Imperfections….Everyone and everything have them. I am not big on New Year resolutions. It’s just not meant for me…But somehow since the New Year, I have a new perception to imperfections. Like these early harvest apples with specks like freckles on skin or the reduced price tulips I bought yesterday from the market. Suddenly I seem to notice the beauty beyond imperfections. I guess its natural to have such moments. I do have my moments of gloominess with winter’s grey, wet & dreadfully dark days, but moaning aside I do love the comfort season. I love chilly early mornings of silvery and misty skies with a piping mug of boozy coffee, ovaltine or hot chocolate. I love the duvet nights with earthy comfort foods like soup or Mac&Cheese. I seem to find inspiration everywhere, I find them in trees bending to the will of the wind, by the auburn and copper-tinged leaves that fall from the trees & cover the damp ground; despite the never-ending bleak dark days. Even moods are like seasons. There are times of cheeriness like summer, when everything is colorful and then there are dreary times like winter when all you want to do is potter around the house, doing absolutely nothing. I am thankful that I have people around me who love me despite all this. I am thankful that S loves me even on those non-showered-no-makeup-lying-on-the-bed days as much as the cheerful-well-groomed days. So I decided to give these over-ripened bananas & freckled apples a face-lift of vanilla, lemon zest and love and baked a Banana-Apple Cake. Its one of those things you can walk-straight-from-work-and-bake-in-your-boots.
*Having said that I just noticed some imperfect lines around my eyes & invested ££ in a jar of eye-cream. Gowd! how we hate imperfections on skin :-).
This loaf is very hearty, and very forgiving. I’ve made quite a few variations myself. The first loaf has banana & apple with cake flour, almond meal, ricotta and a sprinkling of pumpkin seeds. The second loaf has banana just 2 instead of 3, 2 sliced apples, 1 grated carrot, wholemeal instead of flour & almond meal with 3 tbsp of yoghurt. If you prefer plain banana loaf just omit the apples & carrot and add a handful of walnuts or hazelnuts. The cake tastes best still warm with lashings of salted caramel butter. Its great with cup of coffee for breakfast as well. Loaf 2 tends to be slightly denser as it has wholemeal flour.
125g unsalted butter
100g darkbrown sugar
100g caster sugar
2 med eggs
3 ripe bananas
140g cake flour
30g ground almond
Zest of 1 lemon
1 large or 2 med apple, sliced thinly
1tbsp vanilla sugar
Hanful of pumpkin seeds/flaked almonds
Preheat oven to 180C and line a 9×5-inch loaf pan with greaseproof paper. In a processor, beat the butter and sugar till light and fluffy. Add the eggs and whizz briefly. Add the banana, zest, vanilla extract, ricotta and whizz again. Sift all the dry ingredients in a bowl and slowly fold into the wet ingredients. Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin, arrange the apple slices on top and evenly sprinkle a layer of vanilla sugar and pumpkin seeds over the top of the loaf. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until the skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean.
Serve with salted caramel sauce while still warm.
Salted Caramel Sauce
30g unsalted butter
125ml heavy cream
1tsp sea salt (I used maldon)Method:
On a med heat melt sugar until it reaches a dark amber and slowly whisk in the cream. Let it simmer for a few minutes. Now off heat add the salt and butter. This is great poured over toasts, ice-creams, cakes. Reduce the amount of salt to 1/2 tsp if you want a milder salted caramel.