Papaya Banana Carrot Muffin (The PBC)
We found papayas at Whole Foods last week and they were huge! The good problem about having too much fruit is thinking about what to do with them. So many possibilities!
Found this recipe and it was a hit! Originally an Island Papaya Cake, I decided to take liberties with it - add banana and carrots. I reckon it's a variation of the carrot cake or the banana cake - the icing and the walnuts gave a me a clue. Haven't made a rich banana cake for a while so this was going to be an adventure. Turned out really great!
I dialled down the sweetness on this recipe for the sugar conscious like me. Paired it with some molasses to give it that brown sugar texture. If you are using brown sugar, go ahead and just use 1 cup and omit the molasses. I love using molasses - it has a savoury carotene sweetness to it which works well with recipes using carrots and nuts.
I had so much batter that I decided to bake a shallow cake and 12 cupcakes/muffins so I could give some away and keep the shallow cake to share as after-dinner desserts.
You can use this recipe to make a single fruit/vege cake, that is, a carrot, banana OR papaya cake. The thing to remember is to make sure you use ripe fruit base as they have the best flavour and sweetness. Close to rotten bananas are in fact the best, according to renowned pastry chef, Christina Tosi of Momofuku Milk Bar. I reckon it works the same for the papaya too as they kinda share the same texture. Not so much for berries and citrusy fruits - they ripen with a sour note which effectively is only good for two things - make medication or wine. LOL.
Note that cup cakes/muffins bake faster. Usually 20 -30 mins. A round cake tin of about 9 inches (which is what I have) will set you back by about 40 - 50 mins. Cake recipes have always said to bake for 35 mins and it has never worked for me. It's probably dependent on the oven. Mine is a decent large GE fan forced oven. As usual, the trick is to set a shorter baking time and test with a toothpick or a temperature probe to check if the cake is baked. It should come out clean. If the batter sticks to the probe or toothpick, bake at additional intervals of 10 mins and checking between bakes to see if cake is done.
I tend to use more butter than the recipe calls for - because I like my cake texture to be moist. Maybe that's why it takes longer to bake! i literally just realised that could be why. If you do want to dial down on butter, you can use vegetable oil which is lighter and cut down the recipe by 1/4 cup. But butter, especially from grass-fed cows, is the way to go.
You will also note that I omitted the use of baking soda. Personally I find baking soda too difficult to work with. It's one of those things that take over the entire flavour of the end product without using too much. So far it's only worked with chocolate cakes. If you use it in any other recipe, I'd recommend only using a pinch to 1/4 teaspoon. Some recipes use 2 teaspoons along with 2 teaspoons of baking soda. In my experience the cake/muffin ends up with a laundry detergent smell and taste. Don't ask me how I know how laundry detergent tastes like, I never did but it does conjure up that nasty smell. Yuck.
The easy way is to use self raising flour. But frequent bakers tend to use all-purpose as they are more versatile.
Papaya Banana Carrot Muffin Recipe
1½ cups butter (340g / 12 oz)
1 cup sugar
¼ cup molasses
4 large eggs
2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
350 g / 12 oz papaya, carrots and bananas
1 cup walnuts, chopped
Preheat oven to 350 ºF / 180 ºC
Grease baking pan with butter or oil / Line muffin tins.
In a mixing bowl, whisk oil, sugar, molasses and eggs, adding one egg at a time.
Add all purpose flour, baking powder, salt. Stir to combine well.
In a seperate mixing bowl, mash papaya, bananas and carrots. (shred carrots seperately before combining) or use a food processor blend papaya, bananas and carrots. If using food processor, blend without making it too smooth to give the cake some chunky texture.
Add mashed/processed fruits and walnuts to first mixing bowl with the rest of the ingredients and stir to combine well. Cake batter is now ready.
Transfer into greased pan or line muffin tins.
Bake 20 to 30 minutes - muffin tins. Bake 40 to 50 mins - cake tin.
Cheese Icing (Optional):
230g / 8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup butter, softened
¾ cups icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
Cool before icing.
In a mixing bowl; cream together cream cheese, butter, sugar and vanilla well.
Spread icing over cooled cake with a piping bag or butter knife.