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Tuesday, August 23, 2005
B is for... Banana

Admit it! You had a banana whithin the last month. Bananas are like apples, they're everyone easy eating fruit. When eating a banana i don't make a mess like the one i make when i eat a peach.
I probably love all the fruits in the world, but a banana is a banana and holds a special place in my heart. Maybe it is because of the mashed bananas my mother used to make for me, or because of the intense creaminess of the fruit, or because you can make just everything you want with a banana : from a luscious cake to a simple caramelised gorgious banana... The list has no end but i hope you understood : I LOVE BANANAS.
Look at the fruit : a moon-shape, a soft velvetiness, a lovely honey colour. What's wrong with all that. Nothing and that is the point. There's nothing about bananas i don't like. Except the white thing (hope you know what i mean since i don't know how to call it) that is under the skin and forms "stripes". But this is easy to remove, so then i just love bananas.
My first banana experience was certainly a plain mashed banana without sugar. Then i grown up and could mash my own banana, what a glory. I started to add a little honey, or brown sugar. And by the time i could use the stove, the first thing i made was a caramelised pan-fried banana. It was just so delicious. From this time i've understood something very crucial : bananas and toffee are a match made in heaven.
I still love bananas (can you count the number of times i've already told you that...think i'm getting old and forget what i've just said). Maybe more than i ever did. I usually have a banana for dessert when i'm at school but i now use bananas iw lots of cakes; i reckon they give extra moisture and extra creaminess. Here i've chosen to make a cake with bananas and toffee-ish taste (provided by another much-loved ingredient of mine : maple syrup). In this case the bananas don't give that extra moisture but a lovely perfume and a great contrast between the airy texture of the sponge and the smooth "fondant" (means melting) of the cooked bananas.

The mystery of the lost bananas - see note below
From bills Open Kitchen (page 100)

50g unsalted butter plus 100g unsalted butter, softened, extra
55g brown sugar
60ml maple syrup
3-4 bananas, sliced in half lengthways
230g caster sugar
4 eggs (fanny : use only 3 if they're large
1 tsp vanilla extract
155g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt

Preheat the oven to 180°C. To make the topping, place the butter, brown sugar and maple syrup in a small sauce pan. Cook on medium heat for 10 minutes, or until the sugar melts and the syrup is rich and golden. Pour the syrup into a 23cm geased or non-stick springform cake tin (fanny : i lined my tin with a double layer of foil and a layer of non-stick baking parchment) and arrange the sliced bananas, cut-side down, over the base of the tin.
To make the cake, place the extra butter and caster sugar in a bowl and beat until pale and creamy. Add the eggs one a t a time, beating well after each addition, then add the vanilla. Sift the flour, baking powder and salt and gently fold through the mixture. Spoon the batter evently over the bananas and caramel and smooth the top with a spatula.
Place the cake in the oven on a baking tray to catch any escaping caramel and bake for 35 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave in the tin for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Transfer to a large serving plate. Serve warm with vanilla icecream if desired.

Note on "the mystery of the lost bananas" : as you can see ("can't see" would be more appropriated though) on the picture, the bananas have disappeared. First i though they had melted but then i thought... Bill says to "spoon the batter over the bananas", but my batter was to liquid to spoon. Actually the eggs i used were too large so the batter was thinner and the bananas were "swallowed by the batter". The mystery was resolved. Elementary my dear Watson !!!

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4 sweets:
Anonymous joey said something sweet:

What an incredible sounding cake! Was just thinking of alternative "upside-down cakes" to my usual...thanks for sharing this :-)

I too love bananas and thankfully they are abundant where I live (unlike peaches...sigh), in different varieties too :-)

23 August, 2005 19:26 

Blogger Unsane said something sweet:

sounds nicey nice. Did you make it up?

24 August, 2005 10:58 

Blogger boo_licious said something sweet:

Upside down cakes, my favs esp pineapple ones. Have not tried banana ones and this recipe looks good.

26 August, 2005 21:46 

Blogger Kelly said something sweet:

Beautiful banana photos! I love bananas too, but not as much as you do! :)

28 August, 2005 10:06 

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