Baking Beaten, thanks to New Forest Gill

Gill's banana loaf cake - perfect for snacking during Solstice dawn vigil!

banana bread loaf 600x400Gill Hepburn is a very smart local lady who among many other skills and talents is a first class baker - as her many grateful friends and neighbours will testify. Thanks to her tips for a foolproof sponge cake (including weigh the eggs in their shells and then the other ingredients same weight - get that? smart!) this Editor has cracked not just the eggs but the sponge - in fact, beaten the baking! So we have no hesitation in providing hot off the press in time for Solstice weekend, Gill's banana loaf cake. Although she does start by talking about left over banans which we never have - we'll have to buy extra!

Read on for Gill's recipe but first, if you don't already receive our Weekly What's On e-newsletter sign up here now!

Gill's recipe for banana loaf cake

If you have three or four bananas to spare this is a treat of a lovely moist cake.  

(You can actually freeze bananas and use at a later date!  There are lots of tips online, however the best way is to remove the skin, slice into chunks and pop in a freezer bag or plastic box.  Make sure that when you remove from the freezer you give them enough time to thaw out properly.)

This recipe works well for banana muffins too.  The mix is enough for approximately 18.

You will need:

Loaf tin (2 lb); Lining case or baking parchment; paper muffin cases/ silicon cases; Palette knife; Spoons; Electric hand mixer; Knife; Spoons; Spatula; Measuring jug; Piping bag / make own from greaseproof paper (a triangle is required)

Ingredients:

  • 110g unsalted soft butter (room temp), plus extra for greasing)
  • 140g of caster sugar/ soft brown sugar
  • 285g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarb of soda
  • ½ tsp fine table salt
  • 2 medium sized eggs
  • 4 very ripe and brown bananas – don’t peel until you actually need them (otherwise they will turn brown very quickly)
  • 85 ml buttermilk – see note below for making your own!
  • 1½ tsp lemon juice

Optional:

  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 42g dark/ milk chocolate chips *
  • Or, 42g of sultanas *
  • Squares of chocolate for melting

banana loaf cake mix 600Method:

  • Preheat the oven temp to 160ºC/ 350F/ Gas 4.
  • Before you start, make up the buttermilk, by measuring out 81ml of the milk, and add the lemon juice to it. You need to set aside and wait!
  • Sift the flour, bicarb and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  • In a separate bowl, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
  • Then add the eggs, mashed bananas and vanilla extract (if you wish to) to the butter mixture. Once combined you can add the buttermilk mixture too. The milk should look like its curdling – this is right so don’t panic – just add to the butter mixture.
  • Now fold in the flour mixture until combined well.
  • (At this stage if you wish you could add in some chocolate chips or sultanas for a change.)
  • Pour the mixture into the parchment paper and level off the top, OR spoon into the cupcake cases leaving a little gap to the top - as the photo shows.
  • Transfer to the preheated oven for 45 minutes. Check by inserting a serrated knife into the cracks on the top and if it comes out clean its ready to be taken out. If its covered in cake mixture, it needs to stay in the oven for a while longer.
  • Then remove from the oven and let it cool in the tin for a while. After a few minutes place on a cooling rack. If you want to you can drizzle over some melted chocolate.  I did this by making a paper piping bag from the greaseproof paper and cutting a small hole in the end.  Then just spoon into the makeshift piping bag and drizzle over the cake. 
  • Good luck and happy baking!

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