Reducing Food Waste - Banana Peel Cake
We eat a lot of bananas in the Frugalitude household which, unsurprisingly, generates a great deal of banana peel each week. To avoid throwing the peels away I usually feed them to my worms or compost them, but I have always wondered if there were any other ways to use them.
Then, while doing some research on food waste, I stumbled on a couple of cake recipes that use banana peel as a key ingredient. I was intrigued! Was it possible to use banana peel – something that is normally thrown away – in a cake? More importantly, would a cake made with banana peel be delicious?
Since the recipes were so different, I thought I would try both…so here goes…
Not Quite Nigella Banana Skin Cake
The first cake recipe is from the Not Quite Nigella blog. When I baked this, 4 large banana skins resulted in 1 cup of banana peel puree
4 banana skins
3/4 cup water
¾ cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 cup plain flour
1 tablespoon yeast
For the glaze
Cut off the ends of the skin. Leave the skins soaked in water, changing the water every day, until they become soft and water is clear. For me, this step took 4 days
Process the skins in a blender or food processor with about ½ cup of water.
Strain the mixture to get rid of any hard bits, but keep the puree and the liquid.
Line a cake tin with baking parchment, and preheat the oven to 350°F / 180°C.
Measure the amount of banana peel puree mixture. For each cup of banana puree, add 1 egg, ¾ cup of sugar, 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ cup of oil. Beat until well incorporated.
Add 1 cup of flour and 1 tablespoon of yeast, per cupful of the original puree, and mix. Place batter into the prepared baking tin.
Bake for 40 minutes or until it looks ready and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
To make the glaze, measure the strained liquid part into a pan. For every cupful of liquid, add a cup of sugar into a pan with the liquid. Add cinnamon and a pinch of salt and heat. Stir to avoid sticking until thickened enough to spread on the cake - about 20-30 minutes. Cool slightly before pouring over the cake.
Sarah Wilson's Banana Peel Bread
The second recipe comes an Australian zero-waste cookbook called Simplicious Flow. A cake that uses banana peels and is somewhat healthy – sounded like a win/win to me!
4 banana peels
2 tsp Vanilla Extract
80g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra for greasing
½ cup rice malt syrup
4 eggs, separated
2½ cups plain flour
½ cup desiccated coconut
1½ tbs baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup chopped walnuts
Preheat the oven to 375°F / 190°C.
Grease a 8 inch / 21 cm round cake tin with a little softened butter.
Place the banana peels in a food processor with 1/4 cup water and blitz to a thick puree.
Add the vanilla, butter, rice malt syrup and egg yolks and process for 30 seconds or until creamy. Add the flour, coconut, baking powder and cinnamon and pulse until the mixture forms a batter.
Transfer the batter to a mixing bowl.
Whisk the egg whites to stiff peaks. Gently fold the egg whites and walnuts through the batter and transfer to the prepared tin.
Bake for 45 to 50 minutes, or until the top crusts slightly and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. Allow to cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
If you want to make this a cake, rather than a bread you can add a salted caramel frosting
250 g cream cheese
2 tsp rice malt syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp vanilla powder
pinch of sea salt
60g unsalted butter, softened, plus extra if needed
Place all of the ingredients except the butter in a high-speed blender and blitz until combined. Gradually add the butter until the mixture is thick but still spreadable. If needed, add more butter. Spread the frosting over the cooled cake.
Anything else I should know?
Both of these recipes were such a disappointment - I so wanted to love these cakes but sadly I didn’t and I have to give them both a 1-pig grading.
While Sarah Wilson’s Banana Peel Bread looked great, it tasted how I imagine cardboard tastes - it was really not good. Even the frosting didn’t help - it tasted like cardboard with sweet-flavored frosting on it.
The Not Quite Nigella Banana Skin Cake did taste a little better. It had more flavor but was very dense.
Despite the failure of both of these recipes I still live in hope that there is a delicious banana peel recipe out there…if you know of one, please share it below!