So, most weeks I’ll buy some bananas at the supermarket, as I know he’ll take a banana to work each day, and it’s a way of getting towards that 5-a-day of fruit and veg. I hadn’t really thought through the whole Christmas/New Year thing and how it might interrupt his banana consumption. So, this morning I decided to do something with the three blackening bananas left on the side in the kitchen.
Banana loaf was the obvious choice. Or I have a good foolproof and adaptable banana muffin recipe. But if I’m going to make muffins in the next 24 hours, it’s going to be vodka-soaked-cranberry muffins, using the cranberries from my vanilla cranberry vodka which are currently in the freezer waiting to be enjoyed.
So, I turned to the internet for inspiration and good old Nigel Slater came up trumps again. He calls it black banana cake. And I’m not sure if that is a reference to the state the bananas are in before you start, or the fact there is plenty chocolate in there, so the cake will be darker than you might expect for a banana cake. I figure it’s probably the former. As ever, I vaguely modified the recipe as I went along, but you can find his original here.
Banana choc nut cake
175g/6oz unsalted butter, softened in the microwave as it’s so cold in the kitchen. In fact it was softened so much that some of it was melted, and I had to beat it back together again
175g/6oz sugar (half golden caster, half light soft brown muscovado type sugar)
75g/2 ½ oz mixed nuts (Nigel wanted hazelnuts but I had mixed in the cupboard so that’s what I used)
2 free range eggs
175g/6oz SR flour
2 very ripe bananas (Nigel asks for about 250g/9oz in weight, but all I know is I used two ENORMOUS bananas)
About ½ tsp vanilla essence (Nigel only wanted a single drop)
175g/6oz good quality dark chocolate chopped into rough chunks
A little Demerara sugar
Preheat oven to 170C/325F/GM3
Line the base and sides of a 20cm x 12cm / 8in x 5in loaf tin. I used a 1lb loaf tin – cake is still in the oven so I’ll find out soon if it was big enough (it was!)
- Toast the nuts. Rub them in a tea towel to remove their skins if you can be bothered (I didn’t) and then grind them in a food processor, or with a zizzer or whatever implement you have to grind nuts. You’re looking for a pretty fine consistency – a bit like sand. I used a hand held zizzer, you know the kind of thing you’d usually use to blend soups.
- Beat the butter with the sugar till light and fluffy
- Add the eggs one by one and beat into the butter and sugar mixture.
- Mix in the nuts and SR flour.
- Peel the bananas and chop them into small pieces into the bowl with the sugar/butter/egg mixture.
- Gently fold in the vanilla, bananas and chocolate nuggets into the cake mixture. Don’t overmix.
- Shlop into the prepared loaf tin. Dust with a little Demerara sugar (I forgot to do this, and doubt it will matter too much).
- Bake for 1hr – 1hr 10 mins, covering the top with foil if the top looks like it’s about to burn.
Oh my world, it’s amazing! Lovely light texture, strong zing of chocolate when you get a nugget of it. And gentle banana flavour running through it all. Scrum. Eat with a cup of Earl Grey tea, in a china teacup of course.
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