Oh dear. It’s been a while. I have not been the blogger/hostess I should have been. Apologies if this has left you bereft of tasty goodies or unable to defend yourself form early on-set apocalypse. Life has been somewhat less than wonderful recently, pushing blogging way down on the agenda. However, looking on the brighter side of life, I have made five birthday related items in the past two weeks, ranging from a cake in the shape of a bassoon to banana bread.
S.C. was the first person I made friends with way back in freshers’ week of first year, and has remained a loyal friend in the six years since. After all, if someone collapses in laughter when you give them a shower cap for their birthday exactly 24 hours after meeting them, you are going to want to be friends with them. She has the wonderful ability to relate to almost anyone, and to make groups of people really click together. This comes in especially useful for the awesome parties she throws. This year’s birthday party had an especially hilarious theme…when else in life would you find yourself dancing with a man dressed in nothing but a shark, yelling ‘three, three, three!’??!!!
S.C. loves banana flavours in baking, which left me completely torn as to what to make for her birthday, as the best banana recipe that I have is for banana bread, which isn’t exactly the impressive, showy kind of cake that makes people feel special on their birthday. So, I did what any sensible person would do and made her three different birthday cakes…(as suggested by the man in the shark outfit)…a ‘traditional birthday’ cake, raspberry cupcakes, and the banana bread. Funnily enough, the banana bread went down the best. I love it because – as you can see from the photos – it is unreserved and verging on uninteresting, and yet is a brilliant piece of home-baking. It is worth baking just for the smell, which has the capacity to make you feel like you have obtained domestic perfection…which will be confirmed by the taste.
I believe this recipe is originally my Granny’s, as I found it in a hand-written recipe book in my parent’s kitchen a long time ago. I have been making it about once a week ever since.
115g (1/2 cup) butter or margarine/veg spread for a lactose-free version.
200g (1 cup) brown sugar (for a more interesting texture, use 100g golden caster sugar, and 100g Demerara sugar)
2-3 bananas, mashed
140g (1 ¼ cups) plain flour
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
100g raisins/sultanas/nuts (I highly recommend sultanas)
1) Preheat oven to 175oC, 350 oF.
2) Cream together butter and sugar until pale and fluffy.
3) Add eggs and mashed bananas and mix well.
4) Add flour, salt and soda and gently mix until just combined.
5) Stir in the raisins/sultanas/nuts.
6) Pour batter into loaf tin lined with greasproof paper.
7) Bake for 50 minutes until firm to touch and a tester comes out clean.
8) This cake is best once it has cooled, really, please try to resist it until then….or at least leave a slice until it is cooled.