This recipe is so special, I feel like I’m sharing a trade-secret.
Not once have I served this cake without the cake-consumer showering me with compliments, taking guesses at its ingredients and then proceeding to take another piece. This whole process makes me very happy. So happy that I make this cake quite frequently. In fact, I made it this past weekend for a friend’s graduation and without fail, she repeated the aforementioned procedure.
So what are the secret ingredients?
Yogurt, rose water, and ground almonds. Paired with thinly sliced (not mashed) bananas, they come together magically.
Because I’m not genius enough to think up this unique flavor combination, I’ve adapted this recipe from here. And she adapted it from The Yoghurt Book: Food of the Gods (1983) by Arto der Haroutunian. Don’t you find relatively older cookbooks so precious and comforting? Those classic recipes are like treasures that must be cherished and passed down.
And that’s why I’m here, sharing this recipe for one of the most ‘gourmet’, exotic tasting cakes I’ve made. I’m sure you’ll love it!
Also, a note on sugar: If you’re accustomed to traditional American cake recipes, you may be thrown off by the 1/2 cup of sugar this recipe calls for. Many baked goods from different parts of the world don’t contain nearly as much sugar as we are used to here. Enjoy the slightly sweet, delicate taste of this cake or add just a bit more sugar to your liking.
Lebanese Banana Cake with Yogurt and Rose Water
- 1/2 cup 8 tbsp butter, softened
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- a pinch of salt
- 5 tbsp yogurt
- 2 tbsp rose water**
- 2 small ripe bananas, thinly sliced
- 1½ cups self-rising flour
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 1 oz ground almonds
- powdered confectioner's sugar (for dusting)
- butter for greasing the pan
- Generously butter and flour a 7-7½ in round pan.**
- Lightly whisk the eggs and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
- In another bowl, using a stand or hand-held mixer, cream the butter and sugar on medium speed until light and fluffy, at least 5 minutes. Use a spatula to scrape the edges of the bowl as necessary. Add the eggs a little at a time, and continue to scrape the edges of your bowl, until well combined. Add the yogurt and rose water and mix well.
- Gently stir in the thinly-sliced bananas using your spatula. Sift the flour and baking soda into the mixture and fold gently just until combined. Lastly, fold in the ground almonds.
- Spoon this mixture into the prepared pan and set aside for 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 350ºF and bake the cake for 50 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean.
- Cool on a rack and use a tea strainer to dust with powdered sugar through a sieve before serving.
*Use only 1 tablespoon if your rose water is particularly strong.
**I’ve used a 9 inch pan (pictured) as well as a bundt pan and they both work well.