Carrot & Banana Cake

In the early 1990's, just after I left university, my friend Nico and I used to get together once a month, on my day off to do some cooking together.  We ventured into the (rather tricky) realms of trying our hand at traditional South African recipes.  I remember us baking milk tarts in their kitchen in "Barlinka Flats" in Stellenbosh, making an enormous mess because we put too much filling into the pastry shell.  Or making koeksisters of monstrous proportions because we thought the uncooked koeksisters should be more or less the size of the cooked ones.  Anyway, Nico once gave me a recipe for a very easy Carrot & Banana Cake and it came out perfectly every time.

That recipe was glued into an old, black hard cover exercise book I had for recipes I had collected over the years.  Unfortunately, after my move to Ilha Formosa, almost 8 years ago, I haven't been able to locate that book again.  I mentioned it to fellow South African expat, Connie the other day and she has that exact, same recipe!  Thank you, Connie!  It was a joyous reunion.

This cake (or fruit loaf, if you want) is super easy to make and it works in our little Taiwan ovens, too.  The ingredients are easy to remember; mostly a cup (250ml) of everything and one or two teaspoons of everything else.  If you have never baked anything else in your life, THIS is where you should start!
Photo by Shanglin Wu

Carrot & Banana Cake


  • 250ml sugar
  • 250ml sunflower oil ( I would suggest that you don't use olive oil as it has a strong flavour)
  • 3 eggs
  • pinch of salt
  • 375ml flour
  • 15ml ground cinnamon
  • 10ml baking powder
  • 5ml bicarbonate of soda (also called baking soda)
  • 250ml (2 big or 3 smallish) ripe bananas, mashed with a fork
  • 250ml roughly grated carrots
  • 125ml finely chopped nuts (optional, but it does make the texture more interesting)


  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Cream together (that means beat together) the sugar, oil, eggs and salt until the sugar is dissolved.
  3. Sift together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda; and add to egg mixture.
  4. Stir in the banana, grated carrots and nuts.  Stir until well mixed.
  5. Dump the whole lot into a greased loaf tin and pop it in the oven for +/- an hour, or until a skewer comes out clean.
  • This is a fruit loaf, so the top crust will crack - it's supposed to look like that!
  • Because our ovens in Taiwan can be very temperamental, take care not to burn the top of the cake while the inside is still raw.  When the top of your cake has reached the desired level of brownness, simply cover it with a sheet of foil to keep it from burning.
I usually slice and serve this cake just as it is because the oil makes it beautifully moist.  However, carrot cake is traditionally frosted with a cream cheese frosting and sprinkled with some more chopped nuts.  Recipe for cream cheese frosting to follow.


  1. Dear Chef Wynand

    I had made a carrot cake myself after your tutoring, just make some modifucation.
    I reduce the sugar amount to 150ml and add 50ml honey, just like the flavor of honey.
    The nuds actually give the cake more rich texture.
    I think next time I will reduce some oil, maybe just 200ml.

  2. Thanks for the compliment Shanglin, but I am really not a chef - just the kitchen boy!

    You can most certainly reduce the sugar and add honey. I think many South Africans love sweet things, so Taiwanese might find it too sweet. I know this is certainly true of one of our favourite desserts - KOEKSISTERS!

    Thank you for visiting my blog!

  3. They were great and addicting. I tried both with(for sweet tooth) and without(put double amount of grated carrots ) bananas, they both turned out satisfying. Served them on our Christmas party in our restaurant and guess what? Stop wasting time guessing!! Get out of your chair and make one right now to find out. Don't even think about sharing mine!

  4. Hi Debbie! It is GREAT to hear that you made these for your customers and that they liked it. Thank you for the feedback! :)


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