Thursday, 21 July 2011

Banana Loaf By Request.

Hello there,

I was baking under instruction last week. I got a phone call from a friend, well he wasn’t really calling me, he was just using me as boyfriend’s secretary, but he got me and decided to use the opportunity to make a cake request. You might think such a request is a tad presumptuous but nonono, it is a joy. You see I quite often search for excuses to bake a good cake; a birthday, a party, completion of a PhD (not mine). An event like that means I get to have a whale of a time getting creative in the kitchen, without a hint of ‘You really should get on with those more important things on your ‘to do’ list’ nagging from myself. 

In those circumstances a cake is REQUIRED you see, it is more of a priority than ironing and exercising and those other things that annoyingly call to me when I start out the day. And then, I get to present a friend/party/fun-time with the product of my ‘toil’, and basically it makes me look like a great human being that has selflessly sacrificed time and energy especially for someone else....when really it’s just that I love cake, I love baking cakes and I probably would have been baking whether it was required or not. So a cake request is music to my tinytiny ears.

This friend is doing a lot of travelling up down Scotland at the minute and he told me that one of the things that makes it bearable is the banana bread that he gets from a café on his way up to Aberdeen. He had assumed that as a seasoned baker, banana bread must be pretty much a staple of my repertoire, which isn’t true but may become so from now on. The verdict was that mine was better than the café’s. YESSS. Slightly sweet and just squodgy enough, it isn’t a pudding cake, or a ‘tea and cake’ cake but a lunch box/picnic/breakfast cake, and a great way to use up those blackened bananas that linger at the bottom of the fruit bowl for just a bit too long...With Love and Cake.

Banana Loaf
From Hamlyn All Colour Teatime Favourites...I told you it was good.

A few notes:

·         If you don’t end up munching all of the cake before it goes a bit dry, it might be worth toasting the last few slices and buttering liberally. Add orange juice and tea and you have a rather luxurious breakfast.
·         Another good way of using up old bananas is to slice them into quarters and pop in a bag in the freezer. Then they’re ready to throw straight in the blender for yummy smoothies.
·         I did the rubbing in of the fat part in a food’s just a bit quicker.
·         It’s important to work quickly when the wet and dry ingredients are combined, to ensure a nicely risen loaf.

Makes 1 loaf
You will need

A 23x13cm loaf tin, lined and buttered

1 tsp lemon juice
3 tbsp milk
225g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp cream of tartar
100g soft butter
175g caster sugar
2 ripe bananas, mashed
Zest of 1 lemon
2 eggs, beaten

·         Preheat the oven to 180°c.
·         Stir the lemon juice into the milk and set aside for the minute.
·         Sift the flour, bicarb, and cream of tartar into a bowl and rub in the butter with the tips of your fingers until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
·         Stir in the sugar.
·         Mix the lemon zest into the mashed bananas and then stir in the curdled milk and eggs.
·         Mix the banana mixture into the flour, folding until it is all combined.
·         Pour into the loaf tin and sprinkle over a few spoonfuls of Demerara sugar.
·         Pop into the oven and check after 1 hour. If it still looks a bit wobbly leave it baking for another 10 minutes or so.
·         Cool on a wire rack. Yumyum.

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