Baby Banana and Caramel Cakes with Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Icing

I tried to explain to my parents that baking Jack banana cakes was a sibling bonding activity and that they should appreciate the fact that we don't fight and hate each other and therefore is totally necessary.

They bought it.

 Yuss another baking escapade completed without too much parental hate. Having me in the house is like living in a bakery. You get chubs. There is always cake or something delicious around to munch on. I think they enjoy it when I leave. Wait, there is no 'I think' about it. I know they love to see me hop on that plane to Dunedin where they don't have to see/live with me for months at a time.

Anyway Jack and his friend Will (Hi Will!) were going to the gym together and they needed post gym nutrition. I don't know where they got the idea that banana cake was a good option for post exercise sustenance but regardless, I was going to be the source of this cake.

Ever since receiving my Treats from Little and Friday book for Christmas I have been wanting to try something out.

The problem with this book, whilst it looks beautiful, all the recipes have hideous quantities of ingredients and last time I checked I didn't have my body weight of eggs and chocolate lying around the house. The same with the ground nuts that are required for a few of the cakes. Seriously, who can afford 4 cups of ground hazelnuts for a spot of afternoon treat baking?

The one small cake recipe that wasn't atrociously expensive to make was the mini banana cakes. They used the recipe from the Edmonds cookbook but frilled it up with a few lashing and dashings of cream cheese icing, mascarpone and caramel.

It said it would make 12 small texan muffin pan sized cakes.


It said to use a texas muffin tin that had the sides lined up with baking paper so that the cakes could be made quite tall. I ended up making 6 smallish texas sized ones (I didn't know how far to fill them so a erred on the side of caution) and used some of the left over batter to make 3 small baby bundt ones. The batter definitely wouldn't have made 12 large ones. Awkward.

The next weridity was the amount of mashed banana the recipe required. Your standard banana cake recipe calls for around about 3 ripe bananas.

Haha but not this one.

It called for three CUPS of mashed banana. I mashed up four bananas and that only achieved one and a half cups. Who has eight bananas lying around for SIX wee cakes. I am hoping it was a typo. I only added four bananas worth. You could probably increase this to five bananas and that would make it quite moist but also a wee bit on the dense side.

I don't know about you but I am all into simple methods. Methods that are minimalist on the word front because seriously who can be bothered reading methods when there is cake to be had! The method for these had a crazy number of steps (one of which was to sift the flour into a separate bowl - uuuh extra dishes anyone?). So here I am going to condense all these steps into a more manageable and easy to read format.

The caramel I used was from a tin of condensed milk that I had boiled away (in the sealed tin!) for three hours rather than boiling sugar and cream etc for which you need a candy thermometer (which I don't). I boil up around three tins at a time and then keep them in the cupboard for when we need it.We also didn't happen to have any mascarpone in the fridge so I left that out too.

I think it is cake time.

Individual Banana Cakes with Caramel and Vanilla Bean Cream Cheese Icing
Adapted from Treats from and Little and Friday
Makes 8

125g butter, softened
3/4 cup caster sugar
2 large eggs
5 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
4 tablespoons hot milk

Cream cheese icing:
30g butter, softened
50g cream cheese
3 cups icing sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla bean paste (or one teaspoon vanilla essence)

Preheat the oven to 160 degrees on bake. Line a texas sized muffin tin with baking paper. Cut a circle for the bottom then a long strip around 25cm long and 10cm wide and place that around the edges of the tins. Make sure the strip is long enough to overlap at the ends when in the tin. It will stand up in a tall cylinder but as you place the cake batter into it it will stretch out and line the edges of the tin exactly.

Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time then continue to beat until fluffy and voluminous.

Beat in the mashed banana.

Dissolve the baking soda in the hot milk.

Gently fold in the milk and sieved flour and baking soda in three equal lots.

Divide the mixture evenly between the tins. If you want really tall cakes then you may only get 6 but the shorter ones may be better if you or your guests aren't very good at tackling huge quantities of sickly sweet food.

Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean. Leave to cool before removing from tins and removing baking paper.

To make the cream cheese icing, cream together all the ingredients until light and fluffy.

To assemble the cakes, cut the cakes in half horizontally. You may need to level the tops of the cakes if they have domed substantially. Spread around two teaspoons of caramel over the base of the cakes then follow with a good dollop of the cream cheese icing. To the top layers, spread over the cream cheese icing followed by a small drop of caramel. Place the top halves onto their matching bottoms. Garnish with a slice or two of banana or some banana chips if you wish.

Enjoy! :)