I received Lorraine Pascale’s ‘Fast, Fresh and Easy Food’ as a Christmas present from Mr Birdie. One of the recipes that caught my eye was this ‘Dulce & banana cake’ which is an upside down banana cake with a sticky toffee topping. I am a big fan of banana cake and had been keen to try making it. This weekend gave me the opportunity to try it out as we had a training day at work today and I thought it would make a good break time snack. It was definitely well received and kept our brains going. It works well cold as a cake or warm as a dessert with cream or ice cream. You can find the recipe here on the BBC website. You will need a 20cm square tin.
50g soft light brown sugar
50g pecan nuts (optional)
150g butter (softened)
175g soft brown sugar
4 medium eggs (at room temperature)
1/2 vanilla pod (I used a couple of drops of vanilla extract)
100g self-raising flour
75g wholemeal flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon treacle
Pinch of salt
2 small bananas (firm)
1 tablespoon Calvados (optional – I didn’t have any so didn’t use this)
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/160C Fan/350F/Gas 4. Grease and line a 20cm square tin with baking parchment and grease again.
2) Start by making the sticky topping. Place the butter and soft light brown sugar in a small pan over a medium heat. Once the butter has melted, turn up the heat and let the mixture bubble away for a few minutes until it starts to thicken. Make sure you stir it frequently so it doesn’t catch.
Pour the mixture into the bottom of your lined tin and tip it back and forth so that the mixture spreads out. (You need to do this now as the mixture will solidify.)
3) If using the pecan nuts, tip them onto a baking tray and toast them in the oven. After 5 minutes remove them from the oven and set aside to cool.
4) To make the sponge mixture, cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl using a hand-held whisk or freestanding mixer until the mixture becomes lighter in colour.
Add the eggs one at a time, beating well between each addition.
If using the vanilla pod, split it open, scrape the seeds out and add (or alternatively add the vanilla extract).Then fold in both flours, the baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, treacle and salt and set aside.
5) Slice the bananas into 5mm thick pieces. Arrange them in a single layer in the bottom of the tin (I lined mine up but you can arrange them however you want.) Pack them in tightly and drizzle over the Calvados if using.
6) Roughly chop the pecans and stir them through the cake mix.
7) Carefully dollop the cake mix over the bananas and gently spread it out with the back of a spoon or a palette knife, levelling the top. Then place in the oven and cook for 35-45 minutes.
8) After the cake has been cooking for 35 minutes, remove it from the oven and insert a metal skewer into the centre. It should come out clean, if not put back in for another 5 minutes until cooked.
9) Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave it to cool for 10 minutes.
Then put a large flat plate over the top of the tin, and holding the tin and the plate, flip the whole lot over so that the tin is now upside down. Gently remove the tin and peel off the baking parchment to reveal the cake.
10) Cut into squares and serve warm or cold. Enjoy with your choice of accompaniment (crème anglaise, softly whipped cream or ice cream.)