Nico Verster spent 15 years as a professional chef in some of the most beautiful locations throughout the Middle East and South Africa. He added his own twist to traditional African dishes in order to create his cookbook, Safaris and Spices (JACANA).

“This is an easy recipe and perfect for any beginner,” says Nico. He also suggests breaking up the banana loaf and topping with vanilla ice cream as a delicious last-minute dessert.

(Makes 8–10 slices)


125g soft unsalted butter

20g castor sugar

2 eggs

30ml plain yoghurt

6 ripe bananas, mashed

120g pecan nuts, roughly chopped

1t ground cinnamon

1t ground nutmeg

1t ground cloves

1T fresh ginger, grated

Juice of 1 lemon

250g cake flour

1T baking powder


1. Preheat the oven to 180°C. Grease a 14 x 24cm bread tin.

2. In a large mixing bowl, cream the butter and sugar together and add the eggs one at a time.

3. Stir in the yoghurt, bananas and pecan nuts and mix well with a wooden spoon.

4. Add the cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and ginger and stir in.

5. Sieve the flour and baking powder into the mixture and combine well.

6. Spoon the mixture into the bread tin and bake for approximately 45 minutes. Check if the cake is done by inserting a toothpick or wooden skewer into the centre, it should come out clean.