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If you google the term ‘banana popularity’ you will get a heap of results informing you that bananas are the most popular fruit in the country of the website’s origin, including the UK, USA and here in Australia (putting aside for a moment that bananas are not technically a fruit, and a lot of other fascinating detail). As well as their massive popularity, bananas are a relatively delicate tropical fruit with a short shelf life, meaning that recipes aimed at using up over-ripe bananas are commonplace, and like bananas themselves the most popular of these recipes is banana cake.

The combination of these two things leads to the inevitability that when the bananas in your fruit bowl get past their best, you have two choices of what to do with them:

  1. Make them into a banana cake; or
  2. Freeze them, and then make them into a banana cake.

fambancake1 Put all the ingredients in a bowl and mix together. If you have an assistant like Ken(wood) so much the better.

The problem with most banana cake recipes, if it really can be considered a problem, is that they usually only require two or perhaps three bananas, so if you have a heap to use up then the prospects are to make two or more cakes, or to deal with the inherent uncertainty of cooking times and containers involved in making a single double-size cake. This recipe has all that figured out already and can get rid of five of those pesky bananas in one hit, making it ideal for feeding the family, feeding your child’s sports team or perhaps packing into school lunches (although I may be showing my age as perhaps such things are no longer kosher in a school lunch). The recipe itself came from when Ms Onion used to volunteer at the school canteen and was a firm favourite of the poor deprived urchins who could only dream of home cooking.

fambancake2 Pour the ingredients into a greased and lined tin. I use a baking dish because I don’t have a tin that big.

I was triggered to write about this because, as you might expect, we recently had quite a few bananas to use up. Our wonderful neighbours run a fruit and vegetable wholesale business and consequently they will often provide us with a selection of in-season produce. For reasons I am not aware of they had a large excess of bananas and gave us a heap, but it was more than we could deal with and so a number of them went into banana cakes. Quite often when they provide us with produce like this I will make something with it and take them back some, but on this occasion they pleaded with me not to bring back any banana cake as they had reached total banana overload.

fambancake3 Post-cooking, pre-icing.

Recipes don’t get a lot easier than this. It is pretty literally bung in all the ingredients and mix them together, then put it in a tin and into the oven. If the bananas are soft enough it’s not even necessary to mash it – just slice them up and the mixing will do the work. It smells really great when it’s cooking and with all the banana produces a nice moist cake that is sure to please. As a bonus it freezes really well, although it rarely makes it as far as the freezer in our place.

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Family Size Banana Cake

Cooking: About 1 14 hours

Banana Cake
  • 1 cup (250 ml) vegetable oil
  • 1 13 cups caster sugar
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 34 cups self raising flour
  • 1 teaspoon bicarbonate soda
  • 5 ripe/overripe bananas, mashed
Caramel Icing
  • 12 cup brown sugar
  • 60 g butter
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 34 cup icing sugar
  • Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a large (25cm x 30cm) tin and line base with baking paper.
  • For the cake, add all the ingredients to a mixing bowl and combine with a mixer until smooth.
  • Pour the mixture into the prepared tin, place in the oven and cook for 1 14 hours.
  • Remove from the oven and check if done – the cake is cooked if a skewer comes out clean when inserted.
  • Let the cake cool for a few minutes in the tin, then remove to a cake rack and allow to cool completely.
  • For the icing, melt the butter in a saucepan, add the sugar and milk and stir until the sugar has melted and the mixture is well combined.
  • Allow to cool slightly, then add the sifted icing sugar and stir until combined and smooth.