Banana and Cinnamon Cake with Apples and Raisins, Grain, Dairy and Sugar Free

I wanted to create the recipe for easy to make light and soft cake, with the shortest ingredient list as possible. The cake had to be sweet without using honey, and only minimum, if any, of other sweet ingredients. Ripe bananas were my choice for the sweet fruit ingredient.

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Ingredients:

  • 3 ripe bananas (280g banana flesh), chopped
  • 1 large or 2 small Granny Smith, or other non sweet variety apples, peeled, cored and diced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 20g organic date syrup, 2 table spoons (can be substituted by 3-4 soft dates)
  • 120g almond meal
  • 150g organic raisins
  • 10g cinnamon powder
  • 1 level tea spoon baking soda
  • unsalted butter to grease the pan (use clarified butter or any other oil if butter is not tolerated)

Preparation:

  • chop the flesh of ripe bananas and process them with eggs and date syrup in food processor for 5-7min, until the mixture is pale and more than double in volume. If using hand held mixer, mash bananas first, add eggs and syrup and beat the mixture together until pale and double in volume
  • cover raisins with boiling water and let them rehydrate for 5-7 min, rinse them with cold water, completely dry them, using several squares of paper towel
  • mix almond meal, cinnamon and baking soda, sift the mixture
  • peel, core and dice an apple
  • mix diced apple pieces with dry raisins
  • add 1 table spoon of almond/cinnamon mixture to apples and raisins, shake them together to cover their surface with dry ingredients. This will prevent apple pieces and raisins to concentrate at the bottom of the cake during baking
  • generously grease baking pan (I used 16cm diameter, 8cm height Kaiser Mini Bundform pan 6.5inch), make sure all surfaces are covered with butter
  • add dry ingredients to wet ingredients; if using food processor, first transfer wet ingredients to a separate bowl
  • gently mix wet and dry ingredients
  • fold in apple and raisin mixture
  • pour the batter into cake pan, gently shake the pan to level the batter
  • place mini Bundt form in a cold fan forced oven set to 160C, bake for 40-45min, switch the oven off and leave the cake for another 15min
  • take the cake out of the oven, remove it from the pan, let it rest on baking paper on a wire rack until completely cool

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The cake had firm and shiny crust. After 40 min of baking, inserted skewer returned clean, and the cake was firm to touch, but it was not separated from the sides of the tin. That is why I left the cake in the switched off oven for another 15-20. This will not damage the cake or make in over baked. After these 15-20 min the cake shrunk and separated from the baking pan and it was easy to turn it over to rest. I cut the cake 5 hours later.

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It had a nice deep cinnamon colour, with plump raisins and apple pieces evenly spread through the cake. The texture of the cake was soft and moist with a spring effect. Sweetness of bananas was balanced with cinnamon and tart apple flavour. The cake was sweet enough to exclude date syrup from ingredient list altogether. I used date syrup only to see the changes in baking process without honey. Honey have to be very carefully managed in baking to avoid bitter tasting burns in cakes and breads, especially in crust corners.

Another important conclusion from this bake concerns the choice of baking pans. Bundtform, or any other ringform cake pans, give better and more reliable results for gentle cakes, baked from runny batters with a lot of moisture, and ingredients, prone to burn. These baking pans have larger surfaces exposed to heat and minimum depth of the batter for the heat to go through. Cakes are baked more evenly, raise better, do not lose their shape and do not collapse when rested.

Variations:

This cake can be baked with 2 apples, instead of one apple and raisins. Pears can be used instead of apples, but they will not provide the tartness to counter balance plain sweetness of bananas. For those who can tolerate cocoa powder, chocolate version of the cake can be made by replacing cinnamon with pure cocoa powder. In that case, date or any other natural syrup must be added to balance potent bitterness of cocoa powder.

For grain, dairy and sugar free requirements, this cake is surprisingly easy to make from the short list of affordable ingredients.

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