Monday, 23 January 2012

Mary Berry's Banana and Choc Chip Loaf Cake

So what do you do when you have an excess of over-ripe bananas smelling out your kitchen??????
Well spurred on by the Sport Relief Great British Bake-off on TV recently, I couldn't resist having a go at Mary Berry's Banana and Choc Chip Loaf Cake.  All the contestants had made a hash of it, though this was mainly due to mix-up's with measuring spoon sizes.........not ideal with baking powder and bi-carb it turns out.
I can do better than that I thought!  Being a little too cocky isn't always wise.
Lets just say I didn't have soft enough butter.  Oops.  The recipe says mush up the bananas, then add all the other ingredients except the choc chips and mix up well.  Mine didn't blend quite as well as it should, possible due to un-soft butter, possibly also as I think its best to cream butter and sugar first, then add eggs, then flour, etc etc.  When it was cooking a lot of the butter seeped out, as it hadn't blended properly, causing it to be quite greasy on the outside.  Sitting it on some kitchen towel, soon sorted this problem out and the result was a very moist, tasty cake. 

Needless to say, I had to try it again, to perfect, creaming the very soft butter with the sugar first and then adding the other ingredients in succession.  Only owning a 2lb loaf tin, I doubled the ingredients and cooked the cake for about 50 minutes.  Delicious and one I shall make again.   Surely its part of my "5-a-day" ?  This one was enjoyed with a nice cuppa...... thanks for the tea-set Mum!  So pretty.

As you may have picked up along the way, I love baking my own bread, but I think its always a good idea to go back to basics sometimes and remind yourself of the principles of bread-baking. In my Bake-Off book there is a good section on bread and the science behind it.  You can get carried away with making bread and forget why its all so clever.  There is a recipe for a basic white loaf, which I had a go at, using some different techniques I hadn't tried before.  Putting the risen loaves on baking parchment rather than direct onto the bare baking sheet prevented the loaves from overly browning underneath.  Also having a heated deep tray in the bottom of the oven and adding cold water to it at the same time that the loaves go in created steam throughout the whole baking time.  Rather than my usual crispier crusts it created a lovely soft chewy crust.

I was able to use the bread for sandwiches 2 days later, rather than just for toast, which was a real bonus.   Yum yum yum yum.

On the crafty front I am really pleased with a little tank-top I have finished for niece Ellie.  Think it might be a wee bit big for now.  Could double-up as a dress?? 
Also having fun making a pair of Monkey socks in some rather wacky purple and green sock yarn.  I won't lose my feet in these! Got some funny looks knitting them on the train yesterday though :)

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