker said...

Thanks Rosie!

Hi Ovenhaven, I love the fillings...and it is so simple to make :)

Bernice, yes! I will remember that ;)

Sherlyn, my list is getting really messy at the momemnt!!

Siying, here are some of the tips that I have gathered from cookbooks on making sponge cake:
1. always make sure your ingredients are leave to room temperature.
2. sift the flour at least 2 to 3 times.
3. as there is no baking powder used, u have to whisk the eggs until it is very thick and ribbon like, ie the batter will leave a trail when u lift up the whisk. The batter should also double/triple in volume. Takes about 8mins on high speed to get to this stage. You may refer to my step-by-step photos posted under "Strawberry Mango Cake".
4. The folding in of the flour into the batter has to be done gently to prevent the batter from deflated. You can take a look at this video clip on how to do the folding, by Alice Medrich's Chocolate Genoise Cake(http://www.pbs.org/juliachild/meet/medrich.html#). Hope this helps!

sweet-tooth said...

This looks really great :D
I just baked a banana quick bread today and it makes me wonder how can some people hate bananas.

Anonymous said...

Was searching the web for muffins recipe and came across your blog. Very interesting and will definite try your muffins receipt and the doggie biscuit. My son love the look of it but not sure whether mummy can do it or not. Am a lousy cook myself =(

Thanks for sharing your recipe. (",)

Anonymous said...

mmmm that looks so good! i just wanted to say THANKS for posting all these pcitures & yummy recipes for me to try out over here! i can't believe this is the first time i've stumbled on your blog, you inspire me!!

will be browsing your archives, thank you so much!

<333 eunice

Lin said...

Hello All & HHB,

Referring to HHB's Milk loaf:

aAhh Someone please help me. I been trying to bake this but it turns out 'unedible'. I follow close to HHB's recipe and the instruction but the outcome is, the inner part of the bread isn't baked. It taste of flour and raw. Can anyone tell me whats wrong with this?

This is the outcome of my Milk Loaf:

Someone pls enlighten the amateur here.. =) Really Grateful.


Anonymous said...

hihi hbb! It's cookie monster here again! :) So sorry that I'm posting here even tho it is non-related to your monkey cake. I've just tried the milk loaf today, and i would say it's much better than the last 5 times!! *so happy* my loaf was a little dense and oily (i'm guessing it's due to the butter in the recipe). Is that normal? Was your loaf like that too? If not, have u got any idea what went wrong?

Also, I was wondering if the hokkaido milky loaf that u have in your list can be made by hand? Coz you said that the hokkaido milky loaf is very soft and fluffy and I think I would love that texture! :) But I do not own a bread machine at present. Thanks for your advice! :)

Cookie monster

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Shirley, thanks for visiting :)
I am sure you will have no problem with the muffins and the doggie bicuits :D

Hi Eunice, thanks for your sweet comments :)

Hi Lavie Coloree, I hoped over to your blog and saw the photos of your bread.
1. My first concern is...you would have to use a loaf tin to proof the loaf (the 2nd proofing) and bake the bread with the loaf tin. It looks like the dough was not proofed sufficiently...as the dough looked quite small and dense. They should puff up during the 2nd proofing. Usually I use the loaf tin to gauge...the dough has to reach at least 70% of the height of the tin before baking. This will usually take about 30~60mins depending on the weather here.
2. You mention that your bread was hard...did you cover it with cling wrap during the two proofing?
3. Since you didn't mention how you went about kneading the dough (by breadmaker?) and how the 1st proofing was done, I can't really comment any further.
4. You may refer to this site for further details on breadmaking (http://www.baking911.com/bread/101_intro.htm).
Hope this help :)

Hi Cookie monster, so glad to hear that you have better luck with the bread this time! My bread was not oily after baking...I am not too sure what went wrong. Do you happen to know (compared to your intial attempts) which are the changes you have done this time round?
Yes, the hokkaido milk loaf can certainly be made by hand. In fact all breads can be made by hand. Just that the hokkaido milk loaf is again another dough that is quite wet and sticky...you will have to knead for a long time. I tried by hand before...took me 30mins...and it was still rather sticky!

Lin said...

Dear HHB,

Appreciate for your quick response as i would like to give it a 2nd attempt soon.

The 1st proof in a mixing bowl, i took 60mins. Then I started shaping the dough then (2nd) Proof it again for about less than 10 mins before sending it to the oven. But i realise when i proof it, it doesn't increase in volume like what you said 70%? i think its not even more than 50% of the original.

I sealed it with cling wrap and i use bread maker to do the kneading.

For Kneading, i set it to dough and it knead about 15 mins, i took it out of the breadmaker and let it proof at room Temperature. And i follow the part on putting the butter after 10 mins.

What do you think have gone wrong?
Hope to hear from you soon! Thanks Alot!

Warmest Regards,

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Lin, it seems like you did right for the 1st proofing. However, you may want to let your bread machine knead for at least 20mins. I usually let my breadmachine knead for 30mins (my machine has got a standard 20mins kneading cycle for the DOUGH funtion, so I restart the machine after 20mins, and let it knead for 10mins then stop and remove from machine to proof at room temperature.) remember to shape the dough into a ball and leave it in a mixing bowl which is big enough to proof.

For the 2nd proof, let it proof for at least 45mins-1hr. 10mins is certainly not enough for 2nd proofing. The time is more like a gauge, you have to estimate base on the size of the dough to decide when to send it to the oven as the room temperature will affect the proofing. On rainy days, it may take more than 1 hr to reach at least 70% of the height of my bread tin (the ht of the tin is about 11cm). Even for the 1st proofing, sometimes my dough may take up to 1.5hrs to double in size. However, never attempt to rush thru the proofing process for example by placing the dough near the stove or whatever...if the dough is left to rise too quickly, the texture may not be right as well. On the other hand, some bakers have tried successfully by proofing the dough in a oven (set at low temperature) to quicken the process, I have not tried it.
Wish you success in your next attempt :)

Anonymous said...

Hi Happy Homemaker,
I found your blog by chance as I was searching for a bread dough kneading machine in Singapore.

I'm so glad to find someone in Singapore who has successfully made such tasty bread. I think making a tasty basic loaf of bread is the most difficult task and from what I've seen on your blog, you've achieved that!

I used to make bread by hand in a temperate country. Now that I'm back in Singapore, I'm unsure how to adjust my bread making method. I tried with a bread machine recently as I thought that's the most idiot proof method to deal with the change in climate. But somehow I felt that was a big mistake.

Here are the problems I've encountered.

1. I followed a recipe in the bread machine's manual and the bread didn't come out soft and fluffy. The crust was hard altho I had chosen light for the crust. The texture of the bread was also kind of dry on the surface.

2. When I used only the knead function on the machine, again using a recipe in the manual, the dough was a dismal sight. After the dough was kneaded, it looked really nice when I first removed it. I thought that's wonderful, let the machine do all the hard work I only need to shape the dough, let it proof and bake. But after I pound out the air, divide the dough out, I noticed that the dough seemed to have shrunk and soon became sticky and hard to work with. The baked buns turned out soft but not fluffy.

Do you have any bread rescue tips for me?

I didn't measure the temperature of the liquids, dough etc, should I?

How do I deal with the hot and humid weather here for proofing bread dough?

I'll really appreciate any advice you can give me.

Thank you.

siying! said...

I looked through that entry of urs and the video a couple of times already! haa..guess I need more practice on making sponge cake. Thanks a million bunch though! Appreciate it! I will try again! Keep on baking!! =]

Anonymous said...

Hi hbb,
On second thoughts, my bread isn't really oily. Just that I can feel alittle bit of oil compared to gardenia bread. Not sure if that is normal, considering butter is used. For one, i used a different brand of yeast. The last 5 times i used swallow brand (or something like that) which has to be activated by warm water before using (or something like that, i cannot remember coz i've since junked that. haha)

I realised that you said you took 20mins for the entire kneading process. I took ONE HOUR before my dough passed the window pane test. Maybe I don't have enough strength! Is that normal? :( My arms, neck and shoulders are feeling so sore today! Haha!

For the hokkaido milky loaf, if the dough is still sticky does it mean that I have to continue kneading till it becomes non-sticky?

cookie monster

Lin said...

Hey HHB,

I will try again! Thank you for your kind advise! Hope to bring you good news! =)


deanna said...

I just found your blog today! Beautiful pictures and cute kids meals! Love it!

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi morishimarisu,
I believe there are several factors affecting the outcome of the bread. As I am not an expert in breadmaking and I consider myself novice in the area of baking...I am not able to give much advice, unless I have encountered similar problems. I have not used any of the recipes that came with my bread machine's manual, and I have not came across the problems you have encountered, as such I can't comment much. You may want to take a look at this site (http://www.baking911.com/bread/problems.htm) to see if you can find a possible cause & solution?
I do not measure temperature of the liquids and dough either..partly because I do not have a theremometer for cooking/baking ;) and most of the time, my measurements are estimated, as my weighing scale can only read up to 10g.
In fact I like our hot weather here, except for rainy days, it takes only 1 hr for the dough to double during the first proof. and I have no problem with the humidity...it doesn't seems to affect the dough at all. Hope you find this useful :)

Hi Siying, hope you have better luck for your next attempt :D

Hi Cookie Monster, oh yes, if you compare it with Gardenia plain bread, this will be considered oily due to the butter. I usually take about 20-30mins, sometimes I will stop by 30mins even though it may not pass the pane test, and still feel slightly sticky...as I believe over kneading may also result in other problems. Also note that 'recipes that contain eggs, butter or other moist ingredients often stay sticky after being kneaded'. I am afraid you will have to try out and gauge for yourself. I have tried a few recipes and after 30mins of kneading, the dough was still a sticky mess, couldn't even form a ball...and I had no choice but to throw away.

Anonymous said...


Mmmm.. looks YUMMY-LICIOUS! :)
would like to ask you, whenever the recipes states 1 teaspoon/tablespoon, does it mean flat or heaped?



sherlyn said...

hehe, so u want me to help you with sorting them out ? (just joking)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Shine, it refers to flat, not heaped :)