Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Banana & Walnut Cake

I'm not normally one for making cakes - or even desserts very often. Needs a special occasion to motivate me - usually guests. When I was a school girl I used to love making biscuits and slices and cakes largely because I could lick the bowl and snaffle great mouthfuls of icing when no one was looking. Unfettered greed indulged. On Sunday afternoons my sister and I would take it in turns to bake our party piece - mine was butterfly cup cakes while Jane usually made rock cakes, then the whole family would gather for afternoon tea and scoff the lot with a big pot of tea. After a blow out Sunday lunch not actually sure how we managed it! In my teenage years I used to bake biscuits and things for school lunches but once school was done so was the home-made baking.

Every now and again I get the urge to do it again. This week, maybe because the lovely boyfriend had been poorly, and because he eats lots of biscuits (that I buy in packets, mostly Duchy of Cornwall because Prince Charles makes them himself with his own fair hands) I decided to make a banana and walnut cake. It's more of a loaf really and I had some walnuts in the cupboard that I'd brought back from France and I bought a big bunch of bananas at Borough Market so it all came together. It makes a seriously good cake that is gorgeously moist.

The recipe comes from googling 'banana cake recipe' - was there life before google? It is from the Waitrose site but is in fact a recipe from Sue Dykes, head baker of the tea rooms at the Royal Horticultural Society gardens at Wisley. Quintessential place for inspirational cake.

Banana & Walnut Cake

"In the café, we serve this with a rich topping," says Sue. "Make your own by beating 75g softened butter and 125g full-fat soft cheese with 200g sifted icing sugar and a dash of vanilla extract."

Makes 1 x 900g loaf

Preparation time: 30 minutes Cooking time: 40-45 minutes

ripe bananas (about 400g)
150g softened butter
150g soft brown sugar
100g walnuts
300g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
2 medium eggs, lightly beaten
100ml vegetable oil

Preheat the oven to 180°C/gas mark 4. Butter a 900g loaf tin and line the bottom and sides with non-stick baking parchment.

Peel and mash the bananas. Put the butter and sugar into a mixing bowl and cream together until light and fluffy. Stir in the bananas and walnuts. Sift together the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Add the flour mix and the beaten egg, each about a third at a time, to the banana mix, beating well between each addition. Finally, stir in the oil.

Pour into the loaf tin and bake for 40-45 minutes until well risen and golden brown and a skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Leave in the tin for 10 minutes then turn out on to a wire rack to cool completely.

Makes a great cake - and a great deal of washing up - so be prepared! Technically speaking this is not exactly their recipe - they use 80g sultanas where I use walnuts but I prefer the texture and flavour of the nuts.


Anonymous said...

thanks- i too love to cook but new to making sweet things. Made this banana
and walnut cake but only used quarter tsp bak soda and no powder and added some yoghurt in the mix- didn't have oil so added a bit of canola marg in the end. came out perfect and then made a lemon vanilla icing on top.

bron said...

Adding yoghurt sounds interesting - would add a deeper richness under the sweetness of the bananas. Hope it was very moist - that seems to be the effect of adding oil at the end.