Salted Caramel Banana Cake, 16p [VG/V/DF]
This cake is a cheap but luxurious twist on my original banana bread, slightly more moist and gooey than the first iteration, with a home made sticky syrup sauce to drizzle over the top, ideally warm from a jug. I have made this as a loaf cake and also as a round, Victoria sponge type cake, split in the middle with a buttercream style icing and extra syrup sandwiching it together. It can be as simple or as showstopper as you want it to be. If you keep frozen berries kicking about, scatter a few on top of the cake mixture as it goes into the oven; as it cooks, they will gently sink to suspend in the finished delicacy; if you stir them in, there is a risk they will all sink and give you a soggy bottom. If this happens, I generally allow the cake to cook completely before removing from the tin, level off the risen top so it is completely flat (a bread knife is best) and carefully turn it over so that the purple blueberries adorn the top instead. Which, might I add, looks absolutely stunning with the syrup drizzled over it.
Serves 8 at 16p each
100g soft baking spread, 11p (55p/500g, Sainsburys baking block)
200g sugar, 16p (80p/1kg, Sainsburys sugar)
4 tbsp applesauce or marmalade, 5p (30p/454g, Sainsburys Basics marmalade)
200g yoghurt, 40p (plain is good, but Alpro soya yoghurt in Sainsburys has a special offer on its cherry and blueberry ones at the moment, £1 for 500g)
3 small bananas (£1.10, 8 small Fairtrade bananas, Sainsburys)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 3p (90p/180g, Sainsburys)
Scant ½ tsp ground cinnamon or mixed spice, <1p (80p/100g, KTC or Natco brand at any major supermarket)
A pinch of salt, <1p (45p/750g, Sainsburys Basics)
200g self raising flour, 7p (55p/1.5kg, Sainsburys Basics)
For the sauce:
100g sugar or golden syrup
First, preheat your oven to 140C/275F/Gas Mark 1.
Beat together the butter and sugar in a large mixing bowl, using a wooden spoon or a fork, until well combined.
Add the applesauce, beating in until well mixed through, and then the yoghurt. Slice the banana and mash it with the fork to break it up. Mix well until the wet ingredients are consistent and mostly smooth.
Tip in the bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and a pinch of salt, and mix well. Add half of the flour, stir, and then add the other half. Your mixture should be more like a thick batter than a dough.
Lightly grease a loaf or cake tin and tip the mixture in, scraping the sides of the bowl to make sure as much of it goes in as possible – the less batter wasted, the bigger the cake! Bake in the centre of the oven for 50 minutes, until a knife inserted in the middle comes out clean.
Meanwhile, make your caramel syrup. Pour the sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan over a medium heat and leave it for a few minutes. As it starts to soften and melt at the edges, stir it in and leave it for a few more minutes. The change happens quickly; one minute you have a pile of sugar that looks like it isn’t doing anything, and the next you have a soft, silky succulent caramel sauce. Remove it swiftly from the heat and add a splash of cold water; it will hiss and bubble at you, so don’t put your face in it. Stir it in quickly, then return it to a low heat to keep it soft and watrm while the cake cooks.
Serve the cake with the warm caramel sauce dribbled over the top, and enjoy. You’ll notice in my photograph there are some chopped nuts in there too; forgive me, I like to get a little fancy sometimes. They were Basics peanuts, if that is any consolation, rinsed of their excess salt and finely chopped and toasted. I can highly recommend it, but didn’t include it in the main body of the recipe text as I didn’t want to exclude people with nut allergies from enjoying this lovely jubbly cake.
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