If Nigella is the Queen B of baking, then Nigel Slater is most definitely my king. Not only are his recipes a dream to follow and delicious to eat, it’s the way he writes them, gently coaxing you to the kitchen full of excitement at what you are about to create. His books are beautiful and tend to live on my bedside table, never quite making it to the book shelf, that’s how often I dip into them for inspiration. This week I was determined to face a fruity foe and turned to Nigel for back up. Bananas have been the bane of my baking life for as long as I can remember, fundamentally it’s a texture thing I think, mushy and stringy don’t really do it for me, and I’ve failed to find one recipe to change my mind – until now. Banana-phobes prepare to be converted, this cake has superpowers of persuasion.
This recipe is taken from Nigel Slater’s wonderful book The Kitchen Diaries II. If you don’t already, follow Nigel on Twitter, @NigelSlater, do so immediately for recipes, beautiful pics and Slater wisdom .
- 250g plain flour
- 2 tsps baking powder
- 125g softened, unsalted butter
- 235g muscovado sugar
- 400g ripe bananas (peeled weight)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 100g dark chocolate
you will need – a non stick loaf tin, approx 24cm x 12cm x 7cm
- First of all, preheat your oven to Gas Mark 4 / 180°C and line your loaf tin with baking parchment or a loaf tin liner. I’m a big fan of these guys, takes all the faff out of cutting the parchment to fit and they look great too. For all the details on where to pick up a pack, take a look at my quadruple chocolate loaf cake post.
- Sift together the flour and the baking powder and then, in a separate bowl, cream together the butter and the sugar until you have a light, fluffy mix that’s the colour of pale coffee. In another bowl, mash the bananas with a fork. You’re not looking for a purée here, leave them lumpy and then stir the vanilla extract through the fruity mash.
- Lightly beat the eggs and then add them gradually to the sugar and butter, adding a tablespoon of flour each time to avoid the mix curdling. I added the eggs in about 3 inclusions, mixing well between each. Chop the chocolate into small pieces and then fold them, and the banana mixture, into the butter, sugar and eggs as well. Finally, gently fold through the flour, scrape the mixture into your lined tin and bake for about 50 mins. Mine took an hour, but definitely start checking from about 45 mins in, when you check the centre with a skewer, it should be moist but free from batter. If you’re worried about the cake getting too much colour on top, simply cover it with foil as it finishes cooking.
- Leave the cake to cool in the tin for 15 mins before turning it out onto a wire rack to finish cooling completely. Serve in thick slices with a smile.