Donna Hay’s Banana Bread

There is something comforting when baking on a Sunday afternoon, while the sun is setting in the horizon, and after all your house chores have been done and dusted. It’s also usually on a Sunday when Mr J puts in a request for baked goods – banana bread, apple cinnamon muffins or simple scones. I would often share his cravings and would happily oblige, and half an hour later, voila. Freshly baked goodies out of the oven, in to our mouths, washed down by a nice cup of tea.

This is my go-to banana bread recipe, because it’s simple, easy to bake, and just utterly delicious. I also like the fact that it’s a fuss free recipe with maximum impact. No need for any fancy gadgets, or hard to get ingredients. Just straight forward ripe bananas, waiting to be turned into something magical.

What are your Sundays like?


Donna Hay’s Banana Bread
Recipe from here

3 – 4 large, very ripe bananas, mashed
125ml olive oil or vegetable oil
3 eggs
260g brown sugar, packed
1 tsp vanilla extract
225g self raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 160 deg C. Prepare your loaf tin.
  2. In a bowl, combine the mashed bananas, oil, eggs, sugar and vanilla extract.
  3. Add the flour and cinnamon to the bowl. Mix together but do not over mix.
  4. Pour onto prepared tin and bake for 50 – 60 minutes or until the skewer comes out clean.
  5. Cool for a few minutes before slicing. Best served toasted with some luscious Pepe Saya butter.

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Celebrations | Vanilla Cake with Brownie Fudge Centre & Vanilla Ombre Cake Frosting

It is baby season amongst my friends, and I love it.

I am surrounded by the most gorgeous, happiest babies and I am absolutely enjoying being the dedicated “Auntie” to not one, not two, not even three babies. Last count, there are about 7 little munchkins in our circle of friends, with one coming very very soon.

With kids means celebrations. Baby showers, births, christening, birthdays. Being around these munchkins literally makes me feel young inside and out – and I am loving it. In the current hostile climate that we live in, being around children shifts my mindset to that of simple happiness and innocence.

This Vanilla Cake with a Brownie Fudge Centre & Vanilla Ombre Cake Frosting was a request from my friends whose son was christened last month. Of course I had to go OTT with the brownie centre because I can, and my love affair with bunting topping hasn’t died down. Plus, I discovered this fantastic baker and cake topper maker from Etsy – Sugar Creations by Sera – who made the cute elephant topper in record time. Thank you Sera for your promptness & for helping me patch up poor little Dumbo who needed some minor surgery after losing a few pieces in transit.

I used this White Cake Recipe from my previous post –

The baby elephant topper from Sugar Creations by Sera.

And the remaining batter, I made into 12 cupcakes with vanilla buttercream frosting with animal toppings for the little ones.

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White Cake with Ombre Buttercream & Double Row Bunting

There are a lot of things in the world that fill my heart with so much joy and happiness. Being part of a celebration is definitely one of them, may it be with strangers or with the people closest to my heart. Being involved, in this case making the christening cake for my dear friends’ little bundle of sunshine, I’m just overwhelmed with so much love and pride as I made this beautiful cake for an equally beautiful little girl. She is indeed sunshine and rainbows, bringing joy to those around her.

Her mum, my dear friend, has requested for a yellow theme to go with her namesake which means sunshine – and oh how she does light up the world around her! My inspiration for this ombre buttercream frosting white cake is the sunrise: orange at the bottom, turning into a lovely yellow reminiscent of a new day.  The bunting adds a colourful and fun take on this equally festive occasion.

My dearest sunshine, may you bring love and joy to your parents, and a blessing to all that your heart and soul will touch.

White Cake with Ombre Buttercream & Double Row Bunting
Makes approximately 20 small slices

*The white cake recipe was adapted from Add a Pinch

300g unsalted butter, softened
5 eggs
3 cups granulated sugar
3 cups all purpose flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 cup buttermilk
2 tsp vanilla extract

  1. Preheat the oven to 175 deg C. Grease and line a 7″ baking pan with baking paper. Set aside.
  2. In a mixer, beat the butter in medium until soft and fluffy (about 1 minute). Add the sugar. Beat again for another minute.
  3. Add the eggs, one at a time, to the butter and sugar mix.
  4. In a separate bowl, sift the flour, baking powder, and salt. Set aside.
  5. In a jug, mix the buttermilk and vanilla.
  6. While slowly mixing the butter mix, add about 1 cup of the flour mix and alternate with about 1/3 of the buttermilk mix. Continue mixing the rest of the dry and wet ingredients to the butter mix, alternating from dry to wet.
  7. Beat slowly until the batter is well combined.
  8. Divide the batter into 3 pans.
  9. Bake each pan for about 20 minutes, or until a skewer or knife comes out clean.
  10. Set aside to cool.

Vanilla Ombre Buttercream

*You will need quite a lot of buttercream for this cake, as it is a 3 layer cake with lots of buttercream for the layers. You will also need to apply a crumbing buttercream first, and top it up with the ombre buttercream.

250g unsalted butter, softened
500g icing sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp milk

  1. Beat the butter in medium to high until soft and almost-pale in colour (about 2 minutes).
  2. Add the icing sugar, a few tablespoons at a time in between beating (about 1 minute per few tablespoon). Make sure you beat on medium to almost high to reach that almost white (off white/pale) colour. This will also add volume to the buttercream.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and milk, and beat until well mixed.
  4. Divide the buttercream into 3 bowls (I chose 2 colours and kept 1 uncoloured). Make sure you get the proportions right: leave more plain, uncoloured buttercream and only set aside about 4 large tablespoons per colour of the coloured buttercream. You will use alot more of the plain buttercream than the coloured ones for this design.
  5. Yellow: I used about 4 drops of Queens’ food gel in yellow for the yellow buttercream.
  6. Orange: I used about 4 drops of Queen’s food gel in yellow and 2 small drops of the Wilton icing colour gel in red.

Constructing your ombre cake

  1. On a cake board or a normal cake stand, add a small dollop of plain buttercream in the middle. This is to keep the cake in place by “gluing” it on to the board/stand.
  2. Once the cakes have cooled, place one layer on top of the buttercream on the board/stand. Add a dollop of the plain, uncoloured buttercream, spread evenly on the cake, and stack another cake until all 3 layers are on top of each other and divided by buttercream.
  3. Cover the whole cake with a thin layer of the plain, uncoloured buttercream. This is your crumbing buttercream and will help you frost later with the ombre colours without any loose crumbs. Put in the freezer for about 15 minutes to set.
  4. Now you’re ready to add the ombre colours! I started with the darkest (orange) buttercream as I wanted the sunrise effect – apply the orange buttercream to the bottom 1/3 sides of the cake. I used this tutorial as a guide, and it was easy peasy using an offset spatula.
  5. Overlap the orange buttercream with the yellow buttercream. Again, only about another 1/3 of the cake.
  6. Add the plain, uncoloured buttercream from the top 1/3 side of the cake. Continue with the plain, uncoloured buttercream on the top of the cake.
  7. For a little bit of “design”, place the tip of the offset spatula in the middle of the cake (on top). Slowly turn the board/stand as you create a swirly, ribbon design on the top. For the sides, place the tip of the offset spatula  at the edge (top part) of the side of the cake. Slowly turn the board/stand as you create another ribbon on the side until you reach the bottom part of the cake.
  8. If you’re decorating with sprinkles/dragees, sprinkle them now while the buttercream is soft.
  9. Place in the freezer for another 15 minutes to set again.

Double Row Bunting

Washi tape in any colour
Kitchen twine
Bamboo skewers
Paper straws
White cardboard
Alphabet stickers

  1. Stick the small strips of washi tape longitudinally on a white cardboard, ensuring there is some space between each tape. Only stick 1 side of the washi tape on to 1 side of the cardboard. I wanted to use the white cardboard as it has “weight” and can hold the tape down. I used this tutorial.
  2. Turn the cardboard on its back. Place the twine on the side of the cardboard where you have the other unstuck side of the washi tape. Secure the the twine by sticking the other side of the washi tape on the cardboard.
  3. Carefully cut the tape on to triangles. Create enough triangles if you’re trying to spell a name. Note: Make sure you leave enough room for the alphabet stickers later.
  4. Add the alphabet stickers. If making a double row bunting, repeat the process but make sure that you have enough space for more triangles if the second row has more letters. I made my second row of triangles smaller to fit
  5. Tie the ends of the buntings to the paper straws. Set aside.
  6. Place skewers on top of the cake in an angle so there’s more space at the top than at the bottom. Insert the straws with the bunting on the skewers.

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