Fact: the world is a better place with cake. In particular, a humble banana cake that retains the dense crumb of a banana bread while staying light and miraculous like all good cakes should, not to mention the added textural delight and indulgent pockets of dates and a Hawaiian-inspired caramel frosting.
It's simple, it's delicious, and it keeps for up to a week (not that you are likely to find out given the speed at which this number tends to be consumed).
Ingredients 250g unsalted butter 350g caster sugar 1 vanilla bean, seeds scraped Pinch salt 4 eggs 200g crème fraiche 2 cups plain flour 1 tbsp baking powder 3 large ripe bananas 20ml maple syrup ½ cup dates, deseeded, roughly chopped Penuche icing 100g butter 1 cup brown sugar ¼ cup milk 1 ¼ cups icing sugar
Preheat the oven to 200C. Grease and line a deep-sided square baking tin (approximately 25 x 25cm).
Whisk the butter in sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer until pale and fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, until fully incorporated. Add the crème fraiche and vanilla bean seeds, and mix to just combine. Add the dry ingredients and beat to just combined.
In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with the maple syrup then stir through the cake batter. Gently stir through the dates, then spoon into tin. Bake for an hour or until evenly browned and a skewer inserted in the centre comes out clean. Check at about the 30-minute mark, as the cake can take on quite a bit of colour. If looking too brown, cover with foil and continue baking.
For the icing, melt the butter and brown sugar in a saucepan, stirring constantly so it doesn't catch until the sugar has completely dissolved. Add the milk until the mixture is just starting to bubble, then remove from the heat. Add the icing sugar gradually, stirring with a whisk until you get your desired consistency. You may need more than suggested here depending on the consistency you like. Finally, ice the cake while the icing is still warm.