Christmas is round the corner again. This time last year, I was frantically trying to pull together my 12 days of Xmas Recipes (which you can also make this year for Christmas!) This year, however, I decided not to work myself up into a frenzy and focus instead on giving more than receiving. Next week, I’ll be going to Cebu on a mission trip with my church to teach slum villagers how to bake cakes so they can sell them and hopefully earn a livelihood. Apart from baking, other ladies in my team will also be teaching them other livelihood skills such as knitting and beading. I have never been to the Philippines before and my decision to go on this mission was made before the devastating Typhoon Haiyan. The area that we will be working with was unaffected by the typhoon and so we are going ahead with our plans. But in the wake of huge needs created by the typhoon tragedy, I almost feel bad saying I’m going to Philippines on a mission that is not directly related to the typhoon! Yet, I am keenly aware that the victims’ needs are best met by agencies that have access and resources to help them. Well-meaning but clueless people like us will more likely hamper the work of relief agencies with our presence. At the same time, life still goes on for those whose lives are not directly affected by the typhoon. And their needs should not be disqualified since their needs are not diminished in the light of a greater catastrophe.
One of the most challenging things I face is teaching them how to make delicious and simple cakes with minimal equipment and inexpensive, easily available ingredients so that they can replicate them after I leave. So I’ve been forced to think out of the box, or rather, electric oven. I was introduced to this steamed banana cake through one of my team members. It resembles a recipe for banana sponge cake, but is steamed instead of baked. Steaming makes this cake very moist, almost too moist for my liking. But after refrigerating overnight, the cake had just the right texture of moist and chewiness. If you like, you could even dress it up with your favourite cream cheese or chocolate frosting for extra yum!
Steamed Banana Cake
(Recipe courtesy of Ho Kwai Fong)
Yields: One 9″ round cake or two 8″ loaf pans
5 eggs, room temperature
½ tsp salt
2 tsp baking powder
1½ tsp baking soda
400g bananas, mashed
150g melted butter, cooled
1. Sift flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt together.
2. Whisk sugar and eggs with hand mixer until light and creamy. Whisk in mashed bananas.
5. Remove and cool, then frost with chocolate or cream cheese icing. Refrigerate and serve cold.