Layered Banana & Hazelnut Cake with Caramel

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Prep 35min (+1hr cooling time)
Bake 25min
Makes 12 serves

Layer upon layer, this impressive cake is deceptively simple to make. What’s more, you could call it a hazelnut hummingbird cake with the added bonus of lashings of caramel. Now what’s not to love about that!


Banana and hazelnut cake layers

melted butter, to brush

300g (2 cups) plain flour

3½ teaspoons baking powder

2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

½ teaspoon ground cardamom

220g (1 cup, firmly packed) brown sugar

100g hazelnut meal

60g (⅔ cup) desiccated coconut

150g butter, melted and cooled

3 eggs, lightly whisked

4 ripe medium bananas (about 200g each), mashed

2 teaspoons natural vanilla extract or essence


    165g (¾ cup) caster sugar

    60ml (¼ cup) water

    150ml pouring cream

    30g butter, cubed

      Cream cheese frosting

      250g cream cheese, cubed, at room temperature

      80g butter, cubed, at room temperature

      1 teaspoon natural vanilla essence or extract

      185g (1½ cups) icing sugar


        1. To make the cake layers, preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan-forced). Brush three shallow 20cm round cake tins with melted butter and line the bases with non-stick baking paper.
        2. Sift together the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and cardamom into a large bowl. Stir in the brown sugar, hazelnut meal and coconut and stir with a wooden spoon to combine, breaking up any lumps. Make a well in the centre. Use a fork to whisk together the butter, eggs, banana and vanilla. Add to the dry ingredients and use a spatula or large metal spoon to fold together until just combined.
        3. Divide the cake mixture evenly among the prepared cake tins, smoothing the surface with the back of a spoon. Bake in preheated oven for 25 minutes, swapping the tins around halfway through baking, until pale golden and a skewer inserted into the centre of the cakes comes out clean. Stand the cakes in the tins for 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool.
        4. Meanwhile, to make the caramel, combine the caster sugar and water in a small saucepan and use a wooden spoon to stir over low heat until the sugar dissolves. Increase the heat to medium and bring to the boil. Boil for about 10 minutes, brushing down the side of the pan with a pastry brush dipped in water to dissolve any sugar crystals, until the mixture turns a deep caramel. Remove immediately from the heat and carefully add the cream and butter. Stir with a wooden spoon until well combined and the caramel is smooth. Brush a little of the hot caramel over the warm cakes.
        5. Pour the caramel into a heatproof bowl or jug and set aside to cool, stirring occasionally, with the cakes (this will take about 1 hour).
        6. Meanwhile to make the cream cheese frosting, use an electric mixer to beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla until well combined and creamy. With the mixer running, gradually beat in the icing sugar until well combined and smooth. Cover and set aside in a cool spot (but not in the fridge).
        7. To assemble the cake, spread about ½ cup of the cream cheese frosting over the top of one of the cake layers. Top with another cake layer, another ½ cup frosting and the remaining cake layer. Spread a thin layer of frosting around the outside of the cake so that the cake layers show through. Spread the remaining frosting on top. Pour a generous amount of the caramel over the top of the cake, allowing it to drizzle down the sides. Serve in wedges with the remaining caramel passed separately, if desired.

        Baker's Tips

        • This cake will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Stand at room temperature for 30 minutes before serving.
        This recipe is from Anneka's SBS Food online column, Bakeproof: CaramelCLICK HERE for more Bakeproof recipes.

        Photography by Alan Benson.