Brown Butter Banana Sheet Cake with Salted Peanut Icing

Cakes

You can’t go wrong with banana and peanut butter, and as there are lots of families at home at the moment, I thought I’d  post a recipe which delivers on that flavour combination but is super simple to make and portion. I’ve added brown butter to the batter but you could just melt it normally, and feel free to substitute the spelt flour with plain (although spelt is actually all I could find in my local supermarket and works well in this recipe).

Ingredients (makes 10-12 good sized cake bars in a 7×10 inch tin)

  • 150g butter
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 medium sized bananas (or 3 large), very ripe and roughly mashed up
  • 75g Greek yoghurt, full fat
  • 130g light brown soft sugar
  • 225g spelt flour
  • 1tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2tsp ground mixed spice
  • 1 1/2tsp baking powder
  • pinch salt

Peanut Buttercream

  • 115g smooth peanut butter
  • 115g softened butter
  • 200g icing sugar
  • pinch salt

Extras

  • Handful of salted peanuts, roughly chopped
  • Extra cinnamon, for sprinkling

Method

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease and line a 7×10 inch high sided baking tin.
  2. Place the butter in a saucepan and gently melt, then turn up the heat and let it brown until it foams and smells nutty. Set aside to cool a little.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, mashed banana, yoghurt and sugar. Once the butter is lukewarm stir that in too. Briefly whisk the spelt flour, baking powder, spices and salt together in a separate bowl then add to the wet ingredients. Stir until just combined then pour the batter into the prepared tin.
  4. Bake the cake for 25-35 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Leave to cool completely in the tin.
  5. While the cake is cooling, make the peanut buttercream. To do this place the butter and peanut butter in a large bowl (or bowl of a stand mixer with paddle attachment) and mix with electric beaters (or the paddle attachment) until well combined and slightly whipped. Add the icing sugar and salt and briefly stir with a wooden spoon (to prevent a cloud of icing sugar), then return to beating on a high speed until you have a light and fluffy consistency.
  6. To assemble, take the cooled cake out of the tin and roughly ripple the buttercream all over the top. Sprinkle with chopped peanuts and a little cinnamon. Slice up and serve.

Coffee and Cardamom Cakes with Pistachio Praline

Cakes

Coffee cake is one of my all time favourites, but this spin on a classic is perhaps even better (I know, big claim). The cardamom hum in the sponge goes really well with the simple coffee buttercream, and the crunch of earthy pistachio praline rounds off the overall flavour and prevents it from being overly sweet. Make these for any occasion (you can fool people into thinking they’re fancy with the help of a piping bag and edible flowers) and they are sure to go down a storm.

Ingredients:

  • 200g softened butter
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 200g self raising flour
  • pinch salt
  • 8 cardamom pods, emptied and ground
  • 3tbsp coffee granules mixed with 3tbsp boiling water
  • 3tbsp milk

For the buttercream:

  • 200g softened butter
  • 400g icing sugar
  • 2tbsp coffee granules mixed with 2tbsp boiling water

For the praline:

  • 100g pistachios
  • 100g caster sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170c. Grease and line a brownie tin (around 20x20cm).
  2. Cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy then add in the eggs one at a time, mixing well between each addition. Add the flour, salt and ground cardamom and fold in until well combined. Do the same with the coffee and milk.
  3. Once your straightforward batter is ready, spoon into the tin and level off. Bake for 30-35 minutes until well risen and a skewer comes out clean when inserted. Cool in the tin.
  4. While the cake is cooling, make the praline. Place the sugar and pistachios in a heavy bottom pan and allow the sugar to melt (don’t stir, just tip the pan to move the sugar around). Once it’s melted and golden, swirl the pan to coat the nuts in the caramel then tip onto some greaseproof paper and leave to set hard.
  5. Now make your buttercream. Beat the butter until light then gradually add the icing sugar, whisking until very light. Add in the coffee and whisk again to combine. Once it’s streak free and smooth, pile into a piping bag ready to decorate.
  6. Slice the cooled cake into nine squares (or larger/smaller pieces depending on your appetite!). Pipe the coffee buttercream on top in little kisses (or freestyle with rosettes/patterns using different nozzles). Break up the praline and roughly crush then sprinkle a generous helping on top of the buttercream.

Enjoy!