Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Banana Muffins/ Cake

My whole family loves bananas a lot especially my daughter and my father in law. I will usually try to get a comb on Saturday if my in laws are coming over to stay. Since there were some over ripe bananas left over after a weekend, I decided to try baking banana cake as i read a lot on internet and books that this should be pretty well easy for a beginner to bake. Browsing through all the resources that I have, I decided to bake this using Agnes Chang's recipe.

I baked the banana muffins and the banana cake in 2 seperate occasions. I left no choice but to bake this as muffins since the most important ingredient that i need for any banana recipes that is the bananas left only 3 pcs! So I decided to mash 2 of them and left one for decoration. I halfed all the baking ingredients of course.

My daugther and my husband are always the prima tester for all my cooked and baked goodies. Yeah they are the guinea pigs! :) As any other mums, I always concern about the nutritional intakes of my daughter. So, if I can I will try to use checimals minimally and wisely in all my cookings and bakings.

So for the muffins recipe, I didn't use the baking soda at all since the baking powder itself already consists of the baking soda. The muffins turned out to be very moist but not greasy, it is soft but not airy and light as it shouldn't be! It tasted so good but it doesn't look very presentable as it sunk in the middle a little!

Well this is expected as I didn't add in the baking soda to boost up the leavening effect. I didn't fill up the muffin cases 3/4 full as my batter can barely made six! So when the batter leavened, it didn't successfully flow out to get that nice curve at the edge as it was blocked by the muffin cases. It looked like being squeezed to the centre didn't it?

Read somewhere that we should fill up the empty muffin holes with water for even baking. I did that for my muffins. No regret of not adding baking soda for the muffins though.

The banana cake which I baked in a loaf tin was not successful. The inner part of the batter was not cooked and it has a few big holes and the biggest one was in the centre of the loaf!

I thought of baking this to serve the hungry pangs of my hubby over the weekend when he needs to work. Anyway he didn't know about this :)

Very disappointed but still I was glad that we were able to try the sides of the cake. It tasted a bit heavy though. I used the self raising flour and therefore did not use the baking powder as instructed in the recipe.

Read in and other sites and found some baking tips and clues to the failed project :

Q1 : Why use baking powder and baking soda?

A1 : Baking powder consists of baking soda, one or two acid salt (cream of tartar and sodium aluminium sulfate) and cornstarch. The purpose of the baking powder and baking soda is to leaven the batter and baking soda is normally used for acidic ingredients, chocolate & cocoa, honey, maple syrup to neutralise the acidic ingredients and soften the cake at the same time leaven the cake. Baking powder that we used has 2-staged leavening effects that happens at different time. The first stage happens when liquid is added to the baking powder. This step happens when baking powder is added to the batter. The baking soda in the baking powder will mix with cream of tartar and create gas bubbles called carbon dioxide in the batter. The second stage of leavening happens when the gas bubbles enlarge when exposed to thebheat in the oven. (Baking soda able to create reddening effect on batter when mix with chocolate/ cocoa powder.)

Q2: What happen when too much baking powder is used?
A2: Too much baking powder will cause the batter to collapse. Too little will cause the cake has no volume and compact.

Q3: Why there is a big hole in the cake?
A3: When use baking powder and baking soda, you must sift them and mix them well before putting in the batter if not there will be a big whole in the cake. (I used self raising flour and did not use baking soda so why there are holes on my banana loaf cake remains as a myth until i found the answer!)

Q4: Why the inner cake is not cooked?
A4: Too low temperature or too short time of baking. (This is what happened to me as I bake the loaf for about 25 minutes as I was rushing out to have breakfast with my family friends. Hubby read wrongly the baking time as this is the baking time to bake the muffins instead.)



180g unsalted butter
180g castor sugar
2 eggs
4 ripe bananas, coarsely mashed
1/8 banana essence optional (which I did not use)
3 tbsp of milk mixed with 1 tbsp of lemon juice

Dry ingredients :
240g plain flour
1tsp of baking powder
1tsp of baking soda

Decoration : 2 ripe bananas, slimed and ½ lime


1. Preheat oven to 180 deg C/350 deg F. Grease and baseline a 10” x 6” loaf tin.

2. Cream butter and sugar and gradually add in eggs.

3. Mix in the mashed bananas (add in bananas essence at this stage if you are using). Pour in the sifted dried ingredients and mix until well incorporated.

4. Pour the batter into a cupcake or a loaf tin and bake for about 20 – 25 min.

5. If you are making the muffins squeeze lime juice over banana slices arrange banana slices on top of the cake as decoration.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and leave to cool before serving.

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