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Beaten egg whites suffuse banana cake with lightness

By Betty Shimabukuro


If you're planning to make today's cake, a banana chiffon, get organized. This is not the kind of easy recipe that you can pull off on the fly, measuring as you go.

Sift that flour, separate those eggs (eight of them), mash those bananas. Then turn on the oven. And then beat those egg whites to stiffness. If your idea of baking and bananas is a dense quick bread, you'll find this light and fluffy cake to be more of a challenge. But it's worth the effort.

Gladys Sato wrote for a cake recipe "that I clipped out of either The Hono­lulu Advertiser or Hono­lulu Star-Bulletin, can't remember which paper. It was quite a number of years ago. … It's really a good recipe; light and moist!!!"

The exact number of those years was 33. The recipe was printed under the headline "Airy Banana Cake" in the Star-Bulletin on Jan. 30, 1980.

Four heroic recipe collectors were able to answer Sato's request, printed here Jan. 2. First in was Jean Koha­shi, who found it in her mother's collection with the notation of "good," and emailed it to me within hours of reading the paper. She was followed quickly by Jan Naka­shima, who had the actual newspaper clipping (and noted that on the other side is a Dee Lite Bakery advertisement for a $4.10 lime cake). These two first responders will receive cookbooks in return for helping solve this recipe mystery. Thanks also to Sharon Tamaru and Doris Raabe, who sent in the same recipe a few days later.

A few notes: Koha­shi said her mother cut the white and brown sugar back by 1/4 cup each because she liked things less sweet. Naka­shima said she substituted poppy seeds for the allspice. I used cinnamon because I didn't have any allspice. The choice is yours.

Also, the recipe calls for using an ungreased tube pan. If you are using a Bundt pan instead, I suggest oiling the pan well. My aged bundt pan, with its decorative ridges, would not release this cake easily. In fact, some of it got mangled in the unmolding process, which is why we photographed the cake in slices. Not very bundt-y, but it still looks good, right? And it tasted great.


2-1/2 cups sifted cake flour
3/4 cup sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon allspice
3/4 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
5 egg yolks
1/3 cup cold water
1-1/3 cup mashed ripe banana
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup egg whites (7 to 8 eggs)
1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

Sift flour, sugar, baking powder, salt and allspice into a bowl. Stir in brown sugar. Make a well in the center and add oil, egg yolks, water, banana and vanilla. Beat with spoon until smooth.

In separate large bowl, beat egg whites and cream of tartar until very stiff peaks form.

Pour banana mixture gently into egg whites and fold, just until blended. Pour into ungreased 10-inch tube pan. Bake 55 minutes.

Increase heat to 350 degrees and bake 15 to 20 minutes longer, until a pick inserted into the center comes out clean. Invert baking pan over serving platter and cool completely.

Nutritional information unavailable.


Send requests to "By Request," Honolulu Star-Advertiser, 7 Waterfront Plaza, Suite 210, Honolulu 96813. Email bshimabukuro@staradvertiser.com.

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