Banana Walnut cake (plus 'how to' without oven)
Updated: May 2
With COVID redefining the meaning of weekends and weekdays, we are in the most unprecedented times. As lockdowns get stricter, it is getting increasingly difficult to find many exotic fresh fruits or even basic flavorings or dairy products on the supermarket shelves. But, this should be no reason to stop baking. There is always a humble recipe, just waiting to be found to brighten up your mood during these gloomy times.
The mad-rush to stock pantries and refrigerators and the panic-buying erupting since the lockdown announcements, has led me to be more judicious about how I use my groceries. I have been trying to minimize waste, up-cycling left over food and cooking dishes by using available ingredient rather than venturing out to buy new ones.
So, we had stocked up fresh fruits and vegetables to last up to a week, and no surprise, by the end of Friday we had 3 bananas gone all spotty and black because no one wanted to eat a banana every day. I would have felt immensely guilty if I threw them in the waste bin, so I decided to bake them into a beautiful banana walnut cake – a perfect tea time cake. In fact, the uglier the bananas the more delicious the cake turns out to be. The recipe is so forgiving you can easily make this even if you are looking for eggless option or even if you do not have an oven. (See notes for ‘how to’)
1 and ½ cup all-purpose flour /Maida
½ cup refined oil (any flavourless/odourless oil) or ½ cup melted butter
2/3rd cup powdered sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large ripe bananas
1 large egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4th cup butter milk
1/3 cup roughly chopped walnuts
Butter an 8 inch round pan or loaf tin.
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees.
Mash the bananas using a fork and whisk till they form a banana puree. Keep aside
Mix all dry ingredients together in a bowl - flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and set aside.
Beat oil/butter, sugar for two minutes.
Add 1/3rd of dry ingredients to the sugar mix and gently mix with a spatula
Fold in all the ingredients in this manner – add egg, add 1/3rd dry mix, add banana puree and buttermilk, add remaining dry mix
Lastly add vanilla and fold in a handful of chopped walnuts, reserving a few for the top
Pour in the baking pan/tin and bake for about 30 mins in a convection oven
When taken out of the oven, wait for 10 mins before demoulding the cake
Slice and serve with tea
Eggless version :
Banana cakes are easiest to make eggless as the banana puree lends the ‘eggy’ texture to the cake. For making an eggless version just skip the egg and add 1/3rd to ½ cup of milk. Continue with the recipe as above
If you do not have a traditional convection oven, you can still bake this cake in a make-shift gas-top oven.
For this, you will need a thick bottomed deep pan, a lid – preferably dome shaped that fits the pan perfectly, some salt or cleaned white sand, a wire rack.
You can also use a big pressure cooker without the lid. Replace with another plate to work as a lid. Or alternatively, you can use a big flat iron tawa as the base with a deep dome shaped cover.
The idea is that when you place the cake pan in the centre, there should be enough room to allow for air circulation from all sides as well as enough space on top for the cake to rise. Choose lid carefully to avoid leakage of hot air from the ‘oven’
In the pics below, I have used an Idli maker as the oven.
Fill base of idle maker with a layer of salt, about 1 inch thick.
Keep a wire rack on top
Close the lid and heat the oven for about 10 mins on high flame.
When the batter is ready, keep the cake pan in the centre of the oven and carefully cover the lid.
Reduce the flame to low and bake for about 30 mins
Check the cake by lifting the lid, if you see browning crust, cover with an aluminum foil and continue to bake for 10-20 more minutes.
Total baking time in this oven is slightly longer than a convection.
The banana cake took me about 52 minutes to bake