Recipe: Golden Banana Kingdom Cake

Taiwan’s bananas are famous.  The Japanese established vast hectares of banana plantations during their 50 year period of colonial rule (1895 to 1945).  Then in 1967, Taiwan became the first country to export bananas to Japan.  Bananas were an expensive, luxury item at that time – six bananas cost as much as an imported suit – and Taiwan’s bananas were especially prized for their quality. Taiwan exported over 400,000 tonnes of bananas per year, amounting to a third of Taiwan’s foreign trade, earning Taiwan the moniker “Banana Kingdom”.  The curved shape of the island of Taiwan even resembles a banana; well, sort of.

Golden Banana Kingdom Cake, ready for serving

These days, Taiwan’s economy is more focused on strategic high-tech industries than agriculture.  But Taiwan’s agriculture sector is still famous for its tropical fruit including bananas, mangos, pineapples, lychees, passion fruit and more recently dragon fruit.

It was raining today – a perfect day for baking.  I decided to make a banana cake to use up some over-ripe fruit I had been saving.  When I notice bananas starting to get a bit soft, I simply put the whole thing in the freezer and store until needed.  The over ripe bananas are the best: the blacker and riper the banana, the nicer the cake.

Black bananas, before they are turned into a luscious Golden Banana Kingdom Cake

Taiwan’s bakeries do not often incorporate bananas into their baked goods, but they should.  Here is my recipe for a Golden Banana Kingdom cake.

Ingredients

125g butter (substitute soybean oil if butter is unavailable)
180g white sugar
2 eggs
40g Taiwanese brown sugar (sometimes referred to as ‘black sugar’)
220g flour (low gluten or plain flour)
4 teaspoons of baking powder
1/2 teaspoon vanilla powder
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup dried cranberries

Method

Step 1:     Preheat oven to 170゚C.  Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.  Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each one.  Add the flour and vanilla, stir to mix through and then add the mashed banana. 

Mixing in the flour

Step 2:     Add the dried cranberries and stir through gently.

Adding dried cranberries to the mixture

Step 3:     Pour the mixture into a prepared 22cm (8 1/2 inch) cake tin, and bake for around 25 minutes.  The cake should be lovely and golden on the top.  (Turn the oven down and cook for a bit longer if it has not quite set in the middle.)

Hot out of the oven. It sank a little in the middle, but was still delicious.

 Step 4:  Dust with icing sugar before serving.

Anyone for afternoon tea?

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About taiwanxifu

‘Taiwanxifu’ (pronounced ‘shee foo’) means ‘Taiwan daughter-in-law’ in Chinese and has been my nickname ever since I married my Taiwanese husband, Sam. I love sampling Taiwanese food, even local specialties such as stinky tofu, pigs blood cake and Taipei beef noodle soup with offal. But there are many other options on the menu. Promise!
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7 Responses to Recipe: Golden Banana Kingdom Cake

  1. THE Steve says:

    A history lesson and a great recipe. Two for one…great post.
    Steve

  2. Taiwanxifu says:

    Thanks for your comment. Actually, I never knew that Taiwan’s bananas were so famous either until I did some research. I knew they had the ‘Banana Kingdom’ nickname, but never knew why.

  3. Jennifer says:

    That looks delicious, will have to try it soon!

  4. Nicholas says:

    looks good.
    but how many eggs do i need? and is “regular” brown sugar fine instead of taiwanese one (couldn’t find anything about taiwanese brown sugar / black sugar)!?
    thank you

    • taiwanxifu says:

      Two eggs. Regular brown sugar is fine. Taiwanese sugar is slightly darker and richer (thus it is sometimes referred to as black sugar), but normal brown sugar is fine. Let me know how the cake goes!

      • Nicholas says:

        Hi,
        the cake went really good, however, after 25 minutes it was not really firm yet, so I put some aluminium foil on top and baked it another 10 minutes. Very yummy result and great texture, so thank you very much for the recipe!
        Is it your creation or is it a (more or less) common dish in Taiwan? Or both? :)

      • taiwanxifu says:

        Actually, this is more common in Australia than Taiwan. But I modified a bit to include some local ingredients.

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