It’s rare that a banana is allowed to sit for long in my fruit bowl, let alone languish for long enough to go black. Which is, I suppose, where I went ever so slightly wrong with my version of Nigel Slater’s banana muscovado cake, dubbed ‘the best cake in the world’ by my sister-in-law, Rosie. Being mum to a two-year old, Rosie gets cake thrust at her by virtual strangers in most social situations, so I reckon she’d be a bit of an expert. Besides, any excuse to make banana bread, right?
This cake erred towards the bitter because I didn’t have the patience to wait for the bananas to freckle and darken or permeate the kitchen with their ever-so-slightly-binny note. However, heed the words of St Nigel, people: you have to let the fruit go black so it can sweeten. Perhaps if you have a two-year old or willing accomplice, get them to hide a bunch somewhere around the house for a few days. Oh and next time I’d probably use a dark chocolate less intense than 70%. But otherwise, it is tremendous – and just keeps getting sweeter and squidgier as the days go by. Like them bananas, this cake won’t be around for long.
250g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
125g softened butter
235g muscovado sugar
400g peeled ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
100g dark chocolate
Line a non-stick loaf tin with baking paper (we’d run out so I greased mine and the cake came out fine). Preheat the oven to 180C.
Sift the flour and baking powder together. Using an electric mixer (plastic blade on my Magimix) cream the sugar and butter until fluffy and coffee-coloured.
Mash the bananas in a bowl until lumpy. Stir in the vanilla extract. Beat the eggs and add them to the butter and sugar mixture. If it curdles (mine did), just add a bit of flour.
Chop the chocolate into small pieces and fold them with the bananas into the batter. Follow with the flour, gently.
Scrape into the tin and bake for fifty minutes (mine took about an hour). Check to see if its ready with a metal skewer: if its moist but clean then the cake’s ready. If you need to cook it for longer and there is still wet mixture on the skewer, return the cake to the oven and cover with foil for the rest of the cooking.
When its out of the oven, leave the cake in the tin for 15 minutes, then loosen with a palette knife and lift (or turn) it from the tin. Leave to cool a bit longer and then peel off the paper. Serve in thick slices.
Original recipe from The Kitchen Diaries II by Nigel Slater, published by Fourth Estate, 2012.