Baking for my family is something that I have always enjoyed - ever since I can remember, I have been constantly lurking about the kitchen with a heavy dew of flour set upon my clothes and a suspicious streak of batter smeared across my cheek. These days, baking endeavours are particularly interesting as I undergo the creatively challenging task of making traditional favourites vegan. In my very typical New Zealand family, the v-word is met with slight skepticism and hesitancy (especially when it comes to taste testing). No matter how much icing I slather on top, they always seem to find a way to blame the lack of milk or eggs. However, this cake is always a welcome sight in my household, and has often mysteriously vanished within a day or two. May I present to you the enormously healthy and absolutely divine caramel and golden linseed banana cake!
If that wasn't persuasive enough, this is also one of those simple cakes that are more than happy to be iced whilst still retaining some of the heat from the oven, which makes it excellent if you have guests arriving - who can resist the aroma of fresh cake, and the coziness of an oven-warmed kitchen? It also has a surprisingly moist crumb, similar to that of one made using almond meal, and although it's quite a rustic wee thing it's easy to glamourise; simply double the batter, bake in two separate pans, layer with some fresh slices of banana and whipped coconut cream, and adorn with a few fresh flowers from the garden! Perfect for any occasion. Needless to say, I absolutely adore this cake.
This gorgeous caramel and golden linseed banana cake is the perfect example of why baking should truly be present in day to day life. The beautifully rich coconut oil in both the cake and the glaze is especially beneficial in terms of skin health, whilst the banana and coconut sugars give a source of quick energy - the perfect snack food! Feel free to omit the icing if you are not a fan of refined sugars - the coco caramel sauce in my ebook would serve as a great alternative. I also decided to incorporate some chromatically-appropriate linseeds - not only do these taste gloriously nutty and look like little nibs of gold, but they are naturally the richest plant source of Omega-3's. How's that for 'good things come in small packages'?
4 medium-sized ripe bananas
1/3 cup of coconut sugar
2/3 cup of coconut oil, melted
1 teaspoon of vanilla bean paste
1 1/2 cups of a gluten-free flour blend or spelt flour
2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
1/8 teaspoon of sea salt
2 tablespoons of golden linseeds
CREAMY CARAMEL GLAZE
2 tablespoons of virgin coconut oil
1/4 cup of coconut sugar
1 cup of icing sugar
Golden linseeds, for sprinkling
- Preheat your oven to 180°C on bake mode, with the rack centred. Prepare an 8 inch cake pan (or a pan of your choice, you will just have to alter the cooking time accordingly) by greasing it with coconut oil and lining it with parchment paper.
- Peel the bananas and place in a medium-sized bowl. Mash with a fork until gooey, with a few chunks left whole if you'd like to find soft banana pockets in your cake later on.
- In a small saucepan over a low heat, melt the coconut oil. Add the warm oil to the bowl with the bananas, along with the coconut sugar and vanilla bean paste, and mix with a whisk until the sugar granules are mainly dissolved (you can check this by rubbing the mixture between your thumb and forefinger - if it feels gritty, you'll need to stir it a little longer).
- Sift the flour and baking powder into a large bowl, then add the sea salt and linseeds, and stir thoroughly. Make a well in the centre and pour the wet ingredients in, gradually folding more and more of the dry ingredients in from the side until a relatively wet batter is formed.
- Pour this batter into the prepared cake tin, and place in the preheated over for approximately 40-45 minutes. I strongly recommend checking your cake at the earliest recommended time in order to prevent overcooking - you can do so by either inserting a bamboo skewer into the centre of the cake, which will come out cleanly, or by pressing down on the middle of the cake. If it springs back, it is cooked.
- Allow the cake to properly set in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire cooling rack (you could simple turn onto a serving plate, but it won't have the deliciously chewy outside). Use your better judgement in terms of how warm you plan on icing the cake - too hot and the sugary coating will simply slide off the cake. Slightly above skin temperature is what I consider ice-able.
- Prepare the caramel glaze by warming the coconut oil and coconut sugar together over a medium heat in a small saucepan, stirring consistently until a light simmer is reached. Take off the heat and allow to cool and thicken a little, then use a fork to incorporate and slightly whip in the icing sugar. Pour onto the centre of the cake, spread out until the icing is around a centimetre or two from the edge (to allow for running), and sprinkle with as many golden linseeds as you see fit.