You may remember a few weeks ago, I set myself a “4-Bake Challenge” to set out to teach myself to learn how to bake! I promised I would learn to confidently make one type of bread, cake, pastry and souffle… although the souffle is still awful and I haven’t yet tried the pastry, the bread and cake are really rather successful!

I baked Jewish Challah bread a couple of weeks ago and it was fabulous! (See recipe here: http://www.foodepedia.co.uk/sabrina-ghayour/2009/dec/chollah_bread.htm) A real hit with my panel of trusty tasters and I also made a couple of cakes too! The first was a XXX-Rated dark chocolate oooey-gooey ‘Moelleux’ cake with an oozy middle. The second was my banana, nut and chocolate loaf cake… and it was a triumph. People are still cooing over it at work and thats just the kind of feedback you need to encourage you to experiment with the recipe and keep on baking! Its wonderfully moist, not at all sickly or overly sweet and the perfect cake with a nice cup of tea.
So I just wanted to share the recipe with you for the cake that got demolished so quickly, that only one very lonely-looking final slice remained (see picture above) You dont have to add nuts or chocolate, you can put in whatever you like. Use the banana as a base and mix in dried fruits, different nuts, grated orange/lemon peel, all bran cereal… anything you like! That’s really the point of it… I had left over ripe bananas, some walnuts, flaked almonds and dark chocolate chunks, so I threw them all to the mix and it was a fantastic combination!
BANANA, NUT & CHOCOLATE CHUNK LOAF CAKE
1 x 2lb loaf cake tin (lined with oven paper)
2 large very ripe bananas
3 medium eggs
180g self-raising flour
180g caster sugar
180g of soft (almost melted) butter
1 teaspoon of good quality vanilla essence
Walnuts (about a handful) chopped roughly
Flaked almonds (a small handful)
60g of dark chocolate chunks/chips or chopped chocolate
Preheat your oven to 160 degrees (remember that fan assisted is always 10 degrees hotter, so reduce to 150).
In a mixing bowl, mash your bananas until virtually a paste. Add your eggs and beat well with the banana. Add your sugar, butter, flour, vanilla essence, nuts and chocolate and incorporate all ingredients well until the mixture is thoroughly blended and pour into the loaf tin, leaving just a centimetre of room only from the top of the tin and bake for 1 hour. Once done, remove and allow to cool before turning out your cake and thats all there is to it! The cake is moist, nutty and deliciously banana-scented but not overly sweet! Wrap the cake in cling film and it will happily last for a week… Thats if you can resist the temptation to devour it all, of course!!
Temptation is a terrible thing, but this is a winner for Christmas!