Rosemary and Banana - Baker's review
The 'will it cake' videos have started off very fun and I wanted to give a little more detail about the flavours than we could fit into the video.
If you haven't seen it yet - basically I bake up interesting or unusual flavour combinations and I give them to people to taste and judge if it works in a cake.
The first episode can be found here and features rosemary cupcakes with banana jam.
Why did I pick that?
I was messing around in my kitchen one day. I had a few overripe bananas, even after making banana bread. I love making jam so I wondered, if you treat a banana like any other fruit, can you turn it into jam? Instead of looking it up I decided to just try. Turns out it absolutely does work and it’s delicious. Googling it afterwards revealed banana jam is already very popular, it just seems the UK by large hasn’t got the memo.
But how did this get paired with rosemary? At the time, I had recently bought some new herbs, including rosemary. It was too cold to put them straight out into the garden, so they were still in the kitchen. One thing I can’t resist doing with my potted herbs is giving them a little rub to release the amazing aromas. I did this with the rosemary while the room was filled with the fragrance of banana jam - and it was good!
So I decided to bake the rosemary into the cupcake and pair it with the banana jam.
How did it smell?
It smelled amazing. I’ll admit though, I’m so used to smelling rosemary with savoury foods - that’s what I instinctively expected. Like it’d taste like a focaccia or something.
The banana jam? Smelled amazing. Do I even need to go into detail? It’s exactly as you’d expect in all the good ways.
How did it taste?
The slight caramelisation from the sugar in the cake blended so perfectly with the delicate notes of rosemary. Even though I had baked the rosemary into the batter itself there was never any big hit of rosemary flavour and no bitterness. It was a delightful, elegant and almost floral layer to the cake. The banana jam by contrast was luscious, bright and sweet. The two flavours played off each other beautifully and both paired nicely with the light caramel of the cake itself.
I really loved the little specks of green throughout the cake, it looked so pretty! I’m really annoyed that I didn’t get a photo of it. Honestly, banana and rosemary work really well together. This was an instant favourite. Even the rosemary cupcakes by themselves were delicious and moreish.
I will note though, that I didn’t add any buttercream with these cakes. The banana jam is already wonderfully sweet and I think my standard American buttercream would add too much. That isn’t to say that another type of frosting wouldn’t be great for this. I’m very happy to keep experimenting!
Do I recommend it?
Yes! Whole heartedly! Especially if you’re the type who normally passes on cake because you find them too sweet.
Did you know?
The Latin name for Rosemary is 'rosmarinus' and means 'sea-dew' likely because it is often found on the coast by the sea.