Tuesday, April 3, 2012

'Magic' Steamed Banana Cake

A dear and thoughtful friend bought me the Magic Steamed Cake cookbook by Alex Goh, a supposedly famous baker with more than 30 years of experience in the baking industry. I stared at my overly ripe Del Monte bananas and thought it's time to try out a steamed banana cake. The closest I've come to making is a banana bread which I always love. I can't imagine a steamed cake of any form or flavor can be too alluring so I harbored low hopes of this being a killer recipe for me.

As it turns out, there was no aroma coming out of my oven during the steaming process unlike a baked banana bread which emits a strong aroma around the house, and just whets the appetite. The cake also does not look fancy at all. And despite using so much more banana than the recipe calls for, it still was not banana-ish enough for me.

So why is it, I could not stop eating this plain Jane?? It's still too sweet even after cutting down on the sugar but I found myself going back for more! The texture is not as dense as it looks. Maybe there really is some magic to this after all.

Looks more like a sultana fruit cake. 

By the way, I have to tell you the story of this plate. It's from the Shangri-la in Shanghai! No, I didn't technically steal it. Tsk, tsk, how could you think that of me, a woman of high integrity! I had ordered room service so I could work through an urgent proposal - those good old corporate days. Plus I was put in a gorgeous suite and I wanted to indulge in some decadence despite the hectic schedule.

I couldn't help but notice how pretty the plate was in the food I had ordered and took the opportunity to ask the service staff turning down the room if I could buy it. Seeing how much I adored the plate, she said to me like a partner-in-crime - Keep it! I didn't need very much persuasion at all and I wasn't going to argue on the technicalities of what constitutes stealing. She even offered me some newspapers to wrap my loot! Bless this elderly Shanghainese lady who has a radical concept of delighting customers. I think of her everytime I use this plate. And can I just add, we need more service staff like her in this world of restrictions and boundaries.

3 eggs
160g sugar (I used 110g. Note to self: adjust further to 90g in next attempt)
250g bananas (I used 3 Del Monte bananas which weighed about 370g as I want the sweetness to come from the fruit rather than from sugar. Also I love a strong banana taste in my cake. The more ripe the bananas, the sweeter the taste.)
1/4 tsp salt
50g milk
240g flour (I used plain flour)
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
90g corn oil (I used canola)
180g sultana (I soaked these before using. Seems like a lot and this will give added sweetness so sugar can be considerably reduced.)

1. Whip eggs and sugar until thick. Mash bananas with salt, then add the 2 mixtures. Whip till thick.
2. Add milk and combine well.
3. Add flour, baking powder and soda and mix well.
4. Add oil, mix well. Add sultanas and mix well.
5. Pour into greased and floured cake mould. (Doesn't really matter what size or shape.) Steam for 20 minutes.

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