Whenever I eat a bare banana cake, I can’t help thinking it could do with some icing.
As we had loads of bananas, slowly turning black, in the fruit bowl, it was time to inflict another banana cake on my work colleagues. Rather than leaving bare, I decided to top it with some sort of salted caramel icing; I couldn’r decide on buttercream or a plain glaze.
The other issue, was deciding on whose banana cake to make, in the end I decided to go for Signe Johansen’sBanana spice cake, from Scandilicious Baking. This was under the incorrect assumption that I hadn’t already made this one for my work colleagues.
If I’d bothered to look at my spreadsheet of previous bakes, I’d have baked Dan Lepard’sDark banana ginger cake instead. I’d baked it the weekend before, we had friends round for fika, and thought that it could handle some icing.
I decided to go with a simple salted caramel glaze. I can’t remember which recipe I used for inspiration, but it’s pretty simple; make a caramel, add some salt, pour over cake, eat. As it turns out, banana cakes are generally bare for a reason. The topping didn’t quite work, it was nice, but jarred with the cake a bit too much.
If I was going to attempt to top a banana cake again, I think a buttercream based topping would be a better choice.
I didn’t fancy making two of them, so decided to find a complimentary cake. As oranges and lemons are made for each other, I plumped for Rose Elliot’sLemon cake from her book Fast, Fresh and Fabulous (which has since been renamed the Low-GI Vegetarian Cookbook). The two cake recipes are pretty much identical, except for the citrus fruit used.
There is only one downside to these recipes, which is the boiling of the fruit, it takes ages. Other than that, they’re pretty easy to make. A quick dusting with icing sugar when they’ve cooled and they’re ready to go, accompanied by a pot crème fraîche.
You’ll notice, however, that they didn’t look the same. Claudia Roden’s Orange and Almond Cake had way more volume to it before it went into the oven. It promptly collapsed when it came out and cooled, and stuck itself to the side of the buttered and floured tin. Rose Elliot’s went into the tin and came out of the oven at exactly the same level, no rise but no sinkage either. It had come away from the sides of the tin though, so turned out without any issues.
The appeared to go down quite well, with the lemon cake looking like the favourite out of the two. I’m not sure if this was because I’d used Seville oranges, rather than a sweeter variety, or that the texture on the lemon cake was maybe slightly better. Either way, it meant that I had a few slices to have for breakfast on the Saturday and Sunday.