Banana, fig and walnut loaf cake

Banana, fig and walnut loaf cake

By
From
The Tivoli Road Baker
Makes
1 large loaf
Photographer
Bonnie Savage and Alan Benson

This is a great treat that’s always nice to have in the pantry. It’s a bit like banana bread, but much more special, with the figs and nuts bringing contrasting textures. You could use different dried fruits if you like – we’ve made this with dates and hazelnuts with excellent results.

Ingredients

Quantity Ingredient
155g plain (all-purpose) flour
2 tablespoons cornflour (cornstarch)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda (baking soda)
1/2 teaspoon table salt
250g (approx. 3–4) very ripe bananas, peeled
juice of 1/2 lemon
2 eggs, at room temperature
1/2 vanilla pod, seeds scraped
85g butter, soft
170g caster (superfine) sugar
115g walnut halves
225g dried figs, stems removed and quartered
1 banana (less ripe)
1–2 tablespoon raw (demerara) sugar, for topping

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 160°C (320°F). Grease a 9 × 22 × 10 cm (3½ × 8¾ × 4 in) loaf tin and line it with baking paper.
  2. Sift together the flours, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt. In a separate bowl, mash the very ripe bananas with the lemon juice until soft, then stir in the eggs and vanilla.
  3. In a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Gradually add the egg and banana mixture, beating well between each addition until fully incorporated. Add the dry ingredients and mix gently until combined, then add the walnuts and figs and mix together.
  4. Peel the other banana and cut two thin slices lengthways. Pour the mixture into your prepared tin, then place the banana slices over the top. (It is important the slices are thin, otherwise they will sink into the batter as the cake bakes.) Sprinkle with raw sugar, as desired, then bake for 50–60 minutes, until the top is golden brown and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave in the tin for a few minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool.

Bakery Notes

  • It’s best to use very ripe bananas in the mix for this cake. The browner the banana, the more flavour it will lend to the finished product. You can often find heavily discounted bananas in just the right state of disrepair at your grocer.
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