I made this cake for international women’s day. And because last week there were a lot of blueberries and bananas in the kitchen. Mum had bought them at the market. It made me think of the addition of blueberries she puts in her banana bread.
I’m stuck trying to write about the ways this cake can be representative of a woman’s qualities or a woman’s greatness. And that isn’t because I can’t tell you why women are great and why this cake is great.
On Wednesday this week I spent a day at a friend’s house whose just had a baby. The first of my friends to give birth. Her husband works in London 3 days a week, so I visited on one of these days. I applied for jobs while she looked after her new baby. That’s not to say she was in need of the company or needed help to keep her baby looked after. But it was nice to be able to be with her in this moment of her life and to eat soup with her at lunch time and laugh with the baby transfixed at the image of himself in the mirror. Watching my friend work on this day obliterated the ‘full-time’ classification of the jobs I was looking for in my job search.
After we had soup and drank orange squash she asked if I could take him so she could go to the toilet. The second she was out of sight, he started to cry. Loudly. I rocked him, and thought it was a fair reaction considering I wasn’t his mum. Slightly alarmed but trying not to be, I called to her that it was all fine, to stay in the toilet and spoke to him – that it was all fine, his mum would be back from the toilet very soon. She came back in a second still doing up the buttons of her trousers as I passed him over to her. When I went to the bathroom later that day, the tap was on. I switched it off and understood a little bit more about motherhood.
The trick of this cake is getting a good caramelisation on the bananas, so they become a little browned and crisped, without really overbaking the cake. It’s a balancing act this one, but worth baking slightly over what you would normally want to let it bake for. Served still warm from the oven this is a winner, melty and fruity. It’s a great cake to have around and doesn’t seem to last long. The cake base is loosely, very loosely, adapted from a Nigella recipe.
- 2 bananas
- 250g blueberries
- 240g plain flour
- 3/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- pinch of salt
- 210g sugar + extra to coat bananas
- 210g yoghurt – one with a high fat content such as a greek style natural yohurt
- 125g melted butter
- 3 eggs
- 1 tablespoon / 15g veg or oilve oil.
- splash of vanilla and lemon zest optional
Pre heat the oven to 190 / 170 fan. Grease a 22cm round tin and line the base with greaseproof paper.
Halve the bananas lengthwise coat the sliced side generously with sugar. Lay the bananas sugar side down on the base of the cake tin. Pour over the blueberries.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, salt and sugar. Set aside. In a jug or bowl whisk together the remaining ingredients working quickly and making sure the melted butter is cooled slightly to avoid the mixture going lumpy (don’t worry if it does, the cake will be fine). Combine the wet with the dry, trying not to over mix. Pour in the tin and bake for 55 – 1 hour 15 mins or until the cake is dark golden brown and a knife inserted into the cake comes out with only a few moist crumbs. Allow to cool in the tin for 15 mins before carefully unmoulding.