The ripeness of a banana can be the difference between a dense and a light cake. I used to work in a restaurant where they’d only use frozen banana puree in their famous banana cake because the risk of unripe fruit was too much to handle. Try to use really ripe bananas for this cake. If you’re in a rush, you can put them in a low oven in their skins for 10-15 minutes, then leave them to cool completely before mashing.
Roasted hazelnut and banana cake
This cake is really nutty and not overly sweet. Don’t worry if there’s a small dip in the middle – it’s quite normal for this batter.
Prep 15 min
Cook 1 hr
200g hazelnuts, roasted
200g unsalted butter, softened
200g light brown soft sugar
40ml neutral oil
2 very ripe bananas (200g without skins)
3 medium eggs
½ nutmeg, grated
100g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
A pinch of salt
For the frosting
100g unsalted butter, softened
85g icing sugar
A pinch of salt
250g cream cheese, at room temperature
Heat the oven to 180C (160C fan)/350F/gas 4. Line a 23cm springform cake tin with parchment paper on the bottom and around the sides.
In a food processor, blitz the roasted hazelnuts until they are fine; mostly, you want them to have the texture of ground almonds. Keep about 20g of the chunkier pieces to decorate the final cake.
Remove the nuts from the food processor, set aside, then blitz the oats until they form a powder.
In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the softened butter until light, pale and fluffy. Add the sugar and beat for five minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl to make sure it is evenly mixed. Add the oil and mix until fully incorporated.
In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a fork, add the eggs and honey, and mix. Add this to the butter/sugar mixture and beat until well combined.
In another bowl, stir the ground hazelnuts, ground oats, nutmeg, plain flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt.
Add the dry to the wet mixture and mix until thoroughly combined. Spoon the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 50 minutes to one hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. Cool completely before frosting.
While the cake cools, beat the butter for the frosting until soft, add the icing sugar and salt and mix well. Add the cream cheese and mix quickly; as soon as it’s combined, stop mixing. Spoon the frosting on top of the cake along with the reserved roasted hazelnuts.