Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Store Cupboard (if you have a cupboard like me) Banana Cake

There's been a selection of nasty old bananas sitting on our windowsill for several days now. They keep looking at me and making me feel guilty for letting them get to this distressed state. I'm a bit of a fusspot when it comes to bananas, I can't bear to eat them when they are anything like ripe. And by 'ripe' I mean if they don't still have a tinge of green about the skin. If they are totally banana-y yellow all over they are too ripe; if they have just a single black spot they are heave-worthy. So when they look like this
I either try to palm them off on DC (usually under the guise of a "delicious" desert when chopped and covered in yoghurt - yes, I know, bad mother) or I give them to the chickens - they have never been known to refuse a banana, no matter it's aesthetics.

But not today, DC and the chooks will have to go hungry (not really, before you call Childline and the RSPB) because today I decided enough was enough and I took the bull by the horns (or the bananas by their disgusting black skins) and made a cake with them. I did a spot of Googling before settling on Nigel Slater's Black Banana Cake (click for the link to the BBC Food website), so-called, I assume, because you use black bananas and not because the cake itself is black.

However, I had to do a bit of tweaking (but not twerking) as I didn't have all of the ingredients in the house and I certainly wasn't going out and buying extra stuff just to use up two manky old bananas. And that's what made me think about blogging this recipe, because the cake turned out to be really yummy even though I didn't follow the recipe to the letter. So if, like me, you've got a couple of nasty old bananas hanging around making you feel bad for not eating them and getting your five-a-day and you've also got a store cupboard that contains half-used bags of 'fancy' sugar (muscovado, demerara) and nuts (hazelnuts, walnuts) that you bought for a recipe and have only used once (or not at all), perhaps you could give it a go too.

The ingredients required versus the ingredients I used (I used the same amounts even when substituting)

175g/6oz unsalted butter, softened :: Stork margarine, taken out of the fridge about 30mins prior
175g/6oz sugar (half light muscovado, half golden caster) :: 1/4 light brown soft sugar, 3/4 light muscovado sugar
75g/2½oz hazelnuts :: walnuts roughly chopped into smallish pieces
2 free-range eggs ::  free range eggs from our lovely chooks who get fed manky bananas
175g/6oz self-raising flour :: self-raising flour (I tend to use supermarkets' value ranges)
2 very ripe bananas (about 250g/9oz total weight) :: 2 disgusting bananas, but I didn't weigh them
drop of vanilla extract :: vanilla flavouring, because I'm not spending that kind of money on the real stuff 
175g/2oz good quality dark or milk chocolate drops :: 100g Tesco Finest Ecuadorian 74% plain choc (because I had a free bar, courtesy of Tesco, sitting in the cupboard) which I chopped roughly into smallish pieces and 75g Dr Oetker milk choc drops
a little demerara sugar :: golden granulated sugar

As far as the method for making the cake goes, I followed the instructions as they were set out. I won't bother re-writing them here because you can easily follow the link to the BBC Food website if you fancy giving it a try.
roughly chopped walnuts
roughly chopped dark chocolate besides milk choc chips
The chocolates I used*
vanilla flavour instead of extract = no need to re-mortgage
cake mix prior to baking
Cake 1 hour and 10 mins later
And about 5 minutes later because I couldn't wait any longer to taste it 
It was YUM!
But what you might want to do differently should you decide to have a go - the cake tasted delicious (especially when it was still warm), but not very banana-y. That was fine for me as I'm actually not a big fan of overly-banana-y banana cake (yes, I know, so why bother), but if you like your banana cake to taste of banana, you might want to make sure that the amount of banana you add is what it says in the recipe. The chocolate taste was quite strong and I think that was for two reasons 1) I didn't use enough banana to balance the flavours 2) I used some very strong plain chocolate. If you're not a fan of plain chocolate (and I'm not, usually), you might prefer to use a higher ratio of milk choc to plain, or at least a slightly less strong plain chocolate.
The cake really is very nice; it might be even nicer if you follow the recipe to the letter but if you want to use up some bits and bobs knocking around in the cupboards you could probably tweak it further and still come up with a very delicious hot beverage accompaniment.

*I just want to mention that I received the Tesco Finest Edcuadorian 74% Dark Chocolate free of charge as part of a campaign being run by the social marketing company BzzAgent; however, they didn't ask me to blog about it, but I thought I would mention it, just to be completely open.


  1. Yummy cake. I can remember selecting some very over ripe bananas for cooking once and being quite cross that I was charged full price, in fact they should have paid me to take them away.

    1. What a cheek to charge you full price!


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