Spiced Banana Cake

Spiced Banana Cake 2The Bald One (TBO) and I have just returned from two weeks travelling around Peru. It was a glorious trip, filled with treks in the jungle, hiking the Inca trail and gorging on alpaca and guinea pig (stringy but quite tasty). It’s always interesting when you first travel with a boyfriend (I say first, as lying on a beach does not count as ‘travelling’) as you notice things about each other which you might otherwise have ignored. I’ve realised I’m a insular traveller, meaning I’m quite happy to just chat to the guide and TBO. TBO however, has other ideas. As we were mid way through the 4 day Inca trek, I suddenly heard him yell ‘Kathryn! Hi, how’s the knee?!’ Whereupon said Kathryn and TBO engaged in a full knee related conversation for a good half an hour, whilst I trailed behind wondering who the hell Kathryn was and how he knew about her cranky knees. Similar episodes occurred throughout the trip, with Crystal the overweight American, Laura the lawyer and Lucy from London Essex, not London. TBO knew none of these women (note all women) but had an amazing skill for making new acquaintances, despite ascending a sheer vertical cliff. It was an Oscar worthly performance.  I did get my comeuppance when, as we were boarding the bus from Machu Picchu, Lucy from London Essex, not London, also got on. TBO did his usual of shouting ‘LUCY,’ but she had her head down and I heard her mutter ‘oh no, not him again…’

If, like The Bald One, you like sharing, this delicious banana cake is a winner. Or, if you’re like me, hog it for yourself. 

Taken from ‘Fast Days and Feast Days’ by Elly Pear:Spiced Banana, stage one

Ingredients:

  • 150g Butter
  • 270g Light brown sugar
  • 2 Eggs
  • 200g Peeled, very ripe banana (I had some in freezer which work well)
  • 280g Plain flour, plus extra for dusting the tin
  • 1tsp Baking powder
  • 1tsp Bicarbonate soda
  • 1tsp Cinnamon
  • 1tsp Ginger
  • 60g Eating apple chopped into cubes (I didn’t have an apple, but worked well without)

First topping:

  • 15g Demerara sugarBanana cake baked
  • 15g Pumpkin seeds

Second topping:

  • 1 whole ripe banana
  • 15g Demerara sugar

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 170 C/325 F/Gas mark 3
  2. Melt the butter in a small saucepan.
  3. Whisk the sugar and eggs together until totally combined, then switch to a rubber spatula and blend in the mashed banana. Add the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, spices and apple and mix well.
  4. Tip nearly all of the melted butter into the bowl, then rest the buttery pan over a 23 x 13 cm loaf tin, so that the excess butter can drip in. As you can see I didn’t use a loaf tin (mine has gone walkabouts), but used a 20cm round tin which worked just as well. I’d advise lining with greaseproof on the bottom as well as greasing the sides with the leftover butter and dusting with flour. 
  5. Mix the butter into the cake mixture until totally incorporated. 
  6. Pour into the tin, smooth out and top with the Demerara sugar and pumpkin seeds.  Bake for 30 minutes.
  7. Prepare the banana by peeling and cutting lengthways. Remove the cake from the oven and, working quickly, place the banana on top in a yin- yang fashion. Sprinkle the remaining Demerara sugar and bake for a further 30 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
  8. Leave to cool, before turning out on to a wire rack and indulging solo/with friends.

Directions for use: Eat warm from the oven with a dollop of vanilla infused double cream. 

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