Banana cake with brown sugar & cardamom

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I’ve never been able to get that excited about banana cake. I mean, it’s perfectly nice, can be a bit earnest at times, and, in its worst incarnations, is a bit like eating damp wood. I certainly don’t crave it like I would a chocolate cake. UNTIL NOW. I have just stumbled across a banana cake that is so delicious that I can’t stop thinking about it in its tin on the other side of the house. I’m wondering whether a slice between every meal counts towards your five a day. It has an intoxicating spice in it: cardamom, which, when mixed with the fudgy properties of brown sugar, takes on a heavenly taste of spicy toffee, with the bananas creating a lovely mellow undertone. When it bakes, it fills your house with toffee-ish wafts of sweet spice. I am really taken with this cake. Trust me, this one’s a keeper.

Inspiration taken, then tweaked, from both Nigel Slater and Orangette.

You, my friends, are going in a banana cake:

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You will need:

400g peeled very ripe bananas (about 3 big ones)
2 medium free range eggs
200g soft dark brown sugar
1-2 tsp vanilla paste or vanilla extract
60g butter
65ml flavourless vegetable oil (eg rapeseed)
2 tsp ground cardamom
2 cups of plain flour (250g)
2 tsps baking powder
1 generous pinch sea salt (I use Maldon)

Preheat your oven to 180C. Prepare a loaf tin by lining with greaseproof paper.

Mix the flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. In a different bowl, mash up the bananas, add the vanilla and cardamom powder, set aside. In a small bowl, beat your eggs together with a fork. And finally, in yet another bowl, use an electric whisk to whiz together the butter, oil and dark brown sugar until it’s gone a bit pale, like the colour of milky coffee. To this butter sugar mix, add the eggs, mix, then add the bananas. Mix then add the flour / baking powder / salt and whiz it all together.

Tip the mixture into your loaf tin and bake for approx 50 minutes, although it could take longer depending on your oven – just make sure the tip of a knife inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean. If you need to bake it for longer and don’t want the top to blacken, pop a piece of foil or greaseproof paper or foil over the top of the cake leaving a small hole for air to escape. Leave the cake to cool down completely before attempting to slice it.

I’m now going to stick my head in the cake tin just to BREATHE IN those spicy toffee aromas. Mmmm yesssss.

Check out my psychedelic loaf mould – it’s like the cake was baked by Jimi Hendrix.

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Delicious beyond belief when sliced and buttered generously with salty butter. Oh dear God!

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You will succumb to my toffee-ish depths:

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Breakfast of a cake fiend. Spread this cake with salted butter and you will never look back:

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