Sunday 16 January 2011

Crunchy banana spice cake

I like to think of this kind of cake as 'everyday cake'. It's the kind of cake that is fabulous to have in the cake tin for when your kids come home from school starving hungry and wanting a sweet treat - but you want to feel that they aren't eating rubbish. Or the kind of cake that will stave off the biscuit cravings - perfect with a cup of tea, but whereas a small slice of cake seems to be sufficient and even a treat, two biscuits just won't hit the spot - it needs to be a small pile (or half the packet....). This way you can feel virtuous - you're getting some of your five a day (OK, there are better ways to do it, but humour me) and it's full of wholegrains too.

The recipe came about because in an attempt to waste less food (an ongoing task made difficult by my inability to resist buying things in supermarkets...) I wanted to use a tub of low fat creme fraiche approaching its 'use-by' date and I had a banana too ripe for me to happily consume it on its own. The wholemeal flour was idle curiosity rather than New-Year-health-kick - I'm interested to see how cakes turn out with wholemeal rather than white flour. I should say that Choclette over at Chocolate Log Blog has definitely made me think about using more interesting flours in my baking - she's got some inspirational ideas on her blog using loads of different flours, and Katie over at Apple and Spice, who has embraced gluten-free baking (having recently been diagnosed with coeliac disease) with a speed and success rate that I'm totally in awe of - spectacular baking apparently doesn't need wheat at all if, like Katie, you know what you're doing and enjoy experimenting!

As I was spooning the cake batter into the tin, I spotted a packet of large grained sugar sitting on the side, calling to me to be used. I think this sugar was possibly the making of this cake. It would have been delicious without, but the layer of sugar on the top added a great contrasting crunch to the moist, soft cake. The picture above shows the brand of sugar I used, and below is a comparison between the size of the grains of sugar that I used, on the left, and demerara sugar (turbinado sugar for US readers), on the right. The grains are much, much bigger than demerara.

So to the recipe...

Crunchy Banana Spice Cake

100g butter, softened
120g light muscovado sugar
120g wholemeal self raising flour
1 medium size ripe banana
1 tsp mixed spice
1 egg
85g low fat creme fraiche (I used Yeo Valley brand which doesn't have any added stabilisers or other ingredients)

Sugar for dredging - see above!

- Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas 4. Grease and base line an 8" round cake tin.
- Cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add the banana, broken into chunks, and beat again until well amalgamated.
- Add the egg, flour, spice and creme fraiche and beat until well combined.
- Spoon into the prepared tin, level the surface and dredge with the grain sugar.
- Bake for 35-40 minutes until the cake is springy and a cake tester comes out clean.
- Allow to cool on a wire rack.

Cut into generous wedges and enjoy!

I would definitely make this again but next time, I'd double the recipe and make two cakes so that it was a layer cake, perhaps with a buttercream filling, to make a more spectacular looking cake. Popular with colleagues, this one went quickly in spite of its relatively frugal appearance. It was light but still moist and I think that the combination of wholemeal flour and muscovado sugar gave it a depth of flavour that I don't usually get. The spice was fairly subtle, as was the banana flavour. No one flavour dominated, and it was a lovely, balanced cake.


Chele said...

Lovely looking cake, reckon Hubby would be happy with this and I needn't even tell him its virtually healthy ;0)

Unknown said...

every day is a day for everyday cake... which makes it just cake I suppose... nowt wrong with that!

Brownieville Girl said...

Miles and miles better than a packet of biscuits!!!!

Katie said...

The cake looks delicious and I love its wholesomeness. Not seen the large chnks of sugar, will have to keep an eye out for them. Bet they add some wonderful crunch.

I love cakes like this, only problem is they are all to easy to keep cutting that extra slice, just to neaten off the edge :)

The Caked Crusader said...

This is the kind of cake I am always drawn to - simple but flavoursome and sooooo satisfying!

Jacqueline Meldrum said...

That sounds lovely and I too have creme fraiche and bananas to use, so I may have a go soon. Too shattered to even think about it tonight though!

chelsea said...

Sounds so delicious!

I love cakes..

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Joanna said...

Wow I haven't come across that variety of Billingtons! It looks a bit like what my gran called posh sugar for coffee, has an almost toffee like taste? Is that it or is it more like large Demerara. I love pearl sugar, which I can only find here in the Swedish shop in London. Big soft crunchy pearls of sugar. Gorgeous looking cake C!

Caroline said...

Chele - I'm sure your hubby wouldn't know it was healthy, just yummy!

Dom - yep, cake everyday is always good.

BG - indeed!

Katie - thankyou! I can't remember where I got the sugar from, it's been a while now. Mmm, neat edges!

CC - you put it perfectly!

Jacqueline - I hope you like it if you make it!

Chelsea - thank you.

Joanna - I haven't seen the kind of sugar you mean, so I can't really give a good answer, but this sugar is an unrefined one, so will taste a bit toffee-ish. It's like very large demerara crystals. I must look out for pearl sugar, never seen that!


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