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My version of a Malagasy cake - the ultimate dessert from Madagascar. Filled with cream, banana and spices. This easy recipe will help you make a warm and cozy sweet treat you'll be sure to love!
Madagascar has always been high on my list of travel - an incredible island off the coast of Africa, home to many species known no where else in the world. Recently, I learned that it's also home to some incredible baked goods! Malagasy cake is one such dessert, which comes in many forms and is a popular street food.
What is Malagasy Cake?
So, Malagasy cake is an exceptionally moist spiced cake - somewhere between a cake and a pudding. It is generally flourless and made with semolina or tapioca as a thickener. In my recipe, I've used cornstarch as tapioca is not as common in UK grocery stores.
Some recipes call for coconut milk or bananas, both of which add extra flavours. And the cake usually includes a good amount of vanilla. Vanilla beans are one of Madagascar's major exports and a great commodity amongst bakers.
Ingredients for my Malagasy Cake
My recipe for Malagasy cake has taken inspiration from Ambervim's recipe. I have made amendments based on ingredient availability and additional details on baking so as to better replicate this cake in your own kitchen.
For the Malagasy cake, you'll need:
- Heavy (double) cream
- Sugar - caster sugar or superfine granulated sugar will work best in this recipe.
- Vanilla - one whole vanilla bean.
- Nutmeg - for the best flavour, use freshly ground nutmeg, but you can also use store bought ground nutmeg instead.
- Ground cloves.
- Cornstarch (or cornflour in the UK)
- Bananas - you will mash these with a fork, so the riper the better.
- Butter to grease the baking dish.
Process for this Spiced Banana Pudding Cake
I like to think of this as a spiced banana pudding cake - this is the best way to define the flavour and texture! It is incredibly easy to make, but takes a little time on the stovetop before baking.
Start by placing the cream, sugar and spices in a large deep sided saucepan. Then cut the vanilla bean in half lengthwise. Scrape the seeds into the saucepan and also place the pod in as well.
Stir the mixture together, while heating over a medium heat and bring to a simmer. This will take around 5 minutes. You want to allow this to simmer, but not boil.
Once simmering, remove from the heat and add in the cornstarch, whisking together to make as smooth as possible. Return to the heat and cook over a medium low heat for a further 10 minutes. Don't worry if there are some lumps, these will smooth out as the mixture thickens and you continue whisking.
After 10 minutes you should have a mixture that is a bit of a custard consistency, a bit like my pastry cream recipe.
Remove from the heat and add in mashed bananas, stirring to combine. Then add the eggs one at a time, whisking after each addition. You will be left with a runny batter.
Pour this into a buttered baking dish - I used an 8 inch square baking tray with rounded edges, but you could also make this in a similar size cake pan or other baking tin. Place in the centre of a preheated oven for about 40 minutes.
Baking Gluten Free Malagasy Cake
Baking times will vary dependent on the size of the pan used, but you can test for the cake to be done by using a skewer inserted in the middle. The cake texture is a bit on the softer side, but it should still firm up enough to provide clean slices.
The images below show the bake batter freshly poured into the buttered dish and again after about 20 minutes of baking. This shows how it starts to form a golden top, but the centre still needs to set further for it to be sliceable.
If you use a larger pan, the cake will be thinner and should bake more quickly as the centre will set firmer faster.
FAQs for Malagasy Cake
This cake is best served fresh and still warm from the oven. It can be served at room temperature, but refrigerating will cause the cake to shrink a bit as the custard chills and sets more firm.
Well, it might be a couple of things!
First - it is important for the custard cream to be thickened before trying to mix the other ingredients into this. Definitely don't rush the process for thickening this, otherwise the batter will be very very runny and may not set.
If your custard was well thickened, it might simply be that you need to continue baking a bit longer. As you can see in the post above - after 20 minutes, my cake looks relatively set. It has a lightly golden top and only a slight jiggle. But, if you put a skewer into the centre, it is still liquidy and more of a pudding than a cake. Continuing to bake for another 20 minutes, the cake firms up.
If you like this recipe, you might also be interested in:
- Banana Bread with Chocolate Chips
- Banoffee Blondies
- Banana Ganache Muffins
- Eggnog Bread Pudding
- Pandan Rice Pudding
- 2 cups heavy cream or double cream
- ¼ cup superfine granulated sugar or caster sugar
- 1 vanilla bean pod
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ⅛ teaspoon ground cloves
- 2½ tablespoon cornstarch or UK cornflour
- 4 bananas ripe and mashable
- 4 eggs
- butter to grease the pan
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (175C/155C Fan) and butter a 9" square or rounded baking dish.
- Place the cream in a large saucepan. Cut the vanilla bean in half down the length and scrape the seeds out. Add these to the saucepan along with the pod. Also add the spices (nutmeg and cloves) and sugar.
- Stir the cream mixture together while cooking over a medium heat until the sugar has dissolved and the mixture is simmering (avoid bringing to a boil).
- Allow to simmer for a couple of minutes before removing from the heat and adding the cornstarch. Whisk to incorporate and return the pan to the stovetop, lowering the heat to a medium low setting.
- Continue whisking for about 10 minutes while the cream mixture thickens to a custard like consistency.
- Once thickened, remove from the heat and add in mashed bananas. Stir to combine. Then add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition, until you have a runny batter.
- Pour the batter into a buttered baking tray and bake in the centre of the oven for about 40 minutes until the top is lightly golden and the centre is set. This can be tested with a knife or skewer.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 10 minutes, before serving warm.