The Great British Bake Off is back tonight and I am EXCITED. Who will win? Will it be one of the contestants? Will it be because they are good at baking cakes? Probably!!! I jest, but in seriousness, I love GBBO and all it stands for. In tribute, I am baking along, creating a confection following the theme of each week and sharing it with you on this blog.
First up it’s CAKE WEEK. God… CAKE, right? When I was little, pretty much the best thing that could happen to me was being allowed to bake a cake. There is something so satisfying about the borderline wizardry of sticking a pan full of wet mush into an over and bringing out a Victoria sponge and I have always loved the sugary alchemy of it.
This week, I give you a booze-spiked banana bread, based heavily on the lovely Smitten Kitchen’s Jacked Up Banana Bread. It makes a lovely, rich, light, boozy loaf which will keep a fair few days, can be toasted if it’s gone a bit stale and feels more reasonable, somehow, than just making a massive Victoria Sponge when there’s only two of you and it’s a Tuesday and both of you were trying to cut down on saturated fat, really.
This is a very grown up cake, partly because it’s got booze in it and partly because it relies on you having a fair quantity of overripe bananas in the house, which is something that starts happening when you hit about 23. You buy bananas. Healthy and delicious! Do you eat the bananas? Maybe one, on the way home from the shop. The rest will sit on the counter, making you feel guilty for two weeks until they go mouldy and you’re allowed to throw them away.
I named it Lazy Pirate Cake because of the banana/rum associations and also because it is the chilliest cake ever. It’s pretty much just you and a wooden spoon aimlessly chucking things in a bowl, which is the most soothing type of baking. You do not have to sod about cleaning an electric whisk, which would put a crimp right in your baking zen.
150g soft brown sugar
1tsp vanilla essence
1-2 shots rum
1 hearty tsp cinnamon
A dash of salt
A little bit of nutmeg and/or allspice if you have it
190g self raising flour
- First, Preheat your oven to 180C (or lower if your oven is especially hot, like mine. You know what, maybe even go for 160c whatever. I once made this cake in a gas oven which went out 20 minutes in and I didn’t notice for an HOUR. But I just turned it back on and it was honestly fine.)
- Mash up your banana with a fork. Zap the butter in the microwave while you are doing this until it is melted.
- Stir the butter in.
- Then the sugar.
- Then the egg.
- Then the flavourings. Adjust these as you like – the original recipe uses bourbon, which is nice. You could slosh in some Malibu for extra tropical vibes. Omit this if you don’t keep spirits in the house. Your banana bread will be more rubbery but some people like that. This is because booze interrupts the gluten chains, making the crumb shorter and more crumbly. Isn’t that interesting! Yes it is. Anyway…
- Dump in the flour and stir that in too. Don’t be too vigorous with this final stir – you shouldn’t have any lumps of flour left, but it is possible to over mix it.
- Pour into a 1lb loaf tin, which you have liberally sprayed with oil. Bang in the oven for about an hour (start checking from 45 mins). When a knife comes out clean, it’s done!
This is most especially nice the next day, toasted and spread with butter for the best breakfast ever. But I urge to make it after work, to eat tonight wiht your Bake Off viewing. On your marks. Get set…