Now, I’m not a baker by any means. For a start, I can never resist tinkering with a recipe, and baking instructions are supposed to be followed to the letter. Second, my temperament is not suited to anything fiddly or dainty and we’re surrounded on all sides by families with small children who could presumably do without a live demonstration of the fruitier words in the English language. And third, if you make a cake, you then have to eat it – and frankly, my waistline needs no further temptation.
Still, despite all of the above, I adore The Great British Bake Off. Mel and Sue, food porn and Mary Berry all in one show – what’s not to love?
What’s more, however much I fear the dark art of baking, I love any recipe that provides a neat solution to foodstuffs that are slightly past their best. So when one of the supper club boys bought a chunk of his mum’s banana cake round to share, and told us she’d just knocked it up one afternoon to save some squishy bananas going to waste, I had to have the recipe.
As I said, I can’t resist a tinker. I added some walnuts and rum into the mix… well why not?
1 overripe banana
100g caster sugar
150g self-raising flour
A handful chopped walnuts
A capful of rum
A handful of sultanas
1/2 tsp vanilla essence (note to self, do not pour onto spoon over bowl, or it may come flooding out! Oh well, still tasted great!)
Preheat oven to 175C
Mrs Marshall’s recipe read thus: mix all ingredients in bowl, pour into greased baking tin and bake in oven until a skewer comes out clean. And that is just what I did. There was an ‘OR’ and for those of you who are more method than madness, it reads thus:
Cream the margarine and sugar, gradually mix in the beaten eggs, add the banana, sift the flour, stir in, then add the vanilla essence and sultanas (you can add the rum and walnuts here too). Give it one last stir and pour into a greased baking tin.
It took just under 30 minutes – let’s call it 25 – for my skewer to come out clean, and the top of the loaf to turn a luscious golden brown. I think the best advice is to keep an eye on it and not, as I did, to wander off, get engrossed in the exciting new season of cookery shows that has started in earnest on every channel now the Olympics is over, and release a couple of expletives when your husband wonders aloud whether the cake is ready. Reader, I was lucky – it was perfectly cooked, but I had meant to check on the ****ing thing after 15 minutes. Told you – baking and me do not mix!
I served mine at Supper Club with mascarpone, simply because I had some left from yesterday’s pasta – crème fraîche would no doubt be delicious too.