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Cake recipes

An everyday easy banana cake with or without ganache

Prep time 15 minutes | Cook time 45 minutes
serves 8 people

Photography by Tracey Creed
Assisted by Amandine Paniagua
Recipe by Amandine Paniagua and Tracey Creed
Words by Tracey Creed

Recipe best prepared all year

Published May 12 2019
Updated January 15 2024


2 cups wholemeal flour
1 12 tsp baking soda
12 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla powder
12 tsp ginger
1 cup brown sugar
14 cup olive oil
4 ripe bananas, mashed
14 cup filtered water
Chocolate Ganache
170 grams dark chocolate, chopped small
12 cup coconut milk


Pre-heat your oven to 180°C degrees. Lightly grease a 9-inch square baking pan.

In a bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, salt, vanilla and ginger. In another bowl, whisk together the sugar and oil, add the bananas and water and mix to combine. Transfer your wet to your dry ingredients and fold to incorporate.

Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the centre comes out clean.

For the ganache, heat your coconut milk in a small saucepan over medium to high heat. Pour over the chocolate and whisk until smooth.

Leave to cool, stirring every 10 or so minutes until you have a spreadable frosting. Frost your cake, garnish with sea salt flakes if using and eat!

Simple banana cake for everyday baking and eating

This banana cake is simply amazing, deceptively simple. I’ll make this when I have ripe bananas begging to be saved, or when I go out specifically looking for ripe bananas to make this cake. It is for no occasion other than the occasion being you feel like banana cake. That is the occasion.

I often wonder why anyone would want to purchase cake at all if they could make this cake, any cake this simple for that matter. It must cost me around ten dollars and not a great deal of my time. Usually, I will prepare the cake for the oven while waiting for grains to cook, something I should not be away from too long. Boiling corn. I either bake this cake in a 23 cm round tin or 20 cm by 20 cm square tin, it turns out perfect every time. If you don't yet own a good cake tin, I highly recommend Nordic Ware. I have two of their Leakproof Springform Pans; the 7-inch used here and a 9-inch which I purchased at the same time five years back now. Sometimes I will make the ganache, but often leave it plain, and unadulterated. I figured since it was ultra-moist that the cake would stand on its’ own. And it does. I make it weekly, I will make another this weekend. It is practical.

Practical though not always ideal. I buy bananas, they are not produced locally but nothing is perfect. We don’t need perfect though. We need more people with an imperfect practice, taking pride in all the small triumphs, doing whatever they can within their means, on their terms. With few exceptions we, the people need to commit to addressing human rights issues, if the approach were to have brands lead the narrative we could not expect anything of significance in terms of progress. Only 1 out of 14 bananas sold in New Zealand are Fairtrade.

Supermarkets, retailers generally have conditioned people to expect promotions, to expect low prices. We need to normalise fair pricing. The media we consume, algorithms, funnels our views on these issues. What we choose to consume today informs what we will consume tomorrow; and this narrow view of reality, what we receive shapes our interests and values. Redefining the role of media and embracing its responsibility to question our current food system - its’ environmental and social impacts will be immensely challenging. And therefore so will achieving mainstream awareness.

It was after reading an article featured on radio NZ by Tess McClure - “Banana Republic, the ugly story behind New Zealand’s most popular fruit” that I would no longer buy bananas without some fair trade certification - often there are none at my local supermarket so I go elsewhere or go without. In the article a photographer recalls how plantation workers would cover their crotch with their hands when they heard the spray plane fly overhead, afraid of becoming infertile. What this really reinforces is that climate change issues and human rights are all interconnected - environmental issues are also human rights issues.

Without knowing, no one can be expected to enact change. What I like about Fashion Revolution, their approach, is that it starts with a very simple question – ‘who made my clothes?’ Asking the question is an act of consciousness; engagement with a positive focus on education. They created a narrative through which anyone could engage with the fashion industry. Anyone. Similarly, we have the opportunity to disrupt the food system. Labels are counterproductive. The vast majority of people want to feel good about their choices, not alienated based on their current behaviour.

And so regardless of whether we subscribe to labels or not, I think is critical we extend our understanding of how our food choices impact the world and others - we all eat and thus engage with the food system. Banana small farmers deserve to receive a fair price that covers their costs of sustainable production, to make a decent living. That and everyone should have the right to live dignified lives. And here we are, thinking $4 for a bunch of bananas is too much to ask.

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