Wednesday, 29 July 2009

The Extremely Adaptable Cake

I've never been much of a cake maker...oh I've had countless disasters when I've attempted to bake cakes. I can even ruin cake mixes that come in a packet.

So imagine my delight several years ago when I was given a recipe for Banana Loaf Cake which is foolproof. I have made hundreds of them over the years...and every one has been a winner.

Not only that...but this has become my basic recipe now for a variety of different flavoured cakes...because it allows itself to be adapted to whatever you have in your cupboard or fridge.

Here is the basic Banana Loaf Recipe:

100g Butter
140g Sugar
2 eggs
3 bananas, mashed.
150ml milk
280g plain flour
10g baking powder
100g walnuts, chopped

Whisk butter and sugar. Beat in eggs. Stir in mashed bananas and chopped walnuts. Stir in milk. Add flour and baking powder. Pour into a lined loaf tin and bake at 160 deg for approx one hour, or until firm to the touch and a knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

This is a delicious cake...but now for the adaptations.

Margarine can be can be used instead of butter.

Instead of walnuts, use sultanas, or raisins, pecan nuts, dried figs or apricots, dates, chocolate chips, or chopped fresh fruit.

Instead of mashed bananas, use something else that has roughly the same consistency to make the mixture moist...for example jam, honey, pecmez (Turkish grape molasses), stewed apples or other fruit.

I have used so many different substitutes that I can't remember them all.

This morning I used strawberry jam instead of bananas....and chopped nectarines instead of nuts.

It's just come out of the oven and it's absolutely declicious.

If anyone can come up with some more ideas for substitutes please let me know. I will be delighted!


  1. This recipe is very similar to my Mother's Banana Bread recipe.
    I think I'll go make it tonight!
    What *I* will substitute is Coconut milk for the cow's milk, I will add in some well-drained crushed pineapple and add in some dessicated coconut. Oh! And I will chop and toast the walnuts before adding them in and also add a teaspoon of vanilla extract.
    Thank you for the idea! Back later to tell you how it turned out and with more ideas for substitutions!

    Quiches from Kitty xx

  2. I love baking cakes and have the hips to prove it!

  3. Oh I like the sound of those substitions Kitty. Look forward to hearing how it turns out.

    FF: This is the only cake I can bake really...but I have no problem eating cakes..mores the pity!

  4. Not one for baking cakes, to me that's what Marks and Spencers is for, and the many gorgeous cake shops over here.

    The neighb's bake cakes and give us some of their delicious booty.

  5. I doubt I would bake anything if I had an M & S close by Ann!

  6. Well, Ann, since I used to work in a bakers, a pastry shop and in the baking/pâtisserie section at a Culinary college, I frankly just hate 'store-bought' cakes. I think they are well over-priced for what you get and except for one place that does fresh cream cakes in Ocean Beach, California, I would never bother buying a ready-made cake. (Yes, I am fussy. I admit it.)
    So, how did the adaptations work out? Frankly, not as good as I hoped, however, I knew that as soon as I realised I only had 80g of of plain flour and would have to use whole-wheat for the rest. Hmm. So, a very dense, but flavourful cake as a result. The coconut decided to hide so I used a big handful of chopped, crystallised ginger, instead, the coconut milk instead of cow's milk, some finely chopped and squeezed pineapple and 35 g of corn flour to help lighten it. I cooked it for 1 hour 20 in a paper-lined springform pan. (I have MOST of my loaf tins and cake tins out on loan, at the moment, so, it was either that or make muffins.)
    Verdict: Of the six people who tried the cake, all liked the flavour, my girlfriend Kathie commented on the toasted walnuts, my girls loved the consistency (super-moist) and frankly, I seemed to be the only one who was disappointed it was whole-wheat.
    The recipe is a keeper!
    I have bought some proper flour, so, if I can hide some bananas from my locust plague (children) I will give it another go!

  7. Well Kitty it seems it didn't turn out to badly at all, going by the comments you received. You are probably disappointed because I think you are a perfectionist when it comes to baking I right? The thing I like about it is the moistness. I don't like dry cakes.

    The reason I started out with this recipe was mainly because we can't get self raising flour here..just plain flour. And our baking powder comes in 10g sachets which is very convenient.

    Anyway I'm pleased you think its a keeper...and I'm glad I shared it with you.

    Happy baking!

  8. I will definitely try this one out, you know how I love to bake

  9. Oooh it does sound scrumptious Ayak.

    I should not have read this post, not good my cake-a-holism. Problem is I´m like a guppy fish, if someone doesn´t remove the cake from me or forcibly remove me from the cake I will keep on eating until I explode.

    Well you´re lucky Ayak. The have such a fantastic array of dried fruits and nuts at the markets in Turkey. It must make cake baking a pleasure on the wallet as well as the stomach. Christmas Cake´s would be another winner with all those ingredients you can get at the markets.
    Funny though that good cakes are not really easy to come by in Turkey. They are very bland in taste.


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