Wednesday, 30 May 2012

Banana Cake Pre-Pageant

Well now this is exciting. Tomorrow we head off from stunning Gosport and turn east for the Thames and the Queen's Diamond Jubilee Pageant. If you haven’t already read about it, I am a Silver Jubilee baby and my 35th Birthday (that was brave) will fall on the day of the pageant on the 3rd of June. And Mariquita will be there, moored up in the ‘Avenue of Sail’. I couldn’t dream of a more exciting way to spend one’s Birthday; I bet the Queen’s with me on that one.

Cake. That’s all I can say about it; lots of cake.

(And possibly some Pimms...)

George and I have just returned from a short trip to our new home in Debenham, Suffolk where we were lucky enough to become more acquainted with some of our new neighbours.  The good people of Debenham will be holding a street party in our beautiful village and if I could split myself in two like a scone in preparation for jam and cream (see, cake on the brain), then I would be there too with bells on. I dreamt for so long of one day owning my own country cottage. Having lived and worked on the high seas for some years now, I am very ready for the life of a land-lubber. (What does that mean do you suppose; ‘land-lubber’? What’s a lubber when it’s at home? ...)

Gosport, early evening

Anyway, the last time I wrote about my craving for life on land, almost a year ago, the accompanying recipe was for barbequed bananas with chocolate. Today I have decided to blog my most favourite recipe for banana cake. I like when things come full circle and link up; blogging Feng Shui.

You see, I’m getting a little excited about baking my ultimate Birthday/Jubilee cake for me and the Queen – Sorry, the Queen and I. How rude. So I had a quick little banana cake experience today despite being pretty busy getting the boat ready for departure and having to stock up with loads of supplies for the trip and our stay in London. We have no idea how easy it will be to food shop once we’re in the Thames, so best to be prepared.

This cake is the easiest but most deliciously moist loaf of nutty banana-ness that it is the only recipe I will ever use when making a banana cake. Why would I look elsewhere when I have the ultimate recipe? It takes about 5 minutes to put together and about 45 minutes to cook – And 2 minutes for a hungry crew of twelve to demolish.

It is a vaguely adapted version of Gary Rhodes Banana cake from his ‘Great British Classics’ Book. I hope he doesn’t mind but I’ve made it a little healthier and a little more – moreish. If I do say so myself.

So for the quickest, best banana cake recipe you will need;

225 g wholemeal self raising flour (Must be wholemeal for the denseness and nuttyness)
100 g softened butter
4 tbsp pure maple syrup or golden syrup
4 beaten eggs
4 mashed ripe to over-ripe bananas
150g roughly chopped walnuts (optional)
A good grating of fresh nutmeg


  •  Pre-heat your oven to 180°C, gas mark 4, 350°F. Grease and line a loaf tin with baking paper.

  • Put all the above ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix with an electric hand whisk till all the ingredients are well incorporated. But not too long, a few lumps are fine. Pour into your prepared loaf tin and put into the oven for about 45-50 minutes. Check on it after 40 minutes depending on how good your oven is. Mine on the boat is rubbish so it needed an hour.

  • When a sharp knife inserted into the middle of it comes out clean, the cake is done. Leave to set for 5 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Best eaten warm smeared with proper butter.

  • Is that it?

Just to let you know, I forgot to put the butter in once and it was great! So it is a very versatile and forgiving recipe. The wholemeal flour really makes this cake and if you’d like to use pecans or hazelnuts instead of walnuts then do it. A lemon cream cheese topping raises the yum factor by about a million but for a relatively wholesome mid-week cake it’s not entirely necessary.

However for a Birthday/Pageant cake you can bung it all on!

Stay tuned for our trip up to the Thames and Mariquita’s experience in the Jubilee Pageant.  I’ll be back shortly.

Thanks for reading,