Wednesday, 26 June 2013

Weekend Bakes: Nigel Slater's Black Banana Cake

For a while now I have been meaning to try my hand at making some banana bread. It seems to be everywhere at the minute; just the other morning someone was making it on Lorraine and it made me a bit sad that my breakfast was rather boring. When I was on holiday in Australia the other year I had it for breakfast all the time like it was just a standard thing. I'd get it toasted, smoother it in butter and then just be in a banana, buttery paradise for the duration of breakfast. I think if I started everyday like that it would be pretty sweet; cake that is positively encouraged as breakfast food is fine by me.

We had a bit of a run a couple of weeks ago of getting really bad bananas; they were ripening very quickly and ended up getting wasted. So I decided that was the perfect time to have a go at some banana bread.

Except I didn't.

What I actually ended up making was Nigel Slater's Black Banana Cake made with banana, chocolate chip and hazelnut loaf. (And I didn't even really make that because we didn't have any hazelnuts and I had to use walnuts.) I'm not sure what happened between me looking for banana bread recipes and ending up with a cakey loaf but it happened. The worse thing being I couldn't really get away with eating that for breakfast. Well... maybe not on a daily basis.

But I did end up with a really nice, light loaf full of flavour and texture that was excellent for eating during the day with a cup of tea.

I won't type out the whole recipe here as it can be found here. It varies on a normal sponge by using butter and light brown sugar instead or margarine and caster sugar. I love baking anything that uses brown sugar instead of caster sugar; the smell when it is in the oven is a delicious caramel-type smell that makes your mouth water. I also think that anything that smells like that lends itself to be eaten when warm and melty.

Look at all that chocolate!
Only problem with the recipe was maybe the cooking temperature could have been a touch lower; I was surprised at how quickly I had to cover the loaf because the top was browning very fast but the middle still wasn't anywhere near ready. I think this explains why my loaf came out sunken because I'd had to open the oven door sooner than I would  have liked.

It was also quite crumbly which is fine, I guess, when you are just going to eat it, but it made it really difficult to cut up into nice slices.

Crumbly goodness
There was no frills and bows with this one, just the cake as it was and that was all that was needed. There was enough moisture in the cake from the bananas that it wasn't dry to eat on its own and there was a lovely sweetness from the chocolate and a crunch from the walnuts. My next door neighbour and chief taste tester, Uncle Ian, said he didn't think it needed the chocolate but I think banana and chocolate is such a wonderful combination.

My favourite part of the taste test was when my mum claimed that it was a shame when you use apples in baking that it makes the cake look like it's not cooked... Two thumbs from her then: bananas that taste like apples and a stodgy looking loaf.

This one is definitely worth having a go at, and I won't shout if you eat it for breakfast!

Vicky xx

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