Posted by: loveandsplendor | November 11, 2009

fab finds in the kitchen: bananas & passion fruit!

I love to cook.  I love to eat.  Anyone that knows me knows this about me.  In another life I would be the next Food Network star, wearing vintage patterned aprons and chatting about organic produce while I braised some fennel.  Or something like that.  🙂  As busy as life gets, it is so therapeutic for me to wind down in the kitchen, stirring a pot of tom kha gai or mincing cloves of garlic.  I love trying out new recipes, creating my own, and watching the delight on Erik’s face as he bites into something extra delicious.  And of course, I love those moments when *I* bite into something and sit there, mid-bite, in awe…shocked that *I* could have made this tasty morsel!!

I experienced one of those fabulous moments last week when I made (for the first time!) this banana cake and passionfruit icing.  It all started with these two passion fruits I found at my local market.  I happen to LOVE passion fruit-flavored anything, but I had never eaten (or even seen!) a real passion fruit.  It was a fairly unattractive thing, all purple and wrinkled (apparently the wrinkles mean the fruit is ripe!), but the sweet perfumed scent of the fruit was intoxicating. It won me over.  I put two in my basket with no idea of how I might use them.

After scouring the internet and discovering a dozen recipes I’d never want to make, I read an article about bananas and passion fruit making an excellent flavor pairing. And suddenly, a light went on!  I looooove bananas. Banana milkshakes, frozen bananas, deep-fried bananas, banana cream pie!  If it has bananas, I’m all about it. Combining two of my favorite fruits of all time into one tasty dessert?  brilliant.  I set to work to tweak a few recipes I found online for banana cake, and then went to town. The result was phenomenal. Seriously, I’m allowed to say that because I am not suggesting that I am somehow responsible.  In some wonderful twist of serendipity, my banana cake with passion fruit icing turned out to be the most delicious cake I’ve consumed in recent memory.

If you like to bake, or if you want to try your hand at it!, give this recipe a whirl and let me know what you think.  🙂

sweet & simple banana cake

you’ll need…

  • 1 ¼ cup of flour
  • 1 ½ tsp of baking soda
  • pinch of salt
  • ¼ cup of unsalted butter (softened at room temp.  don’t try to cheat and put it in the microwave… it will melt and get gross!)
  • ½ cup of white sugar  (i used turbinado sugar)
  • 1/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 1/3 cup of buttermilk
  • 1/3 cup of walnuts (“optional” — i see them as essential)
  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Mix the flour, baking soda and salt in a small bowl and set aside.
  3. In a large mixing bowl, mix both types of sugar and softened butter.  Cream until well integrated and smooth.
  4. Add egg and mix.
  5. Mix in mashed bananas.
  6. Little by little, add a little of the flour mix, and then a little buttermilk, and then a little flour mix, and then a little buttermilk, until fully incorporated.  I like to do three “rounds” of integrating…  It’s one of my crazy kitchen tendencies.
  7. Add the walnuts and mix well.
  8. Pour your batter into an 8″ round pan and bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes.  Check at 20 and 25 minutes just in case…  Mine was done in exactly 23 minutes.

While the cake is cooling, make your icing!

tart & juicy passion fruit icing

you’ll need…

  • one “bar” of cream cheese, softened
  • ½ cup of icing sugar (aka powdered sugar, confectioner’s sugar)
  • 2 ripe passion fruits
  1. Rinse the passion fruits and cut in half.  Scoop out all the fragrant pulp and put into a small bowl.  Pour all the pulp into a fine mesh strainer and strain out the seeds.  Use a spoon (or similar tool) to get every last bit of juice from the seeds.  (Note: the seeds are edible but I prefer a smooth, seedless icing.)
  2. Make sure your cream cheese is COMPLETELY softened and at room temp.
  3. Mix the cream cheese, icing sugar, and all the passion fruit juice (your yield will vary depending on the size of the fruit and your elbow grease! ) until smooth and completely integrated.
  4. Taste and add additonal sugar to taste, if necessary.  (You will need more sugar if you don’t like a true cream cheese taste to your cream cheese frosting. My passion fruits were soooo ripe and sweet that their flavor took over and I did not need additional sugar.)

Once the banana cake is completely cooled, frost your cake and enjoy!  (Note: I like to keep my frosting separate and frost each slice as I consume the cake, little by little.  LOL.  It keeps my frosting fresh since I knew I wasn’t taking the cake to a party.  Nope… I am just eating this cake slice by slice on my own!  haha) **Update: the cake is now gone.  Come to your own conclusions.  🙂

The recipe will yield an 8″ round cake, but feel free to double the recipe and make two round 8″ cakes for a layered cake. There is probably plenty of icing for 2 cakes. I like to slather mine on, thankyouverymuch.  🙂

Hope you all are having a wonderful week!  Coming soon: vendor roundup for Jessica & Jeff’s wedding!

P.S. Happy Veterans Day! I am so grateful for the service & sacrifice made every single day by our service men and women. My father is a highly decorated Vietnam War veteran (who served three tours there in the Big Red 1) and he is a true example of an American hero.  Love you, daddy.





  1. I want Guy Fieri’s job. 🙂

  2. ohhh … how bout you just make some again and share some love this way! 🙂 xoxoxo

  3. I love banana bread too but never make it myself. Have to try it. I am a Food Network junkie, my fav is Barefoot Contessa, who is your favorite?

    • hi angela! 🙂 i loooove barefoot contessa but i’m also a big fan of giada and good eats w/ alton brown. xoxo

  4. looks so yummy! and i agree that banana and passion fruit go well together 🙂

  5. Ha ha! Next Food Network Star is my fantasy. I know I could never hack it on Top Chef, but I feel like the food network is much more attainable. I have a joke with Dustin that if he’ll agree to go on “Design Star” then I will go on NFNS and we’ll be a television duo.

  6. I am obsessed with the Food Network…Barefoot Contessa is my favorite. Your banana cake sounds delicious! I was recently at a wedding where the groom’s cake was banana cake with chocolate icing…such a fun twist on the traditional chocolate cake.

  7. Definetely going to give this recipe a try! Looks amazing 🙂

  8. Erik is blessed! Go domestic diva!

  9. Your blog is wonderfully sensual and I love it! Is it ok if I borrow some photos to my blog?

    I want to leave a footprint to you, from the very south part of Sweden (very closed to Copenhagen in Denmark)


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