Happy World Baking Day everyone!
I hope you have all donned your aprons, rolled up your sleeves and are beating sifting folding and whisking to your hearts’ content in the midst of great billowing clouds of icing sugar and chaos. Baking is what Sundays are for and today I baked a banana cake.
The combination of bananas and rum is the taste of holidays in the sun to me. One such holiday, whilst visiting my brother in Bordeaux, he took me to a pirate-themed rum bar called La Cale Sèche, kitted out with head-height rope hammocks to stash your coat, skulls nailed to the wall and the largest collection of flavoured rums I have ever seen – banana, coconut, chocolate, melon, ginger, vanilla…you imagine it, they had it. I’m not normally a big rum drinker but this was like being a child in a sweet shop but where all the sweets are 40% and you’re really thirsty – needless to say, I had more than I care to admit to (i.e. I have absolutely no idea), all chased down by the bar’s own delicious ‘fruit’ punch (which seemed a good idea at the time)…
This banana cake recipe is a far less alcoholic and more child-friendly thing – subtly flavoured with rum, vanilla and cinnamon to give it an exotic Caribbean twist, the bananas and ricotta make it wondrously moist and the hazelnuts add crunch. Fantastic for using up overripe bananas (although they don’t have to be) and sneaking booze into your cooking!
Banana cake with rum and spices
– 150g unsalted butter, softened
– 150g soft light brown sugar
– 3 ripe bananas (about 400g with skin on)
– 3 eggs (free-range please), beaten
– 100g ricotta
– 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
– 3 (generous!) tablespoons dark or spiced rum
– 300g self-raising flour
– 2 teaspoons cinnamon
– 50g hazelnuts, roughly chopped
– pinch salt
Preheat your oven to 200°C and grease and line a 8.5cm x 17.5cm loaf tin with baking paper (you could just butter the tin but do still line the base to avoid sticky situations!).
With the beater attachment of your food mixer (or a wooden spoon), cream the butter and sugar together until a pale coffee colour.
Roughly mash the bananas in a bowl. Tip: Do not mash to a puree – leave a few chunks in for texture. Stir into the creamed mixture, along with the eggs, ricotta, vanilla and rum.
Sift in the flour and cinnamon and add the hazelnuts and salt. Stir until just combined. Tip: Do not over-mix here otherwise you’ll end up with a dense banana brick…
Pour into your lined tin and bake for about an hour, until firm and golden brown. Tip: If the top is getting too tanned but the cake needs a little more time, cover loosely with silver foil.
Leave to cool a little in the tin and then turn out onto a wire rack.
Delicious served warm or cold. Store in an airtight container.
Bonus Banana fact:
Apparently, we share 50% of our DNA with bananas. Who knew?
Source: Recipe and photos by pip & little blue.