Saturday, 24 September 2011

Golden oldie

This makes a delectable slice, full of those lovely moist, sticky bits that you only get with a fruit based cake. But I can't pretend that this is the most revolutionary recipe in the world - a friend told me today that banana cake was her favourite because "it's so comforting, like mum used to make". I think that's the point actually. Eating banana cake is like being a kid again, the food equivalent of being wrapped up in a warm, fluffy towel as your mum dries your hair. Supremely comforting.

The bananas need to be truly ripe for this cake, on the verge of corruption into a fruit fly's dinner - spotted and fragrant. I recommend taking them into work on a Monday morning with every good intention of eating them, then slinking guiltily home to make this cake on a Friday evening. Worked for me.


200g golden caster sugar
50g soft brown sugar
300g ripe banana (about 3 smallish ones), cut into 1cm chunks
2 tsp vanilla extract
150g plus 2 tbsp soft butter
3 medium eggs
175g plain flour
50g rye flour (wholemeal would do)
1 tsp ground cinnamon
¼ of a whole nutmeg, finely grated
a very small pinch of ground cloves
2 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

1) Mix the two sugars together then place 150g into a saucepan with 25ml of cold water, and slowly heat up until the mixture is bubbling and starts to turn a darker colour. Add the bananas, and cook, stirring frequently, until the bananas have broken down and there are no large pieces left. This should take about 5 minutes. Once cooked, stir in the 2 tablespoons of butter and the vanilla, and set aside to cool.

2) Butter a 1lb loaf tin (size approx:25x11x6cm) and line the base with greaseproof paper.

3) Beat the remaining sugar and butter together until they have turned light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Then whisk in the eggs one by one, and stir in the cooled banana mixture. Sieve the flours, spices, baking powder and bicarbonate together, and fold gently but thoroughly into the egg mixture.

4) Spoon into the loaf tin and bake at 350f/180c/gas mark 4 for 50-60 minutes, until a metal skewer can be inserted and comes out clean. You may need to cover the top with tin foil after about 35 minutes to prevent it colouring too much.

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