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Monday, January 31, 2011

Banana Cake with Smooth Coconut Cream & Pomegranate Coulis

I promised you on Twitter that I would post this banana-heaven cake before tea time, I guess I should never make promises if I can't keep them..though it's better later than never.

I must start with a confession: baking is not my strongest suit, mainly because I love savoury dishes more and I prefer Middle Eastern desserts to European ones. There are, however, some cakes I just love: Viennese apple strudel, banana bread, and rich dark chocolate cake (Sachertorte, to be more precise). Indulgence!

I baked banana bread many times in the past, but the other day I was reading on Honey and Jam the story behind a Coconut Loaf. It's funny how internet works for us all. It's more like Chinese whispers, really. The author had found the recipe on Tara and the Seven Spoons, while the source of inspiration had been adapted from another cook's recipe. Pretty amazing, isn't it?

Since I love bananas and coconut milk with equal intensity, it was going through my mind that it would be great if I married the two into one heavenly, luscious, smooth and velvety cake.

You will need the following 

4 eggs

1.5 cup of sugar

extract of vanilla

3 bananas

3 spoonfuls of coconut milk/cream

4 tablespoons desiccated coconut 

3.5 tablespoons of flour

baking powder (1 sachet)

2 spoons of oil

butter (for greasing)

almond flakes for topping

1 pomegranate

Start by making the pomegranate coulis: peal and clean a pomegranate, pick the yellowish skins, put the fruit in a small pot, add a cup of sugar and half a glass of water (just to barely cover the fruit) or, better still, pomegranate juice. Let it simmer and reduce. Use the vertical blender to mash the fruit. To discard the seeds (as they are hard), pass the sauce through a sieve. For a smooth coulis do this twice. Set it aside to cool.

To make the sponge, separate the eggs, beat the egg yolks with the vanilla extract and the whites with the sugar (half a cup). Mix the two to make a fluffy composition.

Put the desiccated coconut flakes in a separate bowl and cover with hot water. They will expand. Sieve.

Beat 3 very ripe bananas and add them to the eggs with the coconut flakes and 3 spoons of coconut cream/milk.

Mix the flour with the baking powder and run your fingers through. Pour the egg, banana and coconut mixture and work in the flour. Add 2 spoons of oil.

You can use muffin shapes or a bake the cake in a normal pan.

Sprinkle the almond flakes on top.

Heat the oven at 180 degrees Celsius, but bake at 120 degrees for 50 minutes. I have noticed the lesser the heat, the moister the cake. But that's just me as I own an electric oven with a powerful fan.

Banana Heaven with African Tundra from Twinings

Serve with the coulis on top and some extra almonds on top. Now that I think of it, I should have toasted them first to give them a crunchy feel.

The coconut milk enhances the delicate, naturally sweet taste of banana, giving it the softness of silk. It will simply melt in your mouth.

I am sure you will rush to cook this cake and have it with your favourite tea. Then you can tell a story.

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