Food From Friends Banana, Berry and Almond Pancake Cake

Meet Nicola, aka Noodles, she has a diverse background in gastronomy and whips up mouthwatering recipes at Te Arai Lodge and develops recipes for GoodFor Wholefoods Refillery and Green Kitchen Stories

And now she is generously sharing her highly sought-after recipe for a spectacular layered pancake cake.

I’m Nicola! (or Nico / Noodles as my friends and family know me). I’m a kiwi with an Italian heart and a big passion for nourishing organic food, health and wellness, sustainability, travel, design and Romance languages.

I grew up in Taranaki but soon moved to Milan for high school and then onto Florence, Sorrento, Perugia and Wellington for university where I studied gastronomy, fashion design, Italian, French and Spanish. I completed my master’s thesis on the history of food at the University of Bologna (the food capital of Italy) before moving to Paris to teach at a culinary institute.

I’ve been working in the food industry, as a recipe developer and a travel food series presenter ever since, predominantly in Paris, Milan, Madrid, London, Stockholm, Copenhagen, Wellington and Auckland. My passion for health and wellness also led me to work in the kitchens and permaculture gardens at the wellness retreats Gwinganna (Australia), Aro Hā (NZ) and Stedsans in the Woods (Sweden).

I now split my weeks between the city and countryside and years between NZ and Europe. In NZ I head up the garden-to-table kitchen at our boutique sustainable luxury lodge in Te Arai (Te Arai Lodge) and create recipes for GoodFor Wholefoods Refillery in Auckland, as well as working remotely with Green Kitchen Stories in Scandinavia on recipe books. During the winter I tend to head back to Europe for work, study and to simply get inspired by the places and food I discover, different cultures I experience and new people I meet.

When I’m not in the kitchen, you’ll find me out the back in the ocean swimming year-round, hiking in nature, on the tennis court, ballroom and Latin American dancing, on my yoga mat at Studio Red or in a reformer Pilates class at Sala, at Italian or French club, catching up with friends at my favourite eateries or simply sipping on a hazelnut flat white at my local haunt Orphan’s Kitchen.


Banana, Berry & Almond Pancake Cake


Dairy-free, gluten-free, vegetarian, refined-sugar free.

Serves 8-12

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

There’s something so satisfying about cutting that first piece of cake to reveal its exquisite cross section, especially when that cross section happens to be comprised of 15 wafer-thin crêpes delicately layered together with silky smooth almond butter, glistening raspberry jam, cinnamon banana and creamy coconut yoghurt, not to mention the berries, toasted almonds, and dark chocolate shards scattered on top!

This cake may look like it requires more prowess than perhaps you possess, but don’t be fooled by its spectacular aesthetic, it’s actually quite straightforward to make, all it requires is that you dedicate a little of your time to bond with your frying pan. You’ll find that mindfully flipping crêpes is actually rather therapeutic and downright satisfying, as is seeing your pancake stack slowly grow taller before sandwiching the most delectable toppings in between each layer to create what is nothing short of a masterpiece.


Ingredients:

Crêpes

  • 5 free-range eggs
  • 2 cups oat milk (or milk of choice)
  • 1 cup buckwheat flour, sifted (or flour of choice)
  • ½ tsp flaky sea salt
  • Extra virgin coconut oil (for frying)

To Assemble

  • ½ cup almond butter
  • ½ cup raspberry jam
  • 8 local lady finger bananas (or 4 regular ones), peeled and sliced 
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon 
  • 1 cup plain coconut yoghurt 
  • Zest of 1 lemon
  • 1 big handful of fresh berries (strawberries (some cut in half), raspberries, blueberries) or seasonal fruit of your choice
  • ¼ cup almonds, pistachios, or hazelnuts, toasted & roughly chopped
  • 2 Tbsp. dark chocolate shards (optional)
  • Freeze-dried raspberries, crushed 
  • Pink nasturtium leaf petals

Method
  1. To make the crêpe batter, crack the eggs into a food processor or blender, add the rest of the ingredients and blend until smooth.

  2. Set aside in the fridge for 15-30 minutes whilst you organise the ingredients for the filling and topping.

  3. To make the crêpes, heat some coconut oil in a 20cm diameter non-stick frying pan on a high heat.

  4. Once hot, pour in a ¼ cup of the crêpe batter and fry for 1-2 minutes or until little bubbles appear on the surface and the base is golden.

  5. Run a spatula around the edges of the crêpe to loosen it from the pan. With a confident flick of the wrist (or the spatula), flip over and fry for another minute or until golden on the other side.

  6. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool on a wire rack.

  7. Repeat the same process with the rest of the batter. The batter should yield 15 crêpes.

  8. To assemble the cake, place one crêpe on your cake stand / serving dish and spread with a ¼ of the almond butter. Cover with the second crêpe and cover with a ¼ of the raspberry jam. Cover with the next crêpe and top with a ¼ of the sliced bananas followed by a sprinkling of cinnamon. Cover with another crêpe and spread with a ¼ of the coconut yoghurt & a sprinkling of the lemon zest.

  9. Repeat the same process until you get to the last crêpe. Spread over the rest of the coconut yoghurt followed by the berries. Scatter over the almonds, chocolate shards (if using), some freeze-dried raspberries and the rest of the lemon zest and decorate with some nasturtium petals.

Notes:
  • To speed up the process, have two pans on the go when frying the crêpes and make them in advance. Simply store the crêpes in an airtight containers in the fridge for up to a few days until you’re ready to assemble the pancake cake. Once assembled, the pancake cake will keep in the fridge for one day.

  • If you want to make the cake even more impressive and that cross-section twice as irresistible, just double the recipe & you really will have the pancake equivalent of a mille feuille.

  • Be creative and play around with the layers using different nut/seed butters, jams/chocolate spreads, cream instead of coconut yoghurt and whatever fruit is in season. 

Want more yummy recipes from Nikki? You can find her @the_traveling_noodles on Instagram!

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