SERVES 8

unsalted butter 1?4 cup

brown sugar, packed 1?2 cup

vanilla pods, split and scraped 2

lime, zest of 1

lime juice 2 Tbsp

dark rum (optional) 1 Tbsp

bananas, large, ripe with green tips 4

plain or gluten-free flour 1?3 cup

polenta, medium grind 1 cup

baking powder* 1?4 tsp

sea salt 1?4 tsp

eggs, large, separated 3

superfine sugar 1?3 cup 75g

pure vanilla extract 1?2 tsp

skim or soy milk 1?4flcup +2Tbsp

corn or vegetable oil 1?4flcup

  • Most baking powders are gluten free, but check label to be sure.

Line a 9-inch/ 20-cm cake or pie pan with foil and butter the foil. Set aside. Preheat oven to 350°F/180°C.

Melt butter in a frying pan over medium-low heat. Add brown sugar and stir with a heat-resistant or wooden spatula until the mixture begins to bubble. Add vanilla seeds and pods stirring well for 1 minute. Add lime zest, juice and rum-the mixture will sizzle -and stir until blended. Remove from heat and pour sugar glaze into prepared cake pan with vanilla pods.

Arrange pods in center of cake pan. Peel, then slice bananas lengthwise into 1?4-in/1?2-cm thick slices. Carefully place in a single layer and drizzle with any remaining glaze. Set aside.

Whisk the flour, polenta, baking powder and salt in a small bowl.

In a large grease-free bowl, and using a hand-mixer or stand-mixer, whisk the egg whites until frothy. Slowly stream in half the sugar and whip the whites to glossy, soft peaks, tripled in volume.

In a large bowl, whisk the yolks with remaining sugar until well blended. Add the vanilla, milk and oil, whisking well.

Fold dry ingredients into yolks, using a spatula to combine. Fold in the whites in 3 stages until just blended. Gently pour or spoon batter on top of banana mixture, smoothing the top. Place in center of oven and bake for 23-25 minutes until cake is set and springs back when touched in centre.

Cool for 10 minutes then invert onto a serving plate, carefully peeling foil off the top. Serve warmed or at room temperature with a spoonful of Greek yogurt or ice cream.

Recipes courtesy of Chef Natasha MacAller

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