Banana cake has always been a guilty pleasure of mine, one slice is never enough. My memories of banana cake come from both my childhood when my mother would bring a slice after school wrapped in foil, still warm from the oven, and my backpacking adventures in Australia, gorging on toasted Banana Bread and double espresso shot lattes, watching the world go by during the busy Sydney morning rush. I have to say the best banana bread is most definitely found in Australia in a coffee chain called Gloria Jeans, I have tried and tested various recipes for the bananery goodness, and this is the closest I have come to my beloved Gloria Jeans. The secret to an amazing banana cake is this, let your bananas get so old, they are almost mouldy, sounds terrible, but once you try it you will never look back.
275ml soured cream
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp cream of tarter
100g unsalted butter, melted till nut brown colour, it will smell like caramel
200g light brown sugar
A large pinch of salt
30g of caster sugar
2 large eggs
250g plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp of all aspice
1 tsp grated nutmeg
2 tsp vanilla
250g mashed ripe to rotting (they must be black bananas, about 3 bananas)
For the topping
1 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of light brown sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
Preheat the oven to 170 degrees and grease and flour a 27cm loaf tin. Rub butter all over the inside of the tin and shake a small amount of flour around the tin, tapping away any excess.
Firstly mash the bananas as smoothly as possible and add the soured cream, eggs, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and cream of tartar. The reason I use this combination of rising agents is because each serve a purpose, the baking powder helps the batter to rise, the bicarb lightens the sponge and the cream of tartar stabilizes the eggs allowing the batter to hold the air in the sponge. You will notice that the banana mixture will start to bubble and rise, this is perfectly normal.
Combine the remaining dry ingredients and sieve together into a bowl.
In a small pan melt the butter until the butter is a caramel brown colour, this requires a little patience but adds a wonderful depth of flavour to the finished article.
Pour the banana mixture into the flour and combine, do not over beat the mixture as this will over work the gluten in the flour as make the loaf tough not light. Finally add the brown butter, give the batter a final mix and pour into the loaf tin.
Mix the butter sugar and cinnamon for the topping together and place small blobs ontop of the batter. Place in the oven for 45- 50 minutes (cover with foil if the top is getting too brown.) To check to see if the sponge is cooked place a metal skewer in the centre of the cake, if the skewer comes out clean then it is ready, if not place in the oven for a further five minutes but keep your eye on it.