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  • Amy Minichiello

Banana, Date & Coconut Cake with Spiced Tahini Icing & Pecan Praline

I have to admit I was a bit stumped as to what recipe I was going to share with you all this week, after a busy week in the kitchen baking away for not only a Birthday cake but for a wedding cake as well I am only just sitting down now on this slightly coolish Sunday afternoon to type this all out. The boys have just come back from the beach with sandy toes after being down there watching the surfers do their thing and I have been enjoying a mug of hot water and a rather generous serving of this delicious cake. So, I thought I would also share it with you, seeing as its been making all the taste testers quite happy too. And I want to spread that happiness even further!

Every week I bake something different to take along to Mothers group. From cakes to tarts, pastries and the like. There is something so very special about sitting down with this group of beautiful girls and their bubbas. telling our stories from the week that has been and sharing in this incredible adventure that is, motherhood. And, of course our tummies never are ignored with each one of us bringing along something to enjoy and share. Its also a great way for me to test out new creations and means that we don't have a fridge full of cake all the time!! hrmmm, come to think of it the fridge at the moment has 3 different sweet treats on its shelves.......A baked salted caramel and pecan cheesecake, two different types of cake offcuts (from the celebration cakes) and this one! oh dear!!

A bowl full of bananas that had reached the blackened skin stage and were perfect for mashing into a cake batter were the inspiration behind this one. After reading quite a few recipes that I had torn out of newspapers and magazines that were practically falling out of my cookbook journal I had a plan. It would involve dates cooked in coconut milk, spices and dark brown sugar would provide that lovely caramel flavour. The icing would be a lovely concoction of some of my favourite things and complement the flavours inside the cake, with some leftover pecan praline adding that crunchy toffee goodness.

You could very well leave off the icing if you wanted, which would then mean that the cake in itself would be a dairy-free treat. It would also be delicious with a good dollop of coconut yoghurt and some fresh berries. Either way I hope you enjoy it, be it by yourself or with a group of friends, perhaps sitting under a tree on a beautiful sunny day, feet on the grass and laughter filling the air. x


Makes 1, 23cm cake

225g Medjool dates, pips removed and chopped

225g mashed banana

400ml tin coconut milk

50g coconut oil

200g dark brown sugar

3 teaspoons pure maple syrup

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

75g dessicated coconut

2 free-range eggs

1 teaspoon bi-carb soda

300g plain flour

Pre-heat your oven to 160 degrees fan-forced. Grease and line with baking paper a 23cm springform tin.

Place the dates in a medium saucepan with the coconut milk, oil, sugar, maple syrup and spices. Bring this to the boil while stirring occasionally for about 2 minutes, then pour this into a large mixing bowl, add the banana and the coconut and then leave until just warm. I let mine sit for about 15 minutes and found this to be absolutely fine.

Crack the eggs into a bowl first and then add into the date mixture and stir until combined. Add the bi-carb soda and stir this in well. Then finally fold through the flour.

spoon the mix into the tin and smooth the top out. Pop into the oven for about 45 minutes or until a cake tester inserted into the middle comes out clean. Leave to cool in the tin for about 15 minutes then remove and place onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For the icing

100g unsalted butter, softened

1/4 teaspoon ground turmeric

1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

50g mashed banana

50g cream cheese, softened

20g tahini

pinch salt

140g icing sugar

In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter, spices, banana, cream cheese and tahini until its lovely and smooth and a creamy texture has formed. add the salt and the icing sugar and beat again until its all incorporated.

Spread all over the cooled cake. I always like to make my cakes the day before and ice them the following day. If you do this, place the icing in an airtight container in the fridge and take out about 15 minutes before you want to use it. You can always beat it again or just give it a really good stir before spreading it onto the cake. Then arrange the pecan praline on top in any fashion your heart so desires.

Pecan praline

110g caster sugar

2 teaspoons apple cider vinegar

1/3 cup water

180g pecans

Line a baking tray with baking paper. Place the sugar, water and vinegar into a medium sized saucepan. Over a medium heat, stir until the sugar has dissolved then bring up to the boil before reducing it back down to low and simmer without stirring for about 10 minutes. Little bubbles will start to form, watch it closely as it turns to a light caramel then stir in the pecans and working quickly spoon them onto the baking tray, try and separate them as much as you can just so they are not all on top of one another. Allow to cool then you can break them up into however big or small you like.

Any leftovers will keep in the freezer in an airtight container with a piece of baking paper separating the layers. Done this way it will keep for a good month or two. Or it can be used for so many other things as well. I love it sprinkled over ice cream! there is something about the coolness and the crunch that is just too good!! Its also really lovely mixed into a salad, perhaps with some roasted pumpkin, blue cheese and some sort of greenery. I really hope you enjoy this treat! x

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