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The BloggerAid Cookbook

Banana Cake

After a few days of rain, we finally see some sunshine in this area ...wohoo! Mr Sun, have I told you lately how much I love and miss you? But as luck would have it my way, I was struck down by gastro (gastric flu) yesterday while the sun was screaming for me to come out and play. Fortunately for me, Little One woke up late yesterday and we were able to send her to day care centre to play with other children for 4 hours while mommy had a little rest on the couch with in-between trips to the throne. I honestly don't know how I got it. Everyone in this household is 100% fit while I was the only one struck down by it - we all ate the same food quand même.:-( Well, in a way thank goodness Little One didn't get this... no, I don't want to go down that lane now that she is totally toilet trained. Anyway, today I'm feeling slightly better and hopefully when I've fully recovered from it, Mr Sun will still be shining out there for me. Keep my fingers cross.;-)

A week ago, my MIL asked me to make a dessert to go with our lunch that day. I couldn't decide what to make but in the end, those aging bananas on table won the day.:-) I decided to use the banana muffins recipe to make this as a cake instead. For this, I decided to add in an extra egg - just to see how it will turn out.

Recipe taken from : banana muffins with a slight modification : 3 medium eggs and 3 medium sized bananas. Bake it in a round 20 cm diameter cake pan for 45 minutes at 190°C (375°F - Gas 5).

The Verdict

So what's the difference between the original recipe and modified version? All I can say is that : It's more moist, soft,and full of banana flavour than the muffins. The cake seems to stick more together in texture - that's the best I can describe it. Delicious! By dinner time, only a quarter of the cake was all it left. It stayed moist and soft even the next day. I will definitely bake this again. It's simple and easy to make.

banana cake
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Steamed Banana Muffins

Yesterday afternoon I learned from my cousin that my 2nd auntie had been admitted to the hospital in serious condition. I was quite saddened by the news and was hoping and praying that she would somehow pull through this for I looked forward to seeing her again during next Chinese New Year and also for my Little One to get to know her. Today I was shocked to learn that she has passed away at 3am this morning at age 77.:-( Although I did not know my aunt very well, I have very fond memories of her. As she aged, she looked like a carbon copy of my grandmother.:-) I'm so glad I got to see her during last Chinese New Year and was able to introduce to her my daughter. You see, I hadn't been back in Singapore for CNY since 2001 as all the CNY dates falls during school term. I shall miss visiting her next year.:-(

Back to the kitchen. I had 3 very ripe bananas sitting on my kitchen counter for some time and decided to turn them into either cakes or muffins till I came across this delicious recipe from fellow blogger Little Corner of Mine yesterday who got the original recipe from Amanda. I have modified the version slightly to add some spices and increase the quanity. Steaming pastries, rather than baking them in a oven, is somewhat uncommon, but it's regularly done in Asia.

Steam Banana Muffins
Ingredients
  • 3 very ripe medium-size bananas (mashed)
  • 3 eggs
  • 150 g sugar (white or brown or a mixed of both)
  • 225 g self raising flour
  • ¼ tsp baking powder (approx.)
  • 112 ml vegetable oil like sunflower or canola
  • 2 dashes cinnamon and nutmeg powder
  • a bit of vanilla essence
Directions
  1. Sift flour, baking powder, cinnamon and nutmeg together.
  2. Whisk the eggs, sugar and vanilla essence until it is creamy and fluffy.
  3. Mix in the mashed banana until it is combined.
  4. Gently fold in the sifted flour mixture and then fold in the oil until combined.
  5. Pour the batter into the muffin pan lined with muffin cups.
  6. Steam over high heat for 15 minutes or till an inserted skewer comes out clean.
  7. Serve it warm or room temperature.
Steam Banana Muffins
The Verdict

It is truly delicious - flavourful, dense yet light, soft, fluffy and moist. The muffins look very much like Chinese steam cake or kueh but who cares if it doesn't look as good as the baked ones ! It's the taste that matters the most, right.;-)

Frankly I love both versions - be it steamed or baked. But I have to say that the steamed version does taste slightly different than those baked ones. In what sense, I don't know.

Store the rest of the muffins in the fridge and heat them in a steamer for a couple of minutes before serving.

Notes

Some readers in Amanda's blog have replaced oil with butter and they said the results are equally delicious. But probably not as healty.

Steam Banana MuffinsSteam Banana Muffins
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Banana Muffin Surprise

It has been quite a while since we have a weekend alone sans Little One. So when my parents-in-law offered to look after her, we took it up without any hesitation. Pierre was already planning which restaurants to check out, what to do in Paris etc while I was torn between being happy to have some couplehood time alone at last and feeling like I have abandoned my little girl behind and worried about this and that (like a typical mother:-p ). Pierre kept reassuring me that she would be fine and I should relax and enjoy this rare 'us' time alone but I was too stressed up. Needlessly to say, I hadn't slept well on the first night as I was too worried about how Little One was adapting with her grandparents and whether she was crying for us or not etc. Upon my insistence, Pierre called home the next day to check on her and was told that she passed a wonderful day out with her grandparents and enjoyed herself thoroughly and that she didn't asked for us once (to my surprise and a bit of a disappointment - Am I being selfish to want her to miss us just a little bit?). After the phone call, I thought 'tonight I can have a good night sleep.' ha! What a joke that was... We were woken up by the lady living upstairs at 4 am. As you know, many apartment in Paris have thin walls and floors so one can literally hear the neighbour next door or upstairs.

Anyway when Little One joined us finally a few days later, she didn't seems to miss us at all... I guess my little girl is growing up and no longer my little baby.:-):-( We brought her sightseeing Paris and checking out the restaurants... she loves wraps and club sandwiches just as chinese dim sum. The 3,5 hour train ride home went uneventful, thank goodness. We were pretty worried that she might get bored and start to run around etc. At the end of the train ride, she made friend with a Maltese which growled at her in the beginning and she wasn't the least afraid of him. She insisted on patting and caressing him despite his hissing. *eyes rolling upwards* Then she decided to wander off from us even though I told her to stay put ... she walked away confidently waving and saying 'au revoir mommy' ... then started bawling her eyes out when a burly mustachio man smiled at her from his seat.:-D So much for her little adventure.

Today I would like to share with you a delicious muffin recipe that I made before I left for Paris.:-) I call it Banana Muffin Surprise because you never know what you gonna get.;-) Hope you like it.

Banana Muffin Surprise
Ingredients
  • 75 g butter (melted)
  • 250 g self-raising flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp ground nutmeg
  • 115 g caster sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 large ripe bananas or 3 medium size bananas (almost)
  • 2 medium eggs
  • 125 ml milk
  • some nutella
  • some chopped dark chocolates
  • some chopped walnuts
  • some chopped white chocolates
  • pinch of salt
Banana Muffin Surprise Ingredients
Directions
  1. Preheat the oven to 190°C (375°F - Gas 5).
  2. Melt the butter and allow to cool.
  3. Mash the bananas well.
  4. In a large bowl, sift flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg together. Add caster sugar and stir though.
  5. Beat the eggs with the fork for a minute before adding vanilla extract, melted butter and milk. Then add the mashed banana and stir till combined.
  6. Make a well in the centre of the dry ingredients, add the banana-egg mixture, stirring roughly with a fork until it is a lumpy paste. Do not over-mix.
  7. Place the paper cups into the moulds, or grease the moulds well with butter.
  8. Fill some of the cups with the banana mixture till almost full cup while filling a few half way to the cup, drop a few chocolate chips or nuts and cover it with the mixture until almost full. As for the nutella, fill a few cups 3/4 way up and drop a teaspoon of nutella into the centre of it and it will sink down naturally.
  9. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the muffins come away from the side of the pan when touched.
  10. Rest the muffin tray on a wire rack for five minutes then remove the muffins and leave on the rack for another five minutes before serving.
Banana Muffin Surprise
The Verdict

These muffins are very flavourful, light, moist and super delicious. Everyone started checking out the muffins at microscopic range after I told them that each muffin contains different stuff inside it.:-D ... of course everyone is battling over each other to get either the dark chocolates or nutella ones ... I tell you I have a bunch of chocoholics in my house.:-D

My mother-in-law who was watching her lines couldn't help but ate 2 of them.;-) My father-in-law and Pierre were happily chomping down the muffins and see who gets the most chocolate ones out of the batch.:-D

I thought we wouldn't be able to finish all of them and that I would have to freeze some of them. To my great surprise, they were so good that only 3 were left at the end of tea time.

I have made these again just last week and I have beaten all the wet ingredients together at one go with a fork - with this method, muffins are more compact but still moist, flavourful and delicious.

Notes

In all my baking, I use only salted butter (and I usually skip the salt part in the recipe). And I used 1½ tsp baking powder instead as I didn't have any bicarbonate of soda in my cupboard.

Banana Muffin SurpriseBanana Muffin Surprise
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Banana Chocolate Chips Cookies

Phew! Finally we have an Internet connection in our house! They sure took their time. We could have had it a week earlier if not for the telecom company which made a (stupid) mistake in transferring the line.

Our move was a nightmare to begin with. On the eve of finalizing the sale of the house, we were busy loading up all our stuff onto the rental truck when we got a call from the notary that the seller couldn't make it the next day to finalize the papers. Mind you, we had our fridge, washing machine, sofas, bed etc. and were nearly done when we got that call. It's not like we are moving to the next street - we are talking about a painful 8 hour drive across the country. Since we had to return the truck the next day 500 km away, we decided to go ahead as planned and try to find a solution with the sellers.

Sadly, we were too optimistic and they were too unreasonable, and it took a lot of phone calls between the two notary and the real-estate agent to convince them to let us unload our stuff in the empty house and stay there till the sale got finalised 2 days later. Despite signing all required documents, they became highly bitter about the whole episode (even though they were the one who created this situation) and made the official transaction a painful ordeal of complains that lasted 2 hours.

I'm so glad everything is over and we got our house. Now we have a lot of work ahead of us but the major stuff have to wait till Christmas is over!

This is the first thing I baked when we installed our brand new oven. My oh my, this oven is fantastic. It warms up faster than my old one that I had a hard time leaving behind in our old apartment. I found this interesting cookie recipe from Beach Lover's Kitchen and modified it a wee bit to my liking.

Banana Chocolate Chips Cookies
Ingredients
  • 115 g butter (soften)
  • 2 & 1/2 cups plain flour (shifted)
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 over-riped banana (mashed)
  • 1/3 cup superfine sugar
  • 1/3 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 egg lightly beaten
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup milk chocolate chips (can be replaced with dark chocolate chips)
  • some ground nutmeg
Directions
  1. Preheat oven to 190°C (375 °F).
  2. Beat the butter, superfine sugar and dark brown sugar until soft and fluffy.
  3. Add in the beaten egg and whisked till combined.
  4. Stir in the mashed banana and vanilla extract till well blended in.
  5. Stir in the shifted flour and baking powder.
  6. Add in the chocolate chips to the dough mixture.
  7. Spaced out each spoonful of cookie dough on the baking sheet.
  8. Bake it for about 15 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack and let it cool before storing it in an airtight container.
Banana Banana Chocolate Chips Cookies
The Verdict

The banana flavor is somewhat surprising to find in a cookie form, and the texture is soft inside but solid on the outside. Overall a delicious treat I must say:-)

Notes

A very over-riped banana is needed to bring out the banana flavour of this cookie. My recipe isn't very sweet so it will appeal to people who aren't too much into cakes and desserts, but there's nothing stopping you from adding more sugar if you want so.

Banana Chocolate Chips CookiesBanana Chocolate Chips Cookies
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Banana Chocolate Cake

Pierre always say that I have a tendency to buy enough fruits to feed a family of 4 and I always brush his comments aside. Well, this is one of those times he is right. I did bought too many fruits this time around. I have a ripe pineapple sitting in my fridge (originally doomed to go into a pineapple rice), some pears already in the trash and 4 over-ripe bananas sitting on the dinning table with a desperate 'Eat me. Eat me!' sign. I shared one with my daughter this morning so we are down to 3. I was thinking of making a banana pie or a banana smoothie when I recalled my last disastrous attempt at a modified version of Banana Chocolate cake recipe. Since then, I've been wanting to make this cake again to prove to myself that I'm not that bad of a cook. So this time around, I decided to play it safe and stick to my original recipe. Like Pierre always says, 'If it is fine and tasty as it is, why change it ?' but i have a tendency not to listen and like to experiment (and as any mad-scientist will tell you, experiments can turn really ugly!).

Banana Chocolate Cake
Ingredients
  • 185 g plain flour (shifted)
  • 150 g white or brown sugar
  • 55 g butter (softened)
  • 1 packet baking powder (about 11 g)
  • 1 egg
  • 3 banana (very riped & mashed)
  • Dark chocolate (in bite size bits)
Banana Chocolate Cake ingredients
Directions
  1. Preheat oven at 175°C (350°F - gas mark 4).
  2. Beat egg and sugar till light and creamy.
  3. Mix in softened butter and whisk it for a few minutes.
  4. Pour in the mashed bananas and stir till combined.
  5. Incorporate the shifted flour and baking powder in batches making sure that it is well blended before introducing the next.
  6. Spread a layer of batter in the pre-greased loaf pan, sprinkle some dark chocolate bits on it. Spread another layer of batter on top of it. Then sprinkle another layer of chocolate and top it off with the rest of the batter.
  7. Bake it for 45 minutes or until toothpick inserted into cake comes out clean.
Conclusion

The over-riped bananas gives a strong fruity flavour to the cake. It was very soft, fluffy and moist. The dark chocolate, a classic with banana, adds a nice kick on the taste buds. It's just nicely sweet.

Banana Chocolate loaf
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My lovely Banana Chocolate Cake that didn't quite make it.

We bought some bananas on Monday but it had somehow turned very mushy ... maybe it got squashed in the grocery bag during the car ride. So I was stuck with 6 ripe and soft bananas to get rid off ... I couldn't make goreng pisang out of it and the only cake I can think of at that moment was Banana cake.

I have my own banana chocolate cake recipe but I thought 'why not try out a different version.' So I changed the recipe a bit - using self-raising flour instead of plain flour and 2 eggs instead of 1 etc ... well, it was a flop. The cake didn't rise and it was moist and dense. I was quite disappointed how it turned out. Anyway, here's a picture of it.

Banana Choc Cake flop

I'll make it again another time.

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