A classic banana cake transforms into a decadent loaf with a gooey layer of caramel bananas and studded with chewy pistachios.
¾ cup caster sugar
3 tablespoons water
1 tablespoon butter
3-4 medium bananas, firm but ripe
2 eggs, size 7 (large)
¾ cup brown sugar
¼ cup caster sugar
2 tablespoons milk, hot
½ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup mashed very ripe bananas (about 3)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
¾ cup buttermilk
1¼ cups plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt
70 grams pistachios, roughly chopped
8 cup-capacity loaf tin, greased and base lined with baking paper
Preheat the oven to 160°C.
Base: Put the sugar and water in a small saucepan over a low heat until the sugar has dissolved. Increase the heat and cook until golden then swirl in the butter. Tip half of the caramel into the loaf tin and the remaining into a heatproof bowl.
Halve the bananas lengthways and trim to fit crosswise in the tin. Place cut side down so the base of the tin is completely covered. Pour over the remaining caramel. Set aside.
Cake: Beat the eggs and both sugars in a standing mixer until very thick and tripled in volume. Combine the milk and baking soda in a small bowl. Stir into the mashed bananas along with the vanilla and buttermilk. Fold this into to the egg mixture.
Combine all the dry ingredients and gently but thoroughly fold into the batter along with the pistachios, ensuring there are no unmixed pockets of flour. Carefully pour over the bananas and bake for about 1 hour or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Make sure it’s not caramel from the bananas on the skewer.
Leave the loaf for 10 minutes then invert onto a serving plate and remove the baking paper. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature topped with extra chopped pistachios. Makes 1 loaf
Cook's tip: My loaf tin has a wide, 11cm flat base. If your tin is narrower than this, you will use fewer bananas in the base.