Pear Banana Citrus Cake

Last week, I had been planning to bake Poppy‘s delicious chai pear cake a second time but didn’t get around to it. Finally, my mother rescued the pears and went ahead and baked me her lovely version of a pear citrus cake. So, today’s recipe is part of the fruit cake series.

Pear cakePear Banana Citrus Cake

Side view of pear cakeTime taken: 1 ½ hours

Serves 5

Slice of pear cakeIngredients:

  • Pear – 1
  • Banana – 1
  • Orange – 1
  • Lime – 1 + 1 tsp (for icing)
  • Sugar – ¼ cup
  • Oats – ¼ cup
  • All-purpose flour – 1 cup
  • Margarine – ¼ cup + ½ tbsp (for icing)
  • Cloves – 2-3
  • Banana essence – few drops
  • Vanilla essence – few drops
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking soda – ½ tsp
  • Icing sugar – 2 or 3 tbsp (for icing)


  1. Chop up the pear and banana. Blend the pear and banana together with the cloves.
  2. Cream the sugar and margarine in a bowl. Whisk in the vanilla essence, banana essence, juice of one orange and lime and the blended pear and banana. Mix well.
  3. Add ¼ cup of water to the bowl and stir.
  4. Sift together the flour, baking powder and baking soda.
  5. Alternatively add the oats and flour mix to the bowl of wet ingredients, mixing it well so that there are no lumps.
  6. Transfer the cake batter to the baking tray and bake at 170⁰C/ 338⁰F the cake for about 45 mins to 1 hour.
  7. While the cake cools, make a simple icing by beating together ½ tbsp margarine with 2-3 tbsp icing sugar and 1 tsp lime juice. Spread the lime icing evenly over the cake.
  8. Slice and serve the pear banana citrus cake with a cup of coffee after a meal.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Triple layer veggie and fruit cake

Today, I will share one of my mother’s latest cake experiments. She got very much caught in her fruit cake series that she wanted to bake this triple layer cake. I call it the cake extravaganza and it very much reminded me of Tian-Tian’s birthday cake with the many ingredients put into it and the time taken. It did taste good, though personally I would have preferred each of the three layers as a separate cake.

Triple layer cake

Triple layer veggie and fruit cake

Time taken: 1 ¾ hours

Serves 15 to 20

Slice of triple layer cakeIngredients:

  • Layer 1 (bottom layer): Beetroot – ½ cup, steamed
  • Layer 2 (middle layer): Apple – ½ and Guava – ½ , Mint leaves – 3 or 4
  • Layer 3 (top layer): Carrot – 1 large, steamed
  • All-purpose flour – 1 ½ cups ( ½ cup for each of the layers)
  • Sugar – ¾ cup ( ¼ cup for each of the layers)
  • Oats – ¾ cup ( ¼ cup for each of the layers)
  • Vegetable oil margarine – ¾ cup ( ¼ cup for each of the layers) + 1 tbsp (for icing)
  • Banana – 3 tbsp, mashed (1 tbsp for each of the layers)
  • Water – ¾ cup ( ¼ cup for each of the layers)
  • Baking soda – ¾ tsp ( ¼ tsp for each of the layers)
  • Baking powder –  1 ½ tsp ( ½ tsp for each of the layers)
  • Vanilla essence – 3 tsp (1 tsp for each of the layers)
  • Lime juice – 5 tbsp + 1 tsp (for icing)
  • Green food colour – 1 tsp (for second layer)
  • Orange food colour – 1 tsp (for third layer)
  • Icing sugar – 4 tbsp (for icing)


  1. Steam the beetroot and carrot for about 10 mins.
  2. Separately blend the steamed beetroot and carrot in a processor.
  3. Next, finely chop up the apple and guava. Grind a few mint leaves.
  4. Cream ¼ cup margarine and ¼ cup sugar each in three mixing bowls.
  5. To the first bowl, add the pureed beetroot to the mix and to the third bowl, add the pureed carrot to the mix. To the second bowl, add the finely chopped apple and guava together with the ground mint leaves.
  6. Add ¼ cup of oats and 1 tbsp of mashed banana to each of the three bowls and mix well.
  7. Stir in the lime juice (2 tbsp each for the first and third bowl and 1 tbsp for the second bowl) and 1 tsp vanilla essence each, together with ¼ cup of water, to each of the three bowls and beat the respective mixture well.
  8. Add a tsp of green food colour to the second bowl (apple and guava mix) and a tsp of orange food colour to the third bowl (carrot mix)
  9. Divide the flour into three ½ cup flour piles. Sift each with ¼ tsp baking soda and ½ tsp baking powder. Add a sifted ½ cup flour mix to the mixture in each of the three bowls.
  10. Whisk the cake batter until smooth.
  11. Transfer the beetroot cake batter to the baking tray and spread the batter evenly.
  12. Then, transfer the apple, guava and mint cake batter to the baking tray and spread the batter evenly over the beetroot mix to form the middle layer.
  13. Transfer the carrot cake batter on top of the apple batter and spread it evenly.
  14. Bake the cake at 170⁰C/ 338⁰F and bake for 45 mins – 1 hour.
  15. Whisk together 4 tbsp icing sugar, 1 tbsp vegetable margarine and 1 tsp lime to make a light icing and spread it thinly over the cake, after it has cooled.
  16. Slice the cake into 15 or 20 pieces and serve with a cup of plain or fruit tea.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Banana bun

This is a recipe of my mother. I remember the first time my mother ventured into using bananas in her baking. It was in mid 80s Jakarta, where every embassy had been invited to put up a stall, at a banana food festival and all food had to be made of banana. Besides organizing the Sri Lankan stall, my mother experimented and baked her first banana cake then. Ever since, she has tried using banana in different baked products.

This banana bun is great as both a tea-time snack and as breakfast food.

Banana bun

Time taken: 2 hours

Makes 9 buns

Banana bunIngredients:

  • Multi-purpose flour – 1 ½ cups
  • Yeast – 1 tbsp
  • Salt – 1 tbsp
  • Vegetable margarine – ¼ cup
  • Banana – ½ cup, mashed
  • Raisins – 1 tbsp
  • Cinnamon – ½ tsp, crushed
  • Vanilla essence – ½ tsp


  1. In a mixing bowl, add a pinch of salt to the flour.
  2. Prepare a yeast solution by adding ¼ cup of lukewarm water to a tbsp yeast and a tbsp salt. Let the solution rest for 2 – 3 mins before adding to the flour in the mixing bowl.
  3. Add the vegetable margarine and mashed banana to the mixing bowl as well and make the dough for the bun.
  4. Sprinkle the raisins, crushed cinnamon and vanilla essence and knead the dough. Divide the dough into 9 balls and let the dough rest for around 30 – 40 mins.
  5. Transfer to baking tray and bake at 170⁰C/338⁰F for 25 mins first on the lower shelf and for another 15 mins on the top shelf so that it is sufficiently browned.
  6. Serve warm, either plain or with a dab of margarine or sprinkled with sugar.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Banana and Apple Cake

Today’s recipe is that of another from my mother’s fruit cake series – banana and apple cake.

DSC00728Banana and Apple cake

Time taken: 1 hour

Serves 6 to 8

Banana and Apple cakeIngredients:

  • Apple – 1
  • Banana – 1
  • Vegetable margarine – ¾ cup + 1 or 2 tbsp (for icing, optional)
  • Sugar – ½ cup
  • Cinnamon powder – 1 tsp
  • Semolina – ½ cup
  • All-purpose flour – 1 cup
  • Baking powder – 1 tsp
  • Baking soda – ¾ tsp
  • Green food colouring – few drops
  • Vanilla essence – ½ tsp
  • Icing sugar – 4 or 5 tbsp, optional
  • Lime juice – 1 or 2 tsp, optional


  1. Chop up the apple. Cook the chopped apple for about 10 mins, in a saucepan over low heat, adding some cinnamon powder. Stir regularly.
  2. Transfer the cooked apple pieces from the saucepan to a blender. Add the chopped banana. Coarsely blend. Keep aside.
  3. Add the margarine and sugar to the saucepan containing some of the apple sauce after the apple pieces had been transferred to the blender. Add up to ½ cup of water. Heat the contents for a few mins.
  4. After cooling, transfer the melted margarine and sugar to a mixing bowl. Stir in the blended fruits. Add the green food colouring and vanilla essence.
  5. Sift the flour, semolina, baking powder and baking soda together. Gradually add in the flour mix to the mixing bowl until a smooth cake batter is obtained.
  6. Transfer to baking tray and bake for 30 mins at 170⁰C/338⁰F.
  7. If you would like icing on the cake, prepare the icing by mixing the icing sugar with a tbsp of margarine, lime juice and a few drops of green food colouring.
  8. Spread the icing evenly over the cake before slicing and serving.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Passion fruit and banana cake

Last week, when my mother bought some passion fruit, I had mentioned that I had seen a delicious looking orange and passion fruit syrup cake recently on Poppy’s Patisserie. The very next day, my mother had baked a tangy, crunchy passion fruit and banana cake. The crunchiness is from the baked passion fruit seeds inside the cake.

I would like to share my mother’s recipe for this delicious dessert cake today.

Passion fruit and banana cake

Passion fruit and banana cake

Time taken: 1 hour

Passion fruit cake


  • Passion fruit – 4 large or 5 medium fruits + 1 (for topping)
  • Banana – 1 (local varieties: kolikoottu or anamalu)
  • Wheat flour – 1 cup
  • Semolina – ½ cup
  • Oats – 3 tbsp
  • Sugar – ¾ cup + 2 tbsp (for topping)
  • Low fat vegetable margarine – ½ cup
  • Water – ¼ cup
  • Baking powder – 1 ½ tsp
  • Baking soda – ½ tsp
  • Rose essence – a drop


  1. Sift the wheat flour and semolina together with the baking powder and baking soda. Keep aside the dry mix.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the margarine and sugar by hand, using a large spoon.
  3. Mix the passion fruit pulp, including the seeds, and the oats with the water in another bowl to make a wet mix.
  4. Stir in the wet mix into the bowl containing the whisked margarine and sugar and continue to whisk.
  5. Add in the finely chopped banana and the drop of rose essence into the bowl and mix.
  6. Stir in the dry mix into the large bowl of the wet ingredients gradually.
  7. Pour the cake batter into the baking tray.
  8. Pre-heat the oven and bake at 140⁰C/ 284⁰F for 45 mins.
  9. Beat the pulp of 1 passion fruit together with the 2 tbsp of white sugar and pour over the baked cake, while still hot from the oven.
  10. Serve warm for dessert.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.

Banana fritters

There are several varieties of bananas in Sri Lanka. One of the most common and popular banana are the small ones known as Kathali/ Ambul. This is the variety that is best for the two banana recipes that I will share today.

Kathali bananas

I think almost everyone, around the world, has their own recipe for banana fritters as it is a fruit that is easily made into a delectable dish.

Today’s recipes for banana fritters come from my great-grandmother and mother. While my great-grandmother’s banana fritter recipe is the traditional way that they are made in the north, my mother’s banana fritter recipe has been influenced by our time in Jakarta when we were kids. We were all very fond of ‘pisang goreng’ so my mother’s banana fritters are her version of a mix of the two styles.

(a) Vaalapala Paniyaaram (Banana fritters in my family, four generations ago)

Cooking time: 30 mins

Makes about 25

Banana fritters


  • Ripe bananas – 4
  • All purpose flour – 1 ½ cups
  • Baking powder – 1 ½ tsp (my great-grandmother’s original recipe uses a pinch of baking soda but my mother prefers using baking powder instead of soda)
  • Brown sugar – ½ cup, or less
  • Salt, to taste
  • Low fat oil, for deep-frying (can be reused)


  1. Mash the bananas.
  2. In a bowl, mix the flour with sugar, salt and baking powder.
  3. Add the dry ingredients mix to the mashed bananas slowly to form a thick fruity batter.
  4. Heat the oil in a pan.
  5. Form small balls (or oblong shapes) out of the batter and drop them in batches into the heated oil.
  6. Turn the banana balls so that they are browned on all sides.
  7. Remove from pan and put them on a grease absorbing paper to get rid of excess oil.
  8. Serve hot with tea.

 (b) Fried bananas (my mother’s recipe)

Cooking time: 20 mins

Makes 4

Fried bananas


  • Ripe bananas – 4
  • All purpose flour – ½ cup
  • Chickpeas flour – 2 tbsp
  • Vanilla extract – few drops
  • Yellow food colouring – few drops (optional)
  • Salt, to taste
  • Low fat oil, for deep-frying (can be reused)
  • Melted cooking chocolate or chocolate sauce – 4 tsp
  • Brown sugar, a little to sprinkle


  1. Mix both flours and salt in a bowl.
  2. Add water little by little, making a batter of consistency like that of pancake batter.
  3. Add the vanilla extract and optional food colouring and mix well.
  4. Remove the banana skins and dip the fruits into the batter, coating it well.
  5. Deep fry the bananas coated in the batter one by one. Let them cool on a plate on a grease absorbing paper.
  6. Drizzle the melted chocolate over the fried bananas and sprinkle with a little brown sugar.
  7. Serve with tea.

Recipe source: Raji Thillainathan.