Charles Campion‘s Banana Cake is a recipe I copied across to my blog from a post that originally appeared on a food chat board, or in my general online diary, or was sent via email… or in one of the many places I shared my food experiences before I finally realised I was “stealth-blogging” and set up Kavey Eats!

It’s such a good recipe I always intended to go back and add photos the next time I made it… but, although I’ve enjoyed making and eating it so many times since, I never have.

My talented-photographer-friend Matt Gibson made it recently and showed me his gorgeous photos. My brain started to tick tock tick tock and I discarded the plan to simply slot his photos into that old post, and asked him to guest blog it afresh instead.

Sharing the same recipe on a blog twice might be odd but Matt’s lack of food processor means he’s brought some new advice to the recipe, not to mention his confirmation that it’s a doddle even for novice or nervous bakers.

Over to Matt:


One evening, a week before Christmas, I peered into my fruit bowl. My three remaining bananas stared forlornly back at me. Over-ripe and — based on evidence from the two I’d already eaten — also rather bruised underneath. What to do?

Twitter to the rescue. “Got a banana bread recipe” I asked. “Only this one I’ve found is American, and I have no idea how many bananas there are in two-and-one-third cups.”

Auntie Kavey responded instantly, pointing me at her Charles Campion’s Banana Cake page. Not only did it sound easy — always a bonus for an inexperienced baker like me — but it called for three medium-sized bananas, exactly what I needed to make use of.

So, I dived in, stymied briefly by the local Co-Operative supermarket having run out of both eggs *and* caster sugar (hint, Co-Op: more people than normal are probably baking stuff in the week before Christmas.)

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Another minor speed-bump in my road was the first instruction in the recipe, “Measure all ingredients straight into your food processor and whizz into smooth batter,” which rather assumes you own something as fancy as a food processor. Still, at least I’ve got an electric whisk. Instead of boshing it all together I cubed the butter, which I figured would be the difficult-to-mix bit, and rubbed it into the sifted flour and sugar until I had a breadcrumb-like consistency. Then I added everything else, roughly mixing as I went. Finally I took up my electric whisk and zizzed the mixture to a nice smooth batter.

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And that was the hard work done, really. I poured the mix into my greased, floured loaf-tin. Pausing only briefly to check I was neither very young, very old, nor pregnant, I took my life in my hands and tasted a wooden spoon’s scraping’s-worth of the cake mix that had clung on in the bowl. Niiiice. So, all the signs were good.

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I popped the loaf tin straight into my pre-heated oven, did the washing-up, and went to post some “before” photos on Twitter. This is the 21st century, after all; if you’ve not tweeted about it, it hasn’t happened.

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About forty-five minutes later I was walking past my kitchen door and had to stop and stick my head in and inhale the lovely banana-ey bready smell that was coming from the oven. Another fifteen minutes and I was pulling open the oven, crossing my fingers, and manhandling the loaf tin onto the kitchen worktop with two strategically-positioned tea towels (I know, I know. “Oven gloves” has been just above “food processor” on my kitchen equipment shopping list for about eight years now.)

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It looked good. Dark-to-golden brown, with a nice light sponginess showing through the split that had formed on the top. After a few minutes, I gently tried to slide the loaf out, but it felt a bit too wobbly and was clinging to the sides, so I tried to practise some patience and left it to cool in its tin for a while. Once it wasn’t so hot, it slid out more easily, and kept its nice loaf shape as I rolled it onto the cooling rack, though the gooey bottom did sink a millimetre or so into the rack as it settled densely down.

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After my disaster with Nigella’s Dense Chocolate Loaf Cake, which stayed entirely liquid in the middle when I made it, I was a little scared to finally start slicing into my banana cake, but my fears were unfounded. It was a little gooey at the bottom, but pleasantly so, and the rest was a lovely moist cake with a delicious light crust on top and at the edges (the end parts were my personal favourite.) The banana flavour was good, and I hadn’t overdone the vanilla, despite my worries.

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All in all, this was a fantastic recipe, easy for the baking beginner, even if you’re only armed with a £4.99 electric whisk from Argos that smells a bit like a Scalextric car when it’s running. You’ll never let over-ripe bananas go to waste again.

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My beginner’s tips:

* “a few drops” of vanilla essence is just under a quarter of a teaspoonful.
* Wait until the loaf’s cooled a bit before you try to de-tin it.
* Don’t shop for cake ingredients in the Co-Op just before Christmas.


Here’s the recipe again with my original notes below. ~ Kavey

Gooey Delicious Banana Cake

Ingredients
175 grams caster sugar
225 grams white self-raising flour
100 grams unsalted butter (I always use lightly salted actually)
3 tablespoons fresh milk (I used fully skimmed as that’s what we buy)
2 large fresh eggs
3 medium sized, very ripe bananas
A few drops vanilla essence

Method

  • Preheat oven to 185 C (adjust down for fan ovens).
  • Measure all ingredients straight into your food processor and whizz into smooth batter.
  • Butter a large loaf tin well, then throw in some flour, tap and turn the tin to coat the flour over all surfaces and then tap out any excess into the bin/ sink.
  • Pour the batter into the tin.
  • Bake for an hour.

Note: Campion says “Because we are looking for a soggy end product, the old-faithful test of sticking in a skewer and withdrawing it clean is not appropriate. With practice you’ll simply need to glance at it to tell. In the meantime, because of the style of cake we’re trying to achieve, there’s a wide margin of error to make things easier.”

Note: If it helps, I find the cake rises delightfully and the top turns a lovely rich chocolatey brown (darker than golden brown) and also usually splits, like a lemon drizzle cake.

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All images by Matt Gibson.

  17 Responses to “Gooey Delicious Banana Cake (Revisited)”

  1. This is a great post, I like the way Matt worked around not having a processor and I like his blogging style. Great idea Kavey.

  2. I'm trying this soon. This is an item always sold at the markets here in Central Mexico but it is always dry. – Annette

  3. Excellent – I have 3 over-ripe bananas glaring at me as well and a fairly free day in which to bake this. I usually do Nigella's which has sultanas, rum and walnuts but fancied a straight-up version this time, so this fits the bill.
    - Issy

  4. Banana cakes seem to always get made because of too many over ripe bananas in the fruit bowl. The cake looks perfect and I love the fact it is a cake that freezes so well too x

  5. Lovely looking banana bread – definitely worth a 'reblog' (is that a word? It is now?)

  6. Kath, yes I like Matt's blogging style too (and there's another post coming soon). It's definitely a worthy revisit given that he brings something new to the recipe…

    Annette, hope you enjoy it!

    Issy, let me know how you got on?

    Laura, I've never frozen it myself but would imagine it would freeze well.

    Katy, reblog is a perfectly cromulent word!

  7. Well tried and loved recipes are great. This one looks like a keeper :)

  8. The perfect destination for the solemn looking bananas that are sagging on the bench. Hurrah for the reblog.

  9. Like Matt I mixed it with a hand whisk rather than getting the magimax out of the cupboard.

    It also survived having a rough of ready amount of milk being added (note to self: do not try to measure spoons of milk while holding a baby).

    We had a slice each straight from the oven yesterday with vanilla ice-cream for pudding. Absolutely delicious!

    I left the rest of the cake to cool in the tin and it has firmed up nicely.

  10. Banana cake is one recipe that I keep coming across thousands of variations for, each supposed to be the best, but I'm never tired if them somehow haha. Yours definitely look like another recipe I want to try, been reading the comments too, and seems like I really should soon! And nice blog, matt:)

  11. I love Matt's rustic approach to baking — and there's a few “aged” bananas' staring at me, begging to be used before it rots :D

  12. I will HAVE to make this!

  13. Jacqueline, definitely!

    Tori, hurrah for the reblog indeed!

    Issy, glad you liked!

    Shu Han, let us know how you get on.

    Kiran, yep, he's a laid back kind of guy!

    Kanga, you must you must!

  14. oneHello there,

    Thanks for this recipe, I would love to try it justone though : Have you ever made it with plain flour? if so what how much baking powder to use?

    Cheers,

  15. Hello there,

    Thanks for this recipe, I would love to try it just one question though : Have you ever made it with plain flour? if so what how much baking powder to use?

    Cheers,

    • Dear Sara
      I’m afraid I’ve never tried it. You can check google for advice on substituting plain flour with baking powder. I’ve seen varying advice on how much baking powder to add, it seems to be very approximately 1 heaped tablespoon per kilo of plain white flour but I’d recommend experimenting.
      Kavey

  16. […] ingredients are tipped into the bowl, sometimes all together as in my favourite banana cake recipe, sometimes in two or three batches. The blade is very sharp so a few seconds blending is usually […]

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