My middle son turns 21 today and loves Pokemon. His initial request was for a Skarmory cake. Once googled I decided that was a tad tricky and so I replied, “find me a cake shaped Pokemon”. The offspring complied and suggested a Goomy. Actually really enjoyed making this today, I haven’t made a novelty cake for quite a while. Not quite cake boss standard but not too bad at all.
As always I have to make the nod to Nigella, Feast. This was the first cook book that I really started to try recipes from. Up until that point I would read cook books and stare longingly at the pictures. Nigella’s book made me want to have a go. Her recipes are easy to follow and that is what I wanted to achieve for my family. A collection of recipes that are reliable, tasty and good value.
- 450g mashed bananas. 3 medium bananas is about right, I have never weighed them and the recipe works fine. No stress baking here. Make sure the bananas are very very ripe. You know the ones that sit in the fruit bowl until you throw them away, they are perfect for this.
- 60ml corn oil. I never seem to have the right oil but vegetable/sunflower, even light olive oil all work fine.
- 3 eggs, medium
- zest and juice of half a lemon
- 200g caster sugar
- 325g plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- half teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract. I tend to use vanilla paste for preference but whatever you have is as always fine! 🙂
- Preheat your oven to gas mark 4/180 degrees c. My oven is a little feisty so I find that 160 degrees c is about right.
- Oil your tin of choice, I have ring mould (1.5l) which makes the ring shaped cake that Nigella refers to but use whatever you have. I have also baked this cake using two standard cake tins and adjusted the cooking time. This is a really forgiving mixture so play around with whatever you have.
- In a bowl put your mashed bananas, add the oil, eggs, lemon juice and zest, vanilla and sugar. Whisk together.
- Then fold in your flour, bicarb and baking powder.
- Pour your batter into your oiled tin/s.
- Bake for around 40 minutes. As I said earlier you may need to adjust this depending on your tin choice. You’ll know it’s cooked when a skewer run through comes out clean and it has a bounce to it when gently pressed. I also find that when the teenagers start appearing it is nearly done. It does smell yummy when cooking.
- Take it out of the oven and leave it for around 10 minutes before turning it out to cool properly.
- This cake keeps for a good long while. I can usually add it to packed lunches for the week as well as snacks for after college. You can of course eat it as Nigella intended, for breakfast with a cuppa and a smidge of chocolate spread if you like.
Possibly one of the easiest recipes you will ever make,
January is a tricky month to get motivated generally. Last week my middle son asked me for a lemon drizzle cake. As he is my favourite child (don’t tell the others!) his wish was my command.
The following recipe was taken from Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess. She has called it the Lemon syrup loaf cake, which is posh for lemon drizzle!
As ever I have tweaked it a teeny tiny bit and have also adjusted the cooking temperature as well. This has been a long period of trial and error for me. I usually find small cakes cook great in my oven but larger cakes can be a bit hit and miss for me. I will of course give you Nigella’s recommended temperature but for my Stoves range oven, fan assist I had to reduce the temperature 20-25 degrees C. Timings remained the same.
- 125g unsalted butter
- 175g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- zest of 1 lemon ( if you want the extra lemonyness add the zest of 2)
- 175g self raising flour
- 4 tablespoons of milk or for my version add 2 of milk and 2 of buttermilk
- pinch of salt
23 x 13 x 7 cm loaf tin, buttered and lined with greaseproof
For the syrup:
- Juice of 1 and a half lemons (about 4 tablespoons) although add more or less to taste
- 100g icing sugar
- Preheat your oven to 180 degrees C/gas mark 4. As I said in my intro you may need to adjust according to your oven.
- Cream together your butter and sugar. Do spend a bit of time on this. The more you blend and mix the lighter the cake mixture will be. Cream until smooth and pale.
- Beat your eggs and add them to the butter and sugar mixture. Add the zest too. Mix well.
- Then add in your flour and salt, folding them in with a gently touch.
- Finally add your milk or milk and buttermilk combo.
- Spoon the mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake for 45 minutes.
- While your cake is cooking gently heat the lemon juice and icing sugar for your syrup until the icing sugar has dissolved.
- Stick a skewer in to check it if cooked. It should come out clean if properly cooked.
- Immediately skewer your cake all over to create holes that you can then drizzle your syrup into. Pour it slowly or even spoon it on taking care to make sure that the whole cake gets a good soaking.
- Leave the cake in it’s tin to cool. Do not try and take it out of the tin before it’s cold or risk collapse. Having said that we have done this before. We were too hungry and it smelled too good, so although it collapsed it tasted great 🙂
- According to Nigella this serves 8-10. In my household it tends to serve a family of five with one who doesn’t like lemon cake! Share if you must, but there is pleasure to be had with a couple of your favourite offspring, a pot of tea and a slab of this cake.