I read somewhere that bananas are the fruit most often thrown away and that's definitely the case in our house. I'm fussy about my bananas. They have to have only just turned yellow or even still have some green on them. As soon as brown spots appear and they smell like banana, they are destined to stay uneaten in the fruit bowl.
At the weekend I had a couple which had been lingering in the bowl for some time. They weren't just spotty, they were completely black. I hate to throw food away though and I fancied some Bank Holiday baking. After thinking of a few combinations, bananas and custard appeared as the complete favourite. I couldn't find the right recipe though so ending up adapting a couple from the two Clandestine Cake Club books*.
It was so easy to make and so delicious! The only thing I'd change would be the decoration. I took the lazy option in plonking some dried banana pieces on top. Next time I think I'd use icing.
If you'd like to have a go yourself, the recipe is below. We'll be eating a different kind of cake today though as it's my daughter Chickpea's birthday! We're going for afternoon tea at a French patisserie - very posh - and there'll be birthday cake later. Happy birthday to my (not so) little girl :)
200g unsalted butter, very soft
200g caster sugar
4 large eggs, beaten
2 small, very ripe bananas, mashed
1tsp vanilla extract
175g self-raising flour
3tbsp custard powder (not instant)
1tsp vanilla extract
3 large egg yolks
75g caster sugar
1-2 fresh bananas, sliced
To make the cake:
- Preheat the oven to 190C/Fan 170C/Gas 5.
- Grease and line two 8"/20cm sandwich tins.
- Put all the ingredients in a food processor or mixer and blend. This makes a slightly denser cake so, if you prepare one that's lighter and fluffier, use the creaming method, adding the bananas at the end.
- Divide evenly between the two tins and bake for 15 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.
- Leave in the tins for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
To make the custard:
- Heat the milk and vanilla extract in a pan until hot. Remove from the heat.
- Whisk the egg yolks and sugar until pale and creamy, then whisk in the cornflour.
- Pour the milk over the egg mixture, whisking continuously.
- Pour everything back into the pan and heat, again whisking continuously. Don't leave it alone as it will suddenly thicken. Once thickened, take off the heat and pour into a bowl. Put some clingfilm over the surface to prevent it forming a skin. As soon as it's cooled, you can pop in the fridge until you're ready to assemble the cake.
To assemble the cake:
- Spread the custard generously over one of the sponge halves - you might not need all of it.
- Put the slices of fresh banana over the custard.
- Put the other sponge half on top.
- Decorate how you choose. I just put a few dried banana slices on top but you could dust with icing sugar, or cover with icing (maybe coloured yellow).
*The cake was adapted from the Rhubarb and Crumble cake in A Year of Cake. The custard is from the Manchester Tart cake in The Clandestine Cake Club Cookbook.