Tuesday 26 June 2012

nothing special

There is nothing special about this simple banana walnut cinnamon cake. This cake is as ordinary as your everyday white loaf bread. I can't find anything that I could shout out loud. There is absolutely no wow factor, be it the texture, the flavour...and it certainly doesn't look like a pretty cake. In fact, the method of preparing this cake is not very different from baking a batch of muffins. It is just like putting 12 muffins together to form a cake.

Yet, I couldn't help but to blog about it, and that is despite the colour of my photos came out weird, thanks to the poor lighting condition.

and here are my reasons for writing up this post:

This is the kind of cake that I will make anytime, as long as I have a bunch of over ripe bananas and leftover walnuts, or any nuts or dried fruits I could find in my fridge. Making the cake is a breeze, you do not have to invest much of your precious time just to put a cake into the oven. It is one of those cakes that you could bake on a whim...jumping from the couch to the kitchen ;) There is not much washing up either. Best of all, it is quite a fool-proof recipe...I doubt anything could go wrong, unless this is the very very first time you have ever baked a batch of muffins. Even then, by following the steps closely, I am sure any novice will be able to make a stir-and-bake cake like this one.

Despite its simplicity, the texture of the cake is really good....soft, moist and fluffy. Definitely a healthier choice than any store bought banana walnut cake as it doesn't leave a greasy after taste, or stick to the roof of your mouth...yet it doesn't taste dry at all. I wouldn't recommend omitting the cinnamon powder as it does lend a aromatic flavour to this ordinary, everyday tea cake.

On a side note, I can't remember where I read it, but I have learned something new about preparing a cake pan for baking. I have always line the base of the cake pan with parchment paper, but for the sides, sometimes I will line it with parchment paper, and sometimes (especially if the recipe specifically states so) I will grease, with butter, and flour the sides. It never occurs to me whether it makes any difference...since both methods help to prevent the cake from sticking to the pan. The only difference for me is, I always get very frustrated trying to line the sides or a round pan with parchment paper. I have this thing about making sure the paper sticks perfectly to the sides so that my cake will come out of the pan with a perfect 90 degree straight edges! Anyway, it may not be new to you, and it may even sound trivial, I learned that by greasing and flouring the sides, the finished cake will give a nice golden crust. Call me a perfectionist if you must, but I was really happy to notice the evenly browned crust all over the sides of this cake. In case you are wondering, no, the crust is not thick and hard at all, just a nice thin layer, which doesn't add much value to the cake, but does brighten up an ordinary home baker's day....

Thank you for reading :)

Banana Walnut Cinnamon Cake

(makes one 7" cake)

150g cake flour
2g ground cinnamon
4g baking powder
2g baking soda
1g salt (I used sea salt)
2 large eggs
80g caster sugar (I cut down to 70g)
70ml vegetable oil (I used canola oil)
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
250g, about 3 medium sized over ripe banana, mashed (original recipe uses 120g)
70g walnuts, coarsely chopped (reserve 1 tablespoon as toppings)

  • Toast chopped walnuts at 150degC for about 8 to 10mins, stir in between and make sure walnuts do not get burnt.
  • Line base of a 7" round pan with removable base with parchment paper, grease (with butter) and flour the sides. Set aside.
  • Sieve together cake flour, ground cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt, set aside.
  • Place eggs, caster sugar, oil and vanilla extract in a mixing bowl. With a manual whisk, whisk to combine.
  • Add mashed banana, whisk to combine.
  • Sieve over the flour mixture, with a spatula, fold the mixture until just incorporated. Do not over mix. The batter should appear lumpy.
  • Add in chopped walnuts (set aside 1 tablespoon to use as toppings), stir just to combine.
  • Pour batter into prepared pan. Tap the pan a few times on work surface to release any trapped air bubbles. Sprinkle the top with the remaining walnuts.
  • Bake in pre-heated oven at 175degC for 30-35mins or until a tooth pick inserted into the centre comes out clean.
  • Remove from oven, leave to cool for 5mins. Unmould and transfer to wire rack, let cool completely.
Recipe source: adapted from 我的幸福手作面包,李成实


agapejen said...

It doesn't look ordinary to me. It is so pretty n looks so delicious. We dun need fancy stuff, just nice homemade food made with love

Kimmy said...

Hi HHB, thanks for sharing so much on preparing the baking pan, this part to me is worst than preparing the cake batter. I welcome this idea of baking all muffins in 1 pan. I'll do that next time.

PH said...

Sometimes simplicity is best. I think this cake looks quite lovely and I am sure it is a very good cake. Bananas, walnuts and cinnamon is a flavorsome combination. By the way, do you roast the walnuts first or does it go in raw ?

BakingTray said...

Sometimes the simple and easy cakes are the yummiest ^^ this looks delicious! Banana muffins/cakes are one thing I bake when I just feel like a quick snack but don't want to spend too much time baking (or washing up) so this is a great recipe~
And thanks for the tip about greasing and flouring the sides of the cake tin. I also get frustrated with having the baking paper perfectly straight around the tin ><

Happy Homebaker said...

agapejen, thanks for your kind words :)

Kimmy, glad to hear that you have picked up some tips here!

Phong Hong, thanks for asking, I have forgotten about toasting the walnuts, yes, I usually toast nuts before using. I have just updated the instructions, thanks!

BakingTray, thanks for telling me, at least now I know I am not the only one or two who has an issue with getting the baking paper perfectly straight ;)

Anonymous said...

Hi! Can i use plain flour/all-purpose flour instead of cake flour? :)

Gayathri NG said...

Flavorful n delicious cake, anything with walnut i am just in...

Janine said...

hehe i'm lazy so i don't bother with the lining around the sides of the tin because i get overly irritated with the little bumps whenever i try to line the sides. love that this is a simple recipe and makes use of a lot of banana :)

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Anonymous, yes, you can use plain flour instead.

Adele said...

The cake looks delicious

Daniel's Food Diary said...

Hi there, checking if you have an email as I couldn't find it around here. My email is DanielFoodDiary@gmail.com Thanks!

Gracey said...

Looks yummy, I love anything with nuts or cinnamon, this is a perfect combination

Christine said...

Hello HHB!

This post of yours make me crave for a slice of really nice banana cake now!

By the way, I enjoy reading your blog and have become your followers for quite some time by now. Also, with this opportunity I would like to nominate you for the Versatile Blog Award. I have announced it here: http://www.mywanderingstory.com/2012/06/versatile-blogger-award.html

Can't wait to see more recipe updates from you.

Cheers and greetings from Malaysia!


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Christine, thank you for reading my blog and taking time to leave your comments :):)
and thank you so much for nominating me for the Versatile Blog Award!!

Christine said...

Hi HHB, my pleasure. I enjoy reading your blog from time to time and you simply deserve it. :-) Have a good weekend with your loved ones!

Anonymous said...

HHB, loves your banana cake...you mentioned about "Sieve over the flour mixture, with a spatula, fold the mixture until just incorporated. Do not over mix. The batter should appear lumpy", I am always very stress with this,how do I ensure the flour is well mixed without over mix. Appreciate if you could share tips on how to do the folding..thanks a million :)

Emily Koh

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Emily, you need to 'fold' and not stir the mixture. By folding it means scraping your spatula (do not use a ballon whisk) from the side of the bowl and move it all the way down to the bottom of the bowl. Then lift up the batter with the spatula and at the same time, turn the bowl in the opposite direction. I am no expert in baking, but you may like to read my blog post on mixing muffin batters which I have included a video clip:

However, do note that the initial mixing was done by my younger son, I took over only the last couple of minutes. Not sure whether it helps. but you can google for professional video demo on folding flour to batter to get a better picture :)

Kimmy said...

HHB, I baked this all in one muffin today with my new loose base round pan. Turns out well, soft and moist. Thanks for sharing. Okay, if I post this recipe in my blog to share with others, too?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Kimmy, glad to hear that you cake turns out well :) Yes, you may post it on your blog, but would appreciate it if you could link it back to this post.

Anonymous said...

May I ask what sort of banana did you use for this cake? And the walnuts are readily available in bakery supplies shop like Phoon Huat? In the supermarket bakery section, there is only this Red Ribbon brand ... is that good enough? Would love to give this a try!!! Thank you!


Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Ee, I used delmonte bananas, you can get walnuts from Phoon Huat. Hope this helps.

Anonymous said...

Nice! Just one thing: i suggest you to no use Canola anymore, the biodiesel, it's OGM :)!Thanks for the reciep, i will try right now! -Ludag

Anonymous said...

Best banana cake recipe ever. Love it sooooo much

Aruna said...

A very nice and lovely recipe. I have one question :)
I live in India and don't get cake flour. So what is cake flour and how do I make it at home? Is there a substitute for cake flour? Thanks

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi Aruna, you can read about the different types of flour here:
and how to substitute cake flour with plain flour here:

Anonymous said...

Hi, your cake looks delicious.. Your walnut is raw? By the way, if the walnut is sprinkle on top of the cake do we still need to toast it? Can we just sprinkle raw walnut and bake together? What will be the differ in taste? Will the walnut get burnt?

Happy Homebaker said...

Hi, yes, I used only raw walnuts. If the walnuts are used as toppings and baked together it is not necessary to toast it especially the walnuts are fresh (newly bought). The walnuts may get burnt if the top of the cake is too near the heating elements. You may cover with foil if the top starts to brown too quickly but the baking time is still not up. Toasted walnuts will definitely taste better.

fasolakia ladera said...

I like all kind of cakes, but I think it will be better with some chocolate. Anyway, great recipe :)