The flavour combination of sweet dates, creamy ricotta and banana, offset by a lovely hum of tahini, make this cake wonderfully special.






Skill level

Average: 3.6 (56 votes)


  • 3 small bananas (or 2 large)
  • 3 tbsp sesame seeds, toasted
  • 3 tbsp tahini
  • 80 ml (2½ fl oz/⅓ cup) buttermilk (see Note) or nut milk
  • 80 g (2¾ oz/½ cup) chopped pitted dates
  • 125 ml (4 fl oz/½ cup) vegetable oil
  • 2 large eggs, or an extra 80 ml (2½ fl oz/¹⁄³ cup) nut milk
  • 170 g (6 oz/¾ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 260 g (9 oz/1¾ cups) self-raising flour

Ricotta filling

  • 200 g (7 oz) ricotta
  • 1 egg
  • 115 g (4 oz/½ cup) caster (superfine) sugar
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract

Icing and toppings

  • 200 g (7 oz) cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 185 g (6½ oz/1½ cups) icing (confectioners’) sugar
  • 1 tsp natural vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp tahini
  • 2 bananas, each sliced into 3 pieces, diagonally lengthways
  • 20 g (¾ oz) butter
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup (optional)

Cook's notes

Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.


  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F). Line a 22 cm (8¾ inch) round cake tin with baking paper.
  2. Mash the bananas in a large mixing bowl using a fork. Add 2 tablespoons of the sesame seeds, the tahini, buttermilk, dates, vegetable oil and eggs. Whisk the mixture well until combined. Add the sugar, flour, and a pinch of salt and stir well until the dry ingredients are completely incorporated. In a separate bowl, whisk all the ricotta filling ingredients until smooth.
  3. Spoon half the cake batter into the lined cake tin. Use a spoon to create a large, shallow well in the batter, then pour the ricotta mixture into the well. Gently spoon the remaining cake batter over the top, so that it completely covers the ricotta mix.
  4. Bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean. Remove the cake from the tin and allow it to cool completely.
  5. Meanwhile, prepare the icing by beating the cream cheese and icing sugar together until combined - about 1 minute. Add the vanilla and tahini and beat again until thick and smooth. Prepare the banana by heating a large, non-stick frying pan. Add the butter to the pan. Once sizzling hot, add the banana slices. Cook on each side for 1–2 minutes, until brown. Remove from the pan and set aside.
  6. Once the cake is cooled, transfer to a serving plate. Top with the tahini cream cheese icing, spreading the icing to cover the top of the cake. Gently arrange the banana pieces on top in the centre. Sprinkle with the remaining sesame seeds, and drizzle with the maple syrup, if desired.



 You can make buttermilk by mixing 80 ml (2½ fl oz/¹⁄³ cup) cow’s milk with 2 teaspoons lemon juice. Allow the mixture to sit for a minute and thicken slightly.


Recipe and images from The Shared Table by Clare Scrine, Smith Street Books, RRP $39.99