I'm not sure about you, but I don't like throwing food away, so sometimes what I bake on the weekend is determined by what's in the kitchen or the fridge, which of course will go off if it isn't used immediately by me. So the other Sunday I was wondering what sort of cake to make, looked at some very ripe bananas – the one's with lots of freckles on them – and thought "that's it, I'll make banana and walnut cake". I really like this recipe, which I found in Nigella Lawson's "How to be a domestic Goddess" and which after countless banana cake recipes, I found is just the right one for me and of course for those that I share my cakes with – family and friends. 

Before delving into the recipe, there's always a history with portraits and you will be surprised to know that although I've always liked bananas in desserts – my favourite at one time was banoffee pie – I never could eat fresh bananas, that was until my wife was pregnant with our first child. Now, isn't that odd ? So eating bananas has a kind of strange history for me and with this cake, eating the baked version together with the fresh one provides a unique tasty experience.

The most important ingredient of course, is very ripe bananas, of which two will do. I've slightly adjusted the recipe and call mine cake and not banana bread like Nigella. Just peel them and mash them in a bowl very fiercely with a fork until they look like a real mess. Next get the dry ingredients ready, 175g of plain flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda, half a teaspoon of salt and set aside. Then mix 125g of melted unsalted butter with about 150g of caster sugar until no streaks appear, after which beat in the eggs one at a time, only if they are not at room temperature, if not, just mix in both the eggs at once until well blended, followed by the mashed bananas and one teaspoon of vanilla extract. Almost there – if you are adding walnuts, mix about a handful of crushed walnuts, after which gradually mix in the plain flour, one spoon at a time so you don't affect the balance and the air of the cake. If you want to make this more fruity, add about 50g of raisins too. Now, put into a greased or baking paper lined loaf tin and bake for about 20-30 minutes until your baking stick or a long toothpick comes out cleanish but not completely dry as this should be a moist cake. 

Let the cake cool in the tin for about 15 minutes and turn out and munch away in thick slices on its own or with good ice cream. It goes well with coffee after lunch at work, like this….


That was quick and not so difficult, so if you've got some ripe bananas and some friends coming over for tea, this is the cake for you as it can be prepared and baked in under 40 minutes and they are sure to go Hmmmm ! You can even impress them further by serving it with slices of fresh banana round the edges and say "for today's cake, I'm serving a portrait of a banana cake" – wait for them to laugh or say "Oh la la, I'm first…."

The main stuff again are;

175 g of plain flour
125 g of melted unsalted butter
2 very ripe bananas, mashed up
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
150g of caster sugar
2 large eggs or 3 medium ones
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
Half a teaspoon of salt – it brings out the sweetness from the bananas
50 g each of walnuts and/or raisins (optional)

Standard loaf tin (buttered or lined with baking paper)

Inspired by a recipe from Nigella Lawson's How to be a Domestic Goddess