So, what makes me go back to the same recipe again and again? The possible reasons are: either I failed the first time, and I die die must get it right on the next attempt, or, I wanted to experiment and play around with the ingredients; or the cake is simply so delicious and easy to put together that it will be the first thing that comes to my mind whenever I have the urge to bake something!
I got this banana sponge cake right the first time, even though I played around with the ingredients...I increased the amount of banana and cut down on the sugar a little. The finished cake was very well received. Even though it was only my second attempt, I baked this same cake and gave it away when I wanted to return a kind gesture. I was lucky that the cake was well baked, at least the exterior looks well baked, all nicely browned. My friend, whom I have yet to meet in person, (we have angels to provide free delivery service for us) was kind enough not to give a single negative comment, other than it was slightly on the sweet side and very banana-y. It turn out that she has made this exact same cake before!
On my third attempt, I tweak the recipe a little and made a chocolate version out of it. On my latest endeavour, I cut down even more sugar. I must have felt overly confident, and did another bold change to the recipe...I replaced a small portion of the oil with milk as I feel that the cake is slightly too oily.
The latest version is still as soft and fluffy, and I find the sweetness just right. From the crumb, it looks like a slice of pound cake, however, it is quite light, not dense at all. The texture is almost close to a chiffon cake, although it has got more 'bite' to it. This sponge cake uses a lot more oil compared to most sponge cake recipes I have come across. As a result, the cake stays moist and is delicious eaten plain on its own...there is no need to jazz it up with layers of cream.
The way I went about making the cake is slightly different from the original recipe. I took an extra step here and there just to make sure I get the folding of the flour and the oil right. If you are an experienced baker, do hop over to Wen's blog for the original recipe, if you are as gung ho as me, feel free to try out my version...which I am afraid, for the time being, comes with no guarantee of success ;)
Banana Sponge Cake
(makes one 8" round cake)
3 large eggs, room temperature
100g caster sugar (original recipe uses 150g)
250g to 300g bananas (3 large ripened bananas, cut into chunks)
150g cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
80ml vegetable oil (original recipe uses 100ml)
20ml milk (I used low fat fresh milk)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Grease (with butter) and flour sides of an 8" round pan, line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Sieve together cake flour, baking powder and baking soda. Sieve the flour mixture twice and set it aside.
- Place vegetable oil, milk and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl, set aside.
- Place eggs, caster sugar and bananas in a large mixing bowl. With an electric whisk, whisk the mixture at Low speed for a few seconds (to break up the bananas). Change to medium-high speed, and whisk the mixture till it becomes thick, pale and triple in volume. This should take around 7 to 8 mins. The batter should leave a ribbon like trail when the paddle is lifted. Test by lifting up the whisk/paddle, and draw an '8' with the batter. The number should stay for a few seconds. Turn to Low speed again, and beat for another 2 mins. This is to stablise the air bubbles in the batter. (Note: do not over beat the batter...it is not a good thing if the '8' doesn't disappear.)
- Sieve over the flour mixture in 3 separate additions. Each time Fold In the flour carefully with a Spatula, making sure there is no pockets of flour being trapped at the bottom of the bowl. Do not stir the batter with the spatula, it will cause the batter to deflate too much.
- Pour a small portion (less than 1/3) of the batter into the mixing bowl in Step 3. Fold in with the spatula until the oil mixture is fully incorporated into the batter.
- Pour the mixture in Step 6 back into the rest of the batter (Step 5).
- Fold in the batter with the spatula making sure the mixture is well combined. (By now the batter could be deflated by about 20% or so as compared to Step 4).
- Pour the batter into the prepared pan, the pan should be about 3/4 full.
- Bake in preheated oven at 160 degC for 40-45mins or until the surface turns golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean. (The edges of the cake should pull away slightly from the sides of the pan.) Remove from oven, unmold and leave to cool (inverted) on a cooling rack.