Nigel Slater is a well-known British food writer, journalist and broadcaster. Before I cooked and baked my way through countless recipes in some of his numerous cookbooks, I read his autobiography, called "Toast: The Story of a Boy´s Hunger". This book is all about Slater´s deeply rooted love of food and it is one of the most wonderful contemporary books that I have read.
Since fall season is upon us and I wanted to bake a few basic, autumnal, delicious cake recipes, with a decided comfort food kind of appeal, I decided to put together a few posts on some of Nigel Slater´s cake recipes that I call "September Cakes".
The first cake that I chose for this series is a Black Banana Cake - similar to the well-known Banana Bread. As with Slater´s "Rhubarb Cinnamon Polenta Cake" that I featured in July of this year, my kids went crazy over this one, so I decided to forget all about the other Banana Bread/Cake recipes that I have tried before, from now on, I will be using only this simply delicious recipe.
Black Banana Cake
(as adapted from Nigel Slater)
- 175 grams (6oz) unsalted butter, room temperature
- 175 grams (6oz) sugar (half light muscovado, half golden caster) - you could substitute light brown sugar
- 75 grams (2½oz) hazelnuts
- 2 eggs, (L)
- 175 grams (6oz) self-raising flour (you can also use AP flour with 1 1/2 tsp baking powder)
- 2 very ripe "black" bananas (about 250 grams/9oz total weight)
- 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
- 175 grams (6oz) good-quality dark or milk chocolate chips (I used Lindt 70% Excellence, chopped)
1. Preheat your oven to 170 degrees Celsius (325 degrees Fahrenheit).
2. Line the base and sides of a 20cm x 12cm(8 inches x 5 inches) loaf pan with unbleached parchment paper.
3. In the bowl of your electric mixer, beat the butter and sugars until light and fluffy.
4. Toast the hazelnuts and rub them in a dish towel to remove their skins. Using your food processor, grind the nuts finely.
5. Slowly add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture.
6. Then mix in the toasted ground hazelnuts and flour.
7. Peel the bananas and chop them into small pieces.
8. Gently fold the vanilla extract, the bananas and the chocolate chunks into the cake mixture, turning gently and taking care not to overmix.
9. Scoop the cake batter into the prepared baking pan.
10. Bake for between one hour to one hour 10 minutes, covering the cake with foil if the top starts to darken too quickly (I actually covered the cake 40 minutes into baking).
11. Transfer the cake to a wire rack and let cool before removing from the baking pan (I served the cake while it was still slightly warm and the chocolate had not completely hardened).
NOTE: if you can, try to use organic eggs, bananas and hazelnuts in this cake.
one 20cm x 12cm (8 inches x 5 inches) loaf pan
some parchment paper (unbleached natural brown if possible)
The smell of the cake while baking was just fantastic! This is a moist cake with bits of nuts and small chunks of dark chocolate and banana and it certainly has just the right kind of charming homemade appeal that I was looking for.
It is also a great way to use some overripe "black" bananas. And although there are countless recipes for banana cake, this is now our favorite version!
Enjoy with some coffee, steaming cup of tea or a tall glass of milk.
- Nigel Slater "Toast: The Story of a Boy´s Hunger" (published April 16, 2004 by Harpercollins UK, available at http://www.amazon.co.uk)
- Baking pan from "Kaiser" (available at http://www.kaiser-backform.de)
- Self-raising flour (such as "Mc Dougalls" or "King Arthur"), muscovado sugar and golden caster sugar from Tate & Lyle (available at http://www.english-shop.de)