A lovely new friend came for a cup of tea yesterday. It’s a weird story, which I’ll tell you one of these days, but in short, Mr Tails, our Maine Coon cat, has decided he doesn’t really like us any more and has moved in with a neighbour round the corner. He seems to have fallen in love with their cat, and their love knows no bounds. Our neighbour felt terrible that Tails had abandoned us for his new love and was determined to move in with her and Fluffy, and popped in to see us. Since then, while she’s been trying to deter him, we’ve been in touch a bit, and she really is very sweet and funny. I’m hopeful of a fresh new friendship, which is always nice. Anyhoo, I felt bad yesterday, what with all the travel I’ve been doing, that I didn’t have a nice piece of cake to offer with the tea (not like me at all), and noticing the rather sad bananas in the fruit bowl (also abandoned, like my children, while I was away), I thought I’d bake a cake.
As I’ve said before when baking these sorts of leftover cakes – the actual amount of banana (or indeed apple or peach or whatever) doesn’t really seem to matter. If it looks very runny, omit the splash of milk. Keep it to two or three bananas and it always seems to come out fine. This time I added my favourite spice mix, Steenberg’s Pumpkin Pie Mix, which is a lovely warm, sweet combination of spices.
Spiced Banana Loaf
100g salted butter
175g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
Splash of milk
225g self raising flour
1 tsp Pumpkin Spice Mix (or use mixed spice)
1 tsp baking powder
2 or 3 over-ripe bananas
As usual, get all your ingredients ready: mash the bananas, weigh everything out, sift the flour, spice and baking powder together, and preheat the oven to 180/gas 4. I’ve recently discovered these really handy disposable loaf-tin liners (I found them in HomeSense), but if you haven’t got those, make sure you grease and line the loaf tin well.
Cream the butter and sugar until they’re pale and fluffy, then whisk the eggs with a fork and pop in the vanilla and the splash of milk, then you can dribble them into the mixture a little at a time, beating well between dribbles (technical term).
I favour a ‘half and half’ method to incorporate all the runny stuff, which seems to stop it curdling too badly, but feel free to just bung it all in if you’d rather.
So now add about half the dry ingredients, give it a beat, then add the bananas, mix again, then the other half of the flour.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and bake for about 45 – 50 minutes. A skewer or knife tip pushed into the deepest part should come out clean. If it’s not quite there, give it another five minutes. If it starts to look too dark on top, cover with some foil.
When I published this picture on Instagram, a friend mentioned that it’s delicious grilled with butter and she’s spot on – add some fruit and maybe a dollop of yogurt and it’s perfect for breakfast (if it lasts that long!).