Wednesday, March 16, 2011

fig and banana cake (or, necessity is the mother of invention)

First, I want to acknowledge the tragedy in Japan and say how helpless I feel. I have made a donation to the charity suggested by verypurpleperson, who lives in Tokyo. I made softies for the Queensland flood victims. I've signed up to do the same for Christchurch. There's just too much of this going on in the world. I feel awfully lucky to live where I do.

So. In my lucky part of the world, life goes on. And so does cake.
not the prettiest of cakes, so I accessorised
I invented a cake! I've made it twice now so I know the first time was not just a fluke.

We've had a bounty of figs around these parts. I won't call it a surplus because I'm yet to experience too many figs. We love 'em. We have a small tree, but after putting the word out that we're a fig-lovin' family, they've been rolling in from all directions.

Some were looking less than their best after a few days. A fig-lovin' friend at work suggested baking with them, which I hadn't considered. So now I present the improbable but delicious

Fig and Banana Cake.

Almost healthy!

1 cup wholemeal self-raising flour
1 cup fine semolina
3/4 cup soft brown sugar
2/3 cup powdered milk (this was part of the 'necessity' - we were out of fresh and I had this left over from some other baking)
1.5 tsp mixed spice or other spices of choice
2 tbsp LSA mix (ground linseed, sunflower seeds and almonds - I usually have this around, it's easily left out or substituted for other chopped nuts)

120g butter or marge, melted
2 - 3 over-ripe bananas, mashed (I put over-ripe ones in the freezer to keep for cakes)
3 eggs
5 or so ripe figs, chopped
1/2 cup water (roughly)

Mix all dry ingredients well. Combine wet ingredients and mix into dry. Add more water if needed to make a good cake batter consistency. Pour into large, greased ring tin (I use one of those flugelhorn, erm, hugenflopff, whatever, pretty ones!).

Bake at around 170 degrees Celcius for about 45 minutes, or until a skewer only just comes out clean. I do this on non-fan-forced. I find my cakes turn out better that way.

Tastes great with natural yoghurt. It hasn't lasted long enough in my house to experiment with any icing ideas. I call that a cake success.

I think the figs could be substituted with various other fruits, fresh or dried. Dried pear for some reason sounds appealing. Grated apple might work nicely, and then pump up the cinnamon content.

I'm sometimes surprised at how much fruit you can actually put into a cake. I have a banana cake that I am still pushing the limits with, to see how many bananas can go in without it turning out all wrong. I think I'm up to nine large bananas.

What's your favourite fruity cake?

- Jane x


  1. Jane, thank you for the very kind and warm message about Japan. Since the earthquake happened and then the tsunami, things are getting worse... that makes me sad more and more.. I really want to know the details on news.. but sometimes I just cannot see the tragedy.. cannot accept..
    my Andy and I will be in Japan soon, so I will do something supportable for the people!

    About fig:)
    Actually I got (stole!) some figs from my Andy's work the other day.. still thinking to make some cake or jam..
    I may just follow your recipe:)

    'whats my favourite fruity cake?'
    - this recipe doesnt say 'cake' saying 'loaf'.. but I have been wanting to make this one created by one of my favourite (celebrity) chefs Bill Granger.

  2. Would you believe that I've never had a fig? And would have no idea how to eat one if I did have sounds like I might be missing out.

  3. Chika, I have been thinking about you! I really hope your family is all safe. I'm sure it is all very hard for you to watch/hear about. Please be sure it is safe enough before you travel! That cake recipe you mention sounds delicious. If you try it, let me know how it goes!

    Carolyn - oh yes a good fig is beautiful! They don't travel well so you pretty much need to have them straight from the tree. You just pull them apart and bite straight in! Or, wrap them in proscuitto... or stuff with blue cheese... or grill with honey... mmmm..... Maybe your climate is too cool, I guess they're pretty much a Mediterranean climate thing.

  4. I'm not a fig fan, but our banana plant finally decided to ripen all at once this week, so we have a whole heap of the silly things that need to be used up. even my banana obsessed kids would have trouble eating all 50 of them before they go off. I suspect we'll be eating banana cake for a while.

    I don't know how it'd go with the fig, but lemon icing (lemon juice and icing sugar) goes really well on banana cake.

  5. Wow Sarah, 50 bananas! They really do freeze fine for cake. They look disgusting when they defrost but the cakes turn out totally normal. Mmmm, lemon icing, yeah, I think it goes well with just about anything except maybe chocolate cake?


Hey, I would really love to know what you think. Go on!

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