Banana Loaf Cake

Bananas don’t last long in extremes of temperature and soon go brown if the weather is either very hot or very cold.

Years ago, I used to make this cake regularly, maybe a couple of times a month, for school lunches and so on but haven’t made it for ages. We had some bananas going a bit speckly in the recent warm weather and I thought why not? I was so happy with the way it turned out and had forgotten how quick it is to make and how lovely it tastes.

We took it round to a friend of ours who’s alone in lockdown for elevenses in her garden: we couldn’t give her a hug or anything but at least now the restrictions have eased slightly; we could share coffee and cake in the sunshine.

Use bananas that have become a bit speckled with brown, but are still creamy white inside.

  • 110g salted butter, softened
  • 110g golden caster sugar (or reduce sugar to 75g if you prefer it less sweet)
  • 50g plain flour
  • 2 level teaspoons cream of tartar
  • 1 level teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 2 medium eggs, beaten
  • 110g wholemeal flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 170-175g ripe bananas (but no more or the cake will be heavy) peeled weight, mashed to a puree but not liquidy

Preheat oven to 160C (fan oven) or equivalent

You will need a buttered 450g loaf tin: to be on the safe side, to avoid the bottom sticking, line the bottom of the tin with a strip of greaseproof paper cut to fit

Whiz the butter and sugar together in a food processor until creamed and fluffy.

Add the raising agents to the plain flour and sieve half over the butter and sugar mixture.Pour the beaten eggs on top and sieve the rest of the plain flour and raising agents over.

Whiz briefly, add the wholemeal flour and ground almonds and whiz again.

Finally, add the banana and whiz until smooth and fully mixed.

Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 40 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out clean. Don’t over-bake.

Leave in the tin to settle for a few minutes (I usually stand the tin on a wire rack) then remove and finish cooling on the rack.

Once completely cold, store in an airtight tin and eat within 2-3 days: cakes with a high fresh fruit content don’t keep well.

Photo Notes and Out-takes

Luckily my daughter, home from university during the virus outbreak was on hand to hold the knife and stop it from slipping!

She also stood patiently at my shoulder blocking out the sun to stop shadows falling on the bananas.

It took me a while to take the photos: it was quite early in the morning, I hadn't even had breakfast. I was so pleased when they were finished and I could finally make inroads into that mug of tea, even though it was nearly cold. And test the cake of course!

Of course, it's lovely plain, but if you feel inclined, try it spread with a dab of butter.

I don’t think I’ve bought anything at all since mid-March apart from groceries and cleaning products so it was nice to splash out a £1 on this stripey handled spoon during a recent longed-for visit to the local garden centre to buy some seeds. Looking good!