Banana cake

Picture of home-made banana cake piled high with Suffolk strawberries, using a quick and easy frugal recipe for banana cake to cut costs and cut food waste

Banana cake with Suffolk strawberries

 

Banana cake is a brillliant way to use up over-ripe bananas, so you don’t end up binning the squidgy ones with brown spots on the skin.

Even better, this is a quick and easy recipe with inexpensive ingredients and no faffy icing. A great-tasting cake that cuts costs and cuts food waste – what’s not to like?

You can tell how much I love this recipe, because I have a copy in my favourites folder, complete with grubby fingerpints. It also has “V. good” scrawled in the corner – and I’m not sure it’s even my handwriting.

I should however point out that this is a sponge cake recipe with a couple of mashed bananas chucked in. No pretensions to life-long health by substituting bananas for whatever ingredient isn’t flavour of the month right now. Avocado and chia seed chocolate mousse it ain’t. Just cake – with bananas.

I reckon banana cake is best warm, pretty much out of the oven. In our house, home-made cake rarely lasts long, but I have in the past hidden half to take on a picnic the next day, and it still went down well.

BANANA CAKE

Ingredients

175g sugar. Caster sugar is good, cheaper granulated sugar is fine too.

175g self-raising flour

175g soft margarine. I push the boat out and use Stork.

3 eggs. Crack them into a mug, so you can fish out any broken bits of shell before it ends up in the cake.

Few drops of vanilla essence

2 ripe bananas, peeled and mashed up with a fork

Method

Summary

Oven on, tin ready, all ingredients in mixer, into tin, into oven for 20 minutes or so, cool and eat.

Full version:

  1. Turn the oven on at 180 degrees C / 160 degrees C in a fan oven / Gas Mark 4
  2. Prepare your tin. I prefer using a tray bake tin, rectangular with low sides. Some people like using a loaf tin, but that increases the risk of a slightly soggy cake in the middle (living on the edge, people). Roll out some greaseproof paper or baking parchment, bung the tin on the paper, draw round the base and then cut it out. Ta dah, a piece of paper the right size for the base of your tin. Then use some margarine to grease the base of the tin and up the sides. Pop the paper inside the bottom of the tin, and grease on top of that for good measure. The paper will help immensely with getting the cake out after cooking, without half of it sticking to the side of the tin.
  3. Ideally, chuck all of the ingredients into a mixer and switch it on until well-mixed. No mixer? Get handy with a big bowl and a wooden spoon. If you’re doing it by hand, I’d avoid putting everything in at the same time, due to greater risk of a kitchen explosion with flour shooting everywhere. Instead, make life easier by mixing the sugar and margarine together, then adding a dollop of flour with a bit of egg and the vanilla essence, before mixing again. Keep adding a bit of flour and a bit of egg until it’s all combined, and then carefully stir in the bananas.
  4. Now transfer the yellow gloopiness into the tin. Try to fend off small children from eating all the cake mix before it’s even cooked.
  5. Shove in the oven. Check after 20 minutes, in the tray bake tin. DO NOT open the oven door before 20 minutes. Banana cake is never going to rise much, due to chucking in all that banana on top of a sponge cake, so it needs all the help it can get. You’ll know the cake is cooked when it’s golden brown on top, the edges have started shrinking away from the side of the tin, and if you stick a knife point or skewer into the middle, it comes out clean with no cake mixture sticking to it. If it’s not done yet, stick if back in the oven for a few more minutes.
  6. Take the cake out of the oven. Leave it for 5 minutes, then cover with a tea towel, so you can carefully upend the tin onto your hand and peel off the paper. Put a cooling rack on top of the cake, where the paper was, and then turn it all back over so the cake is now on top of the cooling rack. Leave for 10 minutes (if you can wait that long) and then tuck in.

Cost

£1.41 for the whole cake, based on ingredients from Morrisons, as my nearest supermarket, on 2 July 2017.

5p for 175g of Morrisons M Savers Self-Raising Flour (45p for 1.5kg), 8p for 175g of Silver Spoon Granulated Sugar (88p for 2kg), 39p for 175g of Stork margarine (£2.24 for 1kg), 40p for 3 mixed weight free-range eggs (£2 for 15), 40p for two bananas, 9p for half a teaspoon of Dr Oetker Madagascan Vanilla Extract (£1.30 for 35ml)

 

I think this cake is great just with a cup of tea, but you can also make it into more of an event by serving with fresh fruit, like strawberries or raspberries, or with cream, ice cream or custard. Mmmmmmm, cake. With all that fruit, surely it counts as one of my five a day?

If you’d like alternatives to banana cake, check the ‘Sweet’ section of the recipe index, or try out some of my other family favourites like lemon drizzle cake, fruit scones, bargain best ever chocolate brownie and Victoria sponge.

Now over to you – what’s your favourite quick and easy cake recipe?

4 Comments

    • July 3, 2017 / 12:08 pm

      Walnuts do sound delicious. My children don’t like nuts very much, so could be a sneaky way of ensuring more cake for me!

  1. Hazel
    July 3, 2017 / 6:22 am

    I think flapjack will always be our default cake recipe here-the children sell it at our local village t00-small-for-a-farmers market each month to raise money for their various Scout/Guide expeditions or for charity.
    After trying various cheffy recipes I finally asked a friend who made delicious flapjack for her recipe and it turned out to be from her childhood Winnie-the-Pooh cook book (though there’s no honey in it!)
    It’s always popular- it’s reputation precedes it locally- and is great for egg and gluten-free diets, just not dairy-free. Or sugar-free…

    I’ll have to try your banana cake recipe. My standard one is an oil-based recipe from when I was a member of a Yahoo group called Pantry Challenge years ago. That’s very quick to throw together (no creaming!) and tastes really good.

    • July 3, 2017 / 12:10 pm

      Oooh interesting about the flapjack recipe in the Winnie the Pooh cook book, I might actually have a copy of that. Will compare it with my usual recipe, good excuse to make some more flapjack! Do let me know how it goes if you try the banana cake recipe, would love to hear.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *