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How to make the best banana cake (The step-by-step complete guide)

Imagine the amount of banana in the banana cake is a quarter of the weight of the cake!

A lot of bananas!

That is precisely how to describe our banana cake, no essence, one hundred percent pure Barangan banana, fully ripe and sweet.

banana butter cake

This article is about how to make our best banana cake endorsed by hundreds of customers in our cafe, thoroughly tested. The formula has not been changed for many years.

There is nothing more satisfying when you take a bite when it is fresh from the oven. We can serve you a piece of hot cake, but for my readers who are not in Kuala Lumpur, following this bare-all recipe post and make it yourself.

Because we want you to enjoy it, just like other customers do

Note: This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my private policy  for more info. I may receive commissions for purchases made through links in this post.

Let’ get started.

You will expect this is a basic banana cake recipe. No frill. No butter cake icing. No decoration.

Trust me. This is an easy banana cake recipe. Nevertheless, we are going to deal with the techniques on how to make the cake as detail as possible.

Part 1 – the ingredients

Banana

Choice of banana

Rule number one for making our banana cake is to use fully ripe, sweet banana.

We use a local banana called Barangan, which is widely available in Malaysian and Indonesia. Get any other ripe (make sure it is sweet) banana to make this cake if this is not available at where you live.

Do not worry if the color of the banana skin turns partially black. It is alright. It only means the banana is fully ripe. When you touch the individual bananas, you can feel it is soft and about to fall off from the stalk.

Cut and mash the banana.

Once you get the ideal banana for making the banana cake, remove the skin and mash it with the back of the knife. Reserve some bananas unmashed, and cut into forty thin slices crosswise. Reserve them for decoration.

Coarsely mince the mashed bananas. DO NOT blend it as we do NOT want it to become a juice. We want to have some individual pieces of banana embedded in the cake. This is done with a purpose. You will immediately know that there is the real banana, not artificial essence when you take a bite of the cake. Furthermore, the cake will be too wet if we bend the bananas into juice.

Keep the mashed and sliced banana in the refrigerator if you make it in advance. The banana will turn to brown quickly once it is oxidized at room temperature.

Use the regular cake flour.

The typical cake flour is good enough for this recipe. Cake flour contains eight percent of gluten, which produces cakes that are tender and soft. I do not use self-raising flour for a reason. Self-raising flour is a mixture of regular cake flour, with baking powder (about 3-4%) and salt (about 0.5%). That means the amount of baking powder and salt is fixed.

Using regular cake flour lets you have full control of the amount of baking powder and salt you want to use. The amount of baking powder for this recipe is 20g per 1kg of flour, and as for salt, it is 10g per 1kg of flour.

To sieve or not to sieve?

The standard practice of making a cake is to sieve the flour to remove the impurities and loosen the flour so that it can trap more air in it to produce a lighter texture for the cake.

I do not sieve the flour not because I want to go against this general rule. The flour I get from my supplier is spotless the free from lumps. It passes through the sieve in a flash every time. So I started to skip this step to take a bet that it worked well, and it does.

Sieve the flour if you find that is it lumpy and suspect there are some impurities in it.

how to make banana butte cake

Is the amount of eggs important?

The size of the eggs does not matter as long as they are fresh. I use the medium size chicken eggs from my supplier, which is about 50g each excluding the shell. I need about 16 eggs to make a batch of four cakes. (So if you make one cake, 4 eggs.)

It does not matter if the amount is marginally more or less, as long as it does not deviate too far from the quantity stated in the recipe. As an example, if I crack 20 eggs and it yields 990g, I will leave it that way and do not bother to crack another egg to add it up.

Perhaps one day I shall try to make cakes with other types of eggs apart from chicken. Yes, how about duck eggs? Has anyone tried that before 🙂 ?

How to deal with the chocolate

Always use plain chocolate for this recipe. Good quality chocolate indeed is the better choice.  However, the quality of chocolate does not affect the final result as much as the quality of the banana.

Keep the block of chocolate in the refrigerator, until it hardens. Cut the chocolate to slices thinly with the knife follow by cutting it again lengthwise. If you do this when the chocolate is still cold, it will shatter into tiny pieces of chips by itself. Please refer to the video right before the recipe below to see how it works.

Use the best butter you can get (not a drop of margarine).

The butter banana cake should make only with good quality butter, no margarine. Butter is an integral part of the formulation and cannot be compromised. The flavor is irreplaceable. Our customers come back times and again because they know that we only use the best we can get locally. Some cafes slash the price for their cakes to gain more profits but they can’t cheat people’s palates. I strongly suggest you get the best butter for this recipe.

What type of sugar is ideal for making a banana cake?

We use either castor sugar or granulated sugar for making the banana cake. However, I prefer to use castor sugar as the granule size is smaller.

The reason: Castor sugar is finer than granulated sugar, and therefore traps more air while mixing with the butter. The fluffier the buttercream, the lighter the cake will be eventually.

Use the right amount of sugar.

It is tricky to decide how much sugar is required for the banana cake. There are three factors to consider base on my understanding:

  1. Use less sugar if the banana is ripe and sweet. This is easiest than done as you depend on your palates to make a subjective decision.
  2. Use more sugar for a more tender cake, or vice versa.
  3. Personal (and in case, customers) preference.

Once my customers mentioned that they prefer a less sweet version. So we make a batch of banana cake with less sugar. Unfortunately, they were less fluffy, dense, and the texture is no longer as soft and tender as before. After some trial and error, we settle with the formula with 800g of sugar for every 1kg of flour. Since then, we use the 80% sugar rule to formulate all our butter-based cake, which turns out to be less sweet and still maintains its tenderness.

Our in-house conclusion: 80% of sugar is the minimum amount to produce excellent butter cake.

As we mentioned earlier, castor sugar that I get is finer than granulated sugar. However, please check whether with your local bakery supplier to validate this assumption as this may not apply to different regions.

If you like this recipe, take a look at our butter cake recipegreen tea chiffon cake recipe, and Japanese cheesecake recipe.  There are some noteworthy tips out there applicable to the banana cake too.

chocolate banana cake

Part 2: The technique

The following is a detailed explanation of the entire process of how to make the banana cake.

Setting up the mixer.

Attach the wire whisk to the mixer. The manufacturer of cake mixer often provides different attachments- the blade attachment for mixing pie dough, the bread attachment of kneading bread and the wire whisk attachment for making cakes.

The wire whisk attachment produces the best result for creaming the butter and sugar.

Cut the butter into large pieces. I used to cut the butter into tiny pieces as it melted quickly.. Then I realize that I can let nature take its course. Now the first thing I do is to cut the butter into six to eight pieces. Then I will continue cutting the bananas, measuring the sugar and eggs, etc. By the time I completed all these preparation, the butter had already thoroughly softened and ready to use.

The creaming process

Creaming is the critical process in this recipe. Follow these steps to get the best result:

  1. Put the butter into the mixing bowl. Wait until it is thoroughly softened before mixing.
  2. Add the castor sugar into the mixing bowl. Soft butter is able to produce buttercream (i.e., the result of mixing butter with sugar) that is light and fluffy. The effect is easily noticeable by comparing the volume of the buttercream make by semi-hard and fully soften butter.
  3. Attach the wire whisk to the mixer. Wire whisk attachment yields a better result than the blade attachment. Bread dough attachment is not suitable.
  4. Start with low speed to avoid splashing of the flour. Increase the speed and start to cream the butter and sugar together. I find that mixing with higher speed is more efficient to form a light and fluffy cream than low-speed. Low speed produces smaller volume even though mixing for a longer time compared to using high speed.

What is the endpoint of this mixing process? The best way is to rely on visual observation. The mixture of butter and sugar will slowly turn into the cream. During the mixing process, you will notice that the volume will keep increasing, then the cream will become more and more fluffy and silky. The endpoint is when there are no noticeable changes in the appearance even continuing the mixing process. It is also when it looks like a soft vanilla ice cream. Once you achieve this consistency, the creaming process is completed.

The way I set the endpoint of mixing also means that there is meaningless to mention how long (and at what speed) in the recipe. The quantity, the power of the mixer, the shape of the wire whisk and the temperature of the sugar and butter are all the variables affect the process. Visual observation is by far the most reliable method, in my opinion.

I also notice that there is hardly any chance of over-mix it. Once I left the mixer running for ten minutes unattended before stopping it, and the result is still satisfactory. This means you can buy a little ‘insurance’ by mixing it longer to ensure getting the best result before moving on to the next step.

banana cake recipe

Add the eggs

Add the eggs to the cream and continue mixing at a high speed until homogenous.

Most of the books suggest adding the eggs in batches. I find that this is unnecessary in my case, as my mixer is powerful enough to handle all the eggs. I pour ALL the eggs into the cream and still produce a silky smooth mixture of eggs, sugar, and butter.

Scrape the side of the mixing bowl (and the bottom if you can) with a soft plastic spatula. There will have some butter and sugar granules sticking to the surface of the bowl.

You may want to add the eggs in 3 separate batches if you are using a small (less powerful) mixer. Again, the endpoint is when you do not notice any visual difference upon continuous mixing. The end result should be a smooth, silky and homogenous mixture.

Add the bananas

After all the high-speed mixing, we need to shift gear to a more gentle motion in the next phase.

Add the banana paste that we have prepared earlier to the mixture. Mix at low speed until the banana paste is well distributed. Since we are now no longer looking for trapping more air into the butter-sugar-egg structure, there is no need to continue mixing it for too long. One minute is all that you need.

Add the flour, salt, and baking powder.

Add the salt, baking powder and the flour to the mixing bowl. Mix with low speed until the flour is mixed well with the egg-butter-sugar mixture.

I would say the endpoint for this step is to mix until there is NO visible flour and lumps. Once you get there, STOP. The longer you mix, the more gluten will form, the tougher the cake will be.

Note: Sometimes you may need to manually mix in the flour, salt, and baking powder. This happens when the lowest speed of the mixer is still too fast, which will produce too much gluten and toughen the cake. A wooden spatula is useful for manual mixing.

Do not overmix the four with the egg-butter-sugar batter.

Add the chocolates

I would say this is a chocolate banana cake to be precise.

Remove the cold chocolate chips from the refrigerator and add to the cake batter.

Adding the chocolate chips last as prolong mixing will cause the chips to melt and turn into chocolate syrup.

Since we have left the chocolate in the refrigerator, the chips are still hard enough to withstand the final mixing and well distributed in the batter.

You can see the individual chocolate chips embedded in the cake when you cut the cake later.

Panning and final touch

Line the cake pans with baking paper. Apply some oil to the baking paper and the sides of the baking pan. You may use butter for this purpose or just any cooking oil, which will not affect the flavor of the cake.

Always use a pan with a detachable base or a springboard cake pan. It is much easier to remove the cake after baking by using this type of cake pans.

Follow these steps:

  1. Pour the cake batter into the pan.
  2. Smoothen the batter with the spatula.
  3. Arrange the banana pieces that we have reserved earlier on the surface for decoration.
  4. Bake in the preheated oven for sixty minutes with both top and the bottom temperature at 175°C/350°F.

How to remove the cake from the cake pan.

Let the cake sit on the table for at least five minutes after removing them from the oven. It will start to cool down, and the cake will shrink marginally. Shrinking will loosen the cake from the sides of the mold.

Since the amount of oil in banana cake is relatively high, it will not tightly cling to the sides like chiffon cake when you turn it upended. Place a cake board on top of the cake and flips over. The cake will detach from the sides along with the base with the help of a small push.

Remove the baking paper stick to the bottom carefully. Pay attention not to ruin the cake as the banana cake is quite soft. The cake may stick to the paper, and a small piece may tear apart along with the paper. Remove the paper slowly.

Place the second piece of cake board on the bottom of the cake. Flip the cake over again and ready to serve.

The Banana Cake Recipe from scratch

Yield: 1 cake

Banana Cake

banana bitter cake recipe

Hundreds of customers endorse this banana cake recipe in our cafe, thoroughly tested. The formula has not been changed for many years.

Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes

Ingredients

Instructions

Preparation

  1. Attach the wire whisk to the mixer.
  2. Cut the butter into six to eight pieces. Put the butter into the mixing bowl.
  3. Remove the skin and mash the banana with the back of the knife. Reserve some bananas unmashed, and cut into forty thin slices crosswise. Reserve them for decoration. Keep the mashed and sliced banana in the refrigerator.
  4. Cut the chocolate to slices thinly with the knife follow by cutting it again lengthwise. It will shatter into tiny pieces of chips by itself.
  5. Measure the amount of cake flour, baking powder, and salt.
  6. Crack the eggs.

Make the cake

  1. Cream the butter and sugar together at high speed.
  2. Add the eggs to the mixer and continue mixing at high speed until homogenous.
  3. Scrape the side of the mixing bowl (and the bottom if you can) with a soft plastic spatula.
  4. Add the mashed bananas. Mix at low speed.
  5. Add the flour, salt, and baking powder at low speed until there is NO visible flour and lumps. Once you get there, stop mixing.
  6. Add the chocolates and mix well.

Panning and final touch

  1. Line the cake pans with baking paper. Apply some oil to the baking paper and the sides of the baking pan.
  2. Pour the cake batter into the pan.
  3. Smoothen the batter with the spatula.
  4. Arrange the banana pieces that we have reserved earlier on the surface for decoration.
  5. Bake in the preheated oven for sixty minutes with both top and the bottom temperature at 175°C/350°F.
  6. Remove the cake from the cake pan.

Notes

The original recipe is for four cakes. I have scaled down to one cake so you may find the amount of some ingredients are with the odd amount.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

9

Serving Size:

9 pieces

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 449Total Fat: 23gSaturated Fat: 13gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 211mgSodium: 376mgCarbohydrates: 54gFiber: 1gSugar: 28gProtein: 9g

This data was provided and calculated by Nutritionnix on 5/22/2019.

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Anne

Wednesday 24th of February 2021

Previous post should: Hi Kwan, Is there a substitute for egg white as my son is allergic to egg white.

KP Kwan

Thursday 25th of February 2021

Hi Anne, I do not know about any good substitute for egg white. Egg white is the essential ingredient for this cake, unfortunately. KP Kwan

Eve T

Thursday 4th of February 2021

Hi Kwan, if I were to use an air fryer instead of an oven, do you know the exact time and temperature that I should set on the air fryer?

KP Kwan

Thursday 4th of February 2021

Hi Eve, Sorry I do not own an air fryer, and not sure of the actual timing and temperature. KP Kwan

Maggie Yeo

Sunday 10th of January 2021

Made this cake yesterday without putting in chocolate and it tastes so banana-ey. My 3 year-old daughter who is so fussy in eating, she approves this :)

KP Kwan

Monday 11th of January 2021

Glad to know that your little one love it :)

BabyD

Sunday 15th of November 2020

Hi Kwan, if I use ground walnuts in this recipe, do I need to reduce flour or any other ingredients? How much ground walnuts should I use?

KP Kwan

Monday 16th of November 2020

Hi BabyD, You do not need to change the amount of flour. You can use 2 to 3 tbsp and give the nut some rough chop. I suggest you keep some to put on top as garnish. KP Kwan

BabyD

Sunday 15th of November 2020

May I know if I still need to add milk into this recipe?

KP Kwan

Monday 16th of November 2020

I prefer not to add milk as the banana has plenty of water, making it too wet.

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