There are few things more comforting than a slice of banana bread, densely sweet and moist. This banana cardamom cake is something of a grown-up version of the baking staple: instead of the sticky sweetness of over-ripe banana, this tastes lighter, fresher and intensely fruity with a kick of spice to balance it out. The recipe is from Nigel Slater’s latest book. I’m looking forward to his new cooking series next week, he has such a beautiful way of telling stories about food, and many of his recipes are woven into the narrative of my own life – this being the latest. To make the banana cardamom cake, you will need:
375g banana (peeled weight)
1 tbsp lemon juice
200g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
90g golden caster sugar
90g muscovado sugar
4 tbsp groundnut or vegetable oil
10 green cardamom pods
2 tbsp golden caster sugar.
Set the oven at 170C/ Fan 150C. Line a 20cm square cake tin with baking parchment. Break the bananas into short chunks, then mash roughly with a fork – you don’t want it to be too smooth. Stir through the lemon juice. Break open the cardamom pods, remove the dark brown seeds, then crush them to a fine powder, using a pestle and mortar. Mix them with the 2 tbsp of caster sugar and set aside for later.
Sift together the flour, baking powder and salt. Put the golden caster and muscovado sugar into the bowl of an electric mixer. Break the eggs into the sugar, then beat for four minutes, until light and creamy.
Pour in the oil slowly with the mixer on a moderate speed.
Fold the flour and baking powder into the mixture, followed by the crushed bananas, taking care to distribute them evenly but without crushing them any further.
Transfer the mixture to the prepared cake tin. Sprinkle the surface with the cardamom sugar mixture.
Bake in the preheated oven for 35 minutes, or until lightly firm on top. Remove from the oven and leave to settle in its tin for about twenty minutes.
Lift the cake from its tin, then place on a cooling rack and leave to cool. Cut the cake into three equal rectangles, then cut those into four to give twelve small pieces.
What are you baking this weekend?