Fiona McIntosh

Belinda Jeffery’s ‘most fabulous banana cake’

Do yourself a favour. If you’re a home cook who loves to bake, you could do so much worse than treat yourself to Belinda Jeffery’s ‘Mix & Bake’. Everything is explained, loads of great tips and the recipes I’ve found to be failsafe…always elegant but striving for simplicity. They’re country, they’re scrumptious and they’re grounded in the real joy that comes from producing something that makes everyone around you hum with pleasure for your efforts.

And this cake you’ve seen me promote on facebook and I’ve had several requests to post the recipe so with Belinda’s indulgence and I hope your support for her books in the future, here it is:

225g plain flour
3 teaspoons baking powder
three qtr teaspoon of salt
half teaspoon bicarb of soda
2-3 very ripe bananas (you need one cup of mashed fruit for this)
370g castor sugar
2 eggs
125g unsalted butter at room temp and cut into small cubes
100mls buttermilk
one and a half teaspoons of vanilla extract

For the icing you need:

250g cream cheese at room temp, also cut into small chunks
125 unsalted butter at room temp, cut into cubes
500g icing sugar mix, sifted
one and a half teaspoons vanilla extract

Oven on 180 degreesC or lower slightly if you’re using fan forced – you know your oven!
Butter and flour a deep 26cm ring tin
Put the flour, baking powder, salt and bicarb into a food processor and whiz for 15 secs, then tip into a bowl and set it aside.
Mash bananas and measure out your cup of pulp. Scrape into processor and puree until smooth.
Add the sugar and eggs and whiz for a minute.
Add butter and whiz for another minute or until the mix is thick and creamy.
Add the buttermilk and vanilla extract but pulse the processor in quick on/off bursts to just mix them in.
Add the flour mix and again mix it in with quick bursts, scraping down the side with a spatula until just combined. DON’T OVERDO OR THE CAKE WILL BE TOUGH.
Scoop into the tin and smooth evenly.
Bake for 30-35 mins or until a fine skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. It doesn’t rise a lot as it’s quite dense.
Dont be tempted to open the oven early or it will undoubtedly sink. Cook in tine on a wire rack for 7 mins, then gently loosen the cake around the edges with a butter knife and invert onto rack to cool completely before you slice into two layers with a serrated knife.

To make the icing whiz the cheees and better in the food processor until well combined. Add icing sugar and vanilla extract and process until smooth. Chill for 15 mins if it’s warm in your kitchen so it’s firmish to work with.

Sandwich layers with icing and then ice as you wish. Belinda’s is iced all over – I chose to just sandwich with the icing and then thickly ice the top.

Keep well in the fridge for a week but let it warm up before you serve. Never lasts in our house – my sons are eating it the second I turn away from icing it! Enjoy.