From Dan Leppard’s Short and Sweet
On Friday I finished my CELTA course. It was an intense four weeks of learning to teach English, I think baking saved my sanity on multiple occasions. It was probably a Wednesday morning, midweek and post bake-off that I decided I needed some new baking material in my life and ordered Short and Sweet online. The book arrived Saturday morning, just in time for me to celebrate appropriately… in the kitchen. I’d been itching to attempt a tart but having stumbled across the ‘banana butterscotch’ cake and with a huge bag of bananas sitting on the side how could I not have a go. I’ve never made caramel before so making the banana caramel was all new to me – a big hit with my housemates though. You don’t need the lemony cream cheese icing, but I love icing and was concerned the cake would be a bit dry. It wasn’t but the icing made it even better.
Start with your banana caramel, it needs to cool down before you add it to the cake.
- 150g caster sugar
- 50 ml water
- 250g bananas
- 1 tbsp. unsalted butter
- 2 tsps. vanilla essence
Heat the sugar and water in a frying pan until it starts to boil
Continue to cook over a high heat – it’ll be a clear syrup at first and then the sugar may start to crust as it bubbles, this is fine.
Let it bubble away until it starts to change colour, it’ll go through varying autumnal shades, you’re looking for a reddish gold but be careful, you’re burning sugar and it’s easily done too much! Err on the side of caution. It’ll cook more after you add the bananas.
Add the butter, vanilla and bananas and turn the heat down to a simmer
Continue to cook until the bananas start to break up.
The caramel will get darker, you can break the bananas completely up but I quite like having banana-y chunks in my cake so I left some.
Spoon onto a plate and leave to cool.
While you’re waiting for the caramel to cool pre-heat your oven to 180C and line a 20cm square baking tin.
- 100g caster sugar
- 175ml sunflower oil
- 3 medium eggs
- 150g plain flour
- 75g wholemeal flour
- 2 tsps. mixed spice
- 2 tsps. baking powder
- ½ tsp. bicarbonate of soda
Beat the sugar, eggs and oil together – the mix didn’t increase in volume the way I thought it would but it does get thicker and paler.
Beat in the bananas and yoghurt
Sift the dry ingredients a couple of times and then fold into the wet mix
Bake for 40 – 50 minutes – until a skewer comes out clean-ish, a few moist crumbs are good but no raw mix.
Lemony Cream Cheese Icing
I used half the quantities given in the book because I find that they usually make too much icing, which I end up eating. I’ve done it for the good of your waistline and mine…
- 100g unsalted butter
- 100g icing sugar
- 200g cream cheese – don’t skimp on the fat or your icing will be runny
- 2-3 tsps of lemon juice
- Zest of 1 lemon
Leaving aside half the cream cheese beat the rest of the ingredients together until smooth.
Add the remaining cream cheese and beat a little at a time until the mix is light and fluffy.
Have the ingredients on the cold side, warm means the icing may split.
Don’t overbeat the icing, just a bit at a time until smooth.
To set the icing chill the cake for an hour or so.