My Nan’s Banana Cake

Banana in any form of cake, loaf, biscuit, cupcake or just plain fruit, reminds me of my Nan’s banana cake. It can instantly transport me back to my childhood when we would go around her house as kids and be treated to a slice for afternoon tea.

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Yes I know that sounds very old fashioned but my Nan is 92 years old and afternoon tea was a big thing for her generation. My mum followed her tradition when we were young; often we would come home from school and be treated to a slice of homemade cake or a homemade biscuit.


banana cake with lemon icing


But times have changed and mealtimes have gotten earlier so the need for a mid-afternoon meal has disappeared. I don’t follow this tradition at home, but I must admit if I am out and about by mid-afternoon I am always the first to suggest going for a coffee and a bit of cake, and if at all possible I always try and go for the banana cake.


Usually, it comes with lashings of buttercream, which is nice and don’t get me wrong I am not complaining. I am a big advocate of buttercream on cakes, but my Nan never bothered with it. I don’t know if it was because it wasn’t fashionable or if it was because during the war and for many years after butter was on rationing and was really expensive for a long time afterwards. She just simply served it with a lemon icing.


Now bear with me lemon and banana? Honestly, it does work, the lemon icing gives it a nice fresh aftertaste, as banana cake can be very sweet. It really does work. Trust me, go ahead and give it a go.


Now I have to admit to making a few little changes, not because anything was wrong with the original but just a few tweaks. I added an extra banana to the mix for a stronger banana flavour and instead of using vanilla essence I used vanilla extract, I think this is just a change in the times, I don’t use essence in anything I always use an extract instead.


banana cake with lemon icing

Banana Cake

My Nan's Banana Cake, a moist banana cake with a lemon drizzle icing. A perfect tea time treat.
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Course: Cake
Cuisine: British
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 8 slices
Calories: 430kcal
Author: Emma


  • 125 grams unsalted butter - at room temperature ((1 stick and 1 tablespoon))
  • 250 grams caster sugar ((1 and 1/4 cup))
  • 2 large eggs - at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 250 grams Plain flour (All Purpose - sifted, (2 cups and 1 tablespoon))
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 small ripe bananas - the blacker the better
  • 28 grams Icing sugar (Confectioners sugar, (1/4 cup))
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice


Directions for the cake

  • Prepare a 2-pound cake tin by lightly greasing the tin and flouring it and pre heat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas mark 4
  • Cream the butter and sugar together in a medium sized bowl until it is light in colour.
  • Add the eggs one at a time beating the mixture in-between each addition. Continue mixing until the mixture is smooth.
  • Add the vanilla extract and mix in.
  • Gradually add the flour, baking powder and salt and gently mix until fully combined.
  • Mix in the mashed bananas carefully.
  • Place the cake batter into the 2-pound cake tin
  • Bake for 30 to 40 minutes in the centre of the oven. Before taking out check to see if a skewer comes out clean first. If it does leave in the tin for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to fully cool down.

Directions for the icing

  • I like to ice it on the rack as its slightly easier to clean up any mess.
  • Mix the icing sugar and half the lemon juice, and then add more of the lemon juice until you have the right consistency. You still want it relatively thick but spreadable. Leave till the icing has set.
  • I like the slightly rustic look of it dripping down the sides but you don’t have to do this.
  • Then simply serve.
  • It makes a perfect afternoon snack.
Nutrition Facts
Banana Cake
Amount Per Serving (1 slice (out of 8))
Calories 430 Calories from Fat 130
% Daily Value*
Fat 14.4g22%
Saturated Fat 8.6g54%
Cholesterol 80mg27%
Sodium 258mg11%
Carbohydrates 72.9g24%
Fiber 2.4g10%
Sugar 42.2g47%
Protein 5.6g11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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