Banana Peel Cake Take #2

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It was so good, it was all gone before I thought to take a photo…

A couple of months back, I experimented with cake from banana peel. It didn’t come out as well as I would have liked…a little solid and quite dry…Challenged to feed the troops at work, I had another crack at it.

I’ve done some learning since that first attempt and have two knew tricks to keep my cakes nice and moist: the first is to remove the cake from the oven when it is still a little underdone. The normal wisdom is that the cake is done when a skewer comes out clean: the truth is that it is already well done by this stage: the time to remove it from the oven is when just a few crumbs still stick to the skewer. The second trick is to store your cakes in a proper sealable cake tin i.e. not just on a plate on a shelf or in the fridge where it will quickly dry out.

My experiment with blending banana whole i.e. skinned has been going well: the only hiccup has been that fresh banana skins are a little too fibrous to blend smoothly. Ripe and frozen bananas go through the blades no problem. If in doubt, I place any under-ripe peels in a container in the freezer where they start to break down. They only seem to semi-freeze which is probably why they still ripen while ‘frozen’ and only need 30 minutes if that, before they are soft enough to puree. the thawing process can be hastened by soaking the skins in water.

Unimpressed with the original banana peel recipe that was hideously over-sugared, I decide to use Nadia Lim’s base recipe for kumara cake and just sub out the three cups of kumara with three cups of pureed banana peel.I added some water – maybe a half cup – to the peels when pureeing them and this made that task and lot simpler and easier. I ‘greened’ up the recipe a tad by using 50/50 raw sugar and coconut sugar, and a 25/75 mix of home-ground wholemeal flour and store-bought high grade flour.

What came out of the oven was a lush rich uber-tasty cake that everybody thinks is ‘normal’ banana cake. They are amazed at the actual key ingredient. I like this recipe because a. it taste good and b. it reduces waste in the kitchen – sure, I’d only be composting the peels anyway but using banana peels in baking reduces the waste from a banana to just the very ends.

But wait!! It gets better. I reprised the healthy coffee icing I used on my colourful beetroot cake. To stretch the cashews I subbed in one third walnuts, soaked these overnight and followed the same recipe. I upped the coffee by half a teaspoon and it really kicks butt – an even healthier coffee hit. I can’t do too much about the sugar but will reduce it by half next time as the coffee flavour dominates and the base cake is pretty sweet anyway…

 

Orange Walnut Cake

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I forgot to photograph the process and this little bit was the last remaining piece by the time I remembered…good texture, just a little overcooked…

I’m always looking for new ways to reduce waste and to make the most use of each ingredient. After the success of my lemon icing experiment last month, I thought I’d try the same with orange zest. I looked at a lot of recipes but I liked this one for orange walnut cake from Don’t Forget Delicious as it wasn’t too sugar heavy…

I changed the recipe slightly using half and half combinations of raw sugar and coconut sugar, high-grade flour and home-milled whole flour, and manuka honey and coconut syrup.I didn’t read the instructions properly and baked it in a loaf dish which was too deep to allow the centre to cook at the same rate as the outside: it needs to be baked in a flat pan (I realised this just now as I was checking the recipe). It took three small oranges to around a tablespoon of orange zest…I might aim for a little more next time

Because I used the wrong baking dish, I had to leave it in the oven longer to bake the whole way through and so the final result was a little scorched on top and generally dry inside. Lesson learned for next time.

I wanted a Greek yogurt icing recipe as I had a lot leftover after our beets, feta and rice dinner the other night  and found this one:

Ingredients

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup of icing, sifted
  • 1 teaspoon of orange zest – maybe a little more next time for a stronger orange flavour – I only had quite small oranges (took one to contribute about a teaspoon of zest) so using bigger ones next time should sort this

Instructions

  • Whisk all ingredients until they become a bit thick.
  • Place in the fridge to thicken even more (at least 30 minutes).
  • Spread on cupcakes.

This tasted really good but the recipe calls for way too much yogurt: even after a night in the fridge to thicken it as per the instructions it was still really fluid, too much so to effectively spread…next time I will drop the yogurt down to half a cup and see how that goes…

I was only able to smear a little of the icing over the top without it running off the sides but it did it help conceal the slightly scorched crust. I took it into work and it still disappeared pretty quickly so it wasn’t a total flop…

Orange zest is now a proven ingredient and I am keen to see if I can make a workable orange curd spread in the same way you can with lemons…

We can make and enjoy nice treat and stay true to our green journey…