Banana sponge

A few years ago, my mother inherited my grandmother’s 9-inch sandwich cake tins. My grandmother had in-turn inherited the tins from her mother-in-law.  These cake pans have been making family birthday cakes for probably close to 100 years. They’re thin steel, not fancy, but there is something very special about them. In fact, the banana sponge that I invented yesterday turned out so amazingly well that I suspect that four generations of baking experience must have mystically infused the metal.  I’ll be intrigued to know if this recipe turns out equally beautiful cakes without the Hudson cake tins.

The recipe was something of an accident – which I suspect is often the case with many banana cake recipes.  My dad – the prime banana eater in my parent’s house – was flying to a conference in New Zealand. On heading out the door he called: “You’ll have to bake a banana bread as I won’t be around to eat all these.”  With morning and then afternoon tea visitors expected and only a scraping of thick cream in the fridge, we had every excuse to take his advice. The recipe is mostly Joy of Cooking – but uses different flour, sugar, yogurt and filling – which I say makes this a different cake.

Banana sponge

  • 5 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 cup caster sugar
  • 1/2 cup soft brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup mashed ripe banana
  • a scraping of vanilla pod
  • 1/4 cup plain yogurt

To serve:

  • 1/2 cup extra thick double cream (or whipped cream)
  • 1 ripe banana sliced
  • icing sugar

Preheat the oven to 180°C. Line the base with baking paper and grease two 9-inch round cake pans.

Sift together the flour and baking powder and set aside. Cream the butter and slowly add the caster sugar, followed by the brown sugar.  Beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at at time and beat to combine.  In a separate bowl, mix the banana, vanilla and yogurt  Gently fold the flour into the butter mixture in about three parts, alternating with the banana mixture.  Divide the mix between the two pans and bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool completely.  Once cool, turn the base cake upside down and spread the facing side with thick cream, followed by the sliced banana. Invert the second cake and place this on top of the banana. Dust the top with icing sugar.

Banana cream sponge

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