Banana bread is one of the easiest cakes to make and is a great way of using up bananas that could otherwise be facing the bin.
All you need to whip up this family favourite is:
150g self raising flour
165g caster sugar (white or golden)
3 very ripe bananas
Sift the flour into a mixing bowl, add in the sugar and the egg.
In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a fork until smooth and add that to the other ingredients.
Simply mix with a wooden spoon until the batter is combined and pour into a lined loaf tin. I always line my loaf tins, as it saves on the washing up!
Pop into a pre-heated oven at 180C for around an hour. Check with a skewer and it if comes out clean, the cake is cooked.
Allow to cool for a couple of minutes, before turning out on to a wire rack to cook complete and then enjoy with a cuppa.
As an alternative, you could stir through a handful of chopped nuts or chocolate chips or even a couple of spoonfuls’ of honey or peanut butter to jazz up the cake.
I’ve had my first go at icing a cake that wasn’t a standard round Christmas cake. For my birthday this year, I was given a Christmas tree cake tin and we thought we’d have a chocolate cake for our Christmas pudding this year.
As a trial run, I made a dummy run, which was going to be delivered to my in-laws, only for the snow to hit, so we had to eat it ourselves!
I won’t talk you through the chocolate cake, but I used Mary Berry’s recipe and it turned out really nice – well, she is the Queen of Cakes to me!
For this cake, I made two sponge cakes and after a slight wrestling match with the tin, I managed to get them out. Note to self, cooking spray isn’t enough, always line!
The two chocolate trees were filled with freshly whipped cream and a whole jar of strawberry jam. Then, I used ready-rolled (short cut) marzipan to top the cake, before rolling out green icing (I used two packets, but three would be better) and for the trunk, I used a pack of chocolate icing, which I rolled out.
To top the cake off, I used edible glitter spray in gold and silver, some little red sugar balls, silver sugar balls and some edible snowflakes. To get them to stick, I used a little bit of gin – vodka works well too.
I didn’t think I did too bad for my first attempt and was gutted I couldn’t get it to its intended recipients. I’ll now be having another go ready for Christmas next week.
It’s that time of year to start your Christmas cooking. This week, I have baked my Christmas cake. I used Nigella Lawson’s recipe from her Christmas book.
First up, was to soak the fruit in brandy – all 400ml of it! After bringing it to the boil, it was left to steep overnight and it smelt absolutely heavenly.
The next day, I prepared the rest of the mixture and was just about to start adding in the fruit and dry ingredients to the sugar, butter and eggs, when I found out I didn’t have enough nuts. Mad dash to the shop to get the missing ingredient and it was on with the mixing. Mixing together the finished batter is pretty tough going, but stick with it and think of the good it’s doing for your bingo wings!
Lining the tin is always fun, but after some adjustments, it was ready and full of cake mix, which was then popped in the oven on 150C.
Nigella said it would take between 2.75-3.25hours, but I checked mine after 2.5hrs and it was done.
After getting it out of the oven, I brushed the top with more brandy and wrapped in tin foil twice. It cracked!! But this was because I didn’t allow it to cool enough, so make sure you really allow yours to cool before taking it out of the tin. However, checking the cake again today and it has survived, hurrah!
For the next five weeks now, I shall feed the cake brandy every day, through until Christmas Eve, when I shall ice it, ready for the big day.
Like many of us at the moment I’m sure, I am wading my way through an absolute mountain of apples. We were very lucky so stumble across some wild growing apples, so we stocked up – my other half eats them like they’re going out of fashion!
So, on the menu, just had to be an apple cake.
I had a browse online and came across this recipe for Dorset Apple Traybake. It looked simple enough, so I gave it a go.
It’s very easy, all of the ingredients go into a bowl at once to make sponge cake – a very rich one at that I might add. And then you layer the sponge mix and apples into a baking tin before popping in the oven – simple!
I have to say the finished cake is rather nice and I can highly recommend you give it a try. I think next time I give it a go, I may add some spices or chocolate chips, maybe even some peanut butter.