25/02/2013 · 9:00 am
My pancake day creation! I had two over ripe bananas left over from making banana muffins and they were praying on my mind. Then Shrove Tuesday rolled around and I had a pancake epiphany… Banana pancakes!
Then I started to mull it over more. Banana was good but what could make it better, Nutella? Well, yes, but what if I could make it even more awesome? My mind supplied pecans and then immediately jumped to my favourite Ben and Jerry’s ice cream flavour, The Vermonster! Maple, pecan, caramel, yum! I wanted to bring the two together and so, Banana Maple Pecan Pancakes were born.
2 over ripe bananas
1 tsp vanilla extract
125g self raising flour
pinch of salt
1 tbsp maple syrup
50g pecans, chopped
– Get a pancake pan or shallow frying pan heating on the hob to a medium high heat.
– Take a jug and mash your bananas up with a fork.
– Add all of the ingredients apart from the pecans and mix well so you have a smooth batter.
– Grease your pan with butter.
– Pour 1/6th of the batter out for each pancake. The size of your pan will dictate how many you can cook at once. They should be about the size of a saucer.
– Scatter the pecans over the wet batter.
– When bubbles rise to the surface of your batter it’s time to flip your pancake.
– Continue to cook the pancake for another minute then remove from he pan and continue with the rest of the batter.
– Keep the cooked pancakes warm while you’re cooking the rest.
– Serve with lashings of maple syrup and, if you have it, I highly recommend Vermonster Ben and Jerry’s ice cream to finish it off!
18/02/2013 · 9:00 am
I’ve been working my way through Nigellissima, Nigella Lawson’s latest offering. One of the recipes people kept mentioning was the Italian Banana Bread so I thought I’d give it a go. Now, first off, the ‘Italian’ aspect is that there’s espresso in there. I have to admit I didn’t think that the espresso necessarily added that much to it. However, it is a gorgeous banana bread! Moist, springy and flavoursome.
The notes said that it would make 12 muffins, which it did, just. I wanted these for breakfasts and for me breakfast means portable. I also decided that, true to form, banana bread on its own was delicious but I always want some chocolate in there. My favourite trick with muffins is to add a teaspoon of Nutella to the middle for a gorgeous gooey chocolaty centre so that’s exactly what I did!
150ml rapeseed oil
3 very ripe medium bananas (I mean BLACK!)
2 tsp vanilla extract
pinch of salt
150g golden caster sugar
175g plain flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
4 tsp instant espresso powder
1/2 jar Nutella
– Heat the oven to gas mark 6/200C.
– Put 12 paper cases in a 12 hole muffin tin.
– Take a large Pyrex jug or bowl and mash up the bananas with a fork along with the vanilla extract and salt.
– Beat in the oil. Keep mixing, it’ll happen!
– Add the eggs one at a time, beating thoroughly between additions.
– In a small bowl mix the flour, bicarb and espresso powder together until they’re even combined.
– Mix the flour mixture into the banana mixture until all the floury bits disappear. There will still be banana chunks in there so you’re not aiming for totally smooth.
– Divide the batter evenly between the paper cases.
– Dollop a teaspoon of Nutella in the centre of each muffin.
– Bake for 20-25 minutes until the muffins are set and a beautiful deep golden brown.
– Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a wire rack.
16/02/2013 · 9:00 am
I made this cake back in November and I am sorry to say that it totally slipped my mind! That is not to say that it’s not good. I’m particularly proud of the Kalhua buttercream. But life got in the way, as in inevitably does! I’m going to try to have a bit of a catch up around these parts and get the drafts I’ve got littering the place behind the scenes sorted out.
I was attending a Clandestine Cake Club event and the theme was Mad Hatter’s Tea Party. I knew how I wanted to decorate my cake, with the teaparty itself, but what to bake for the cake inside? Then it hit me! What’s madder than a coffee cake at a tea party? Well, probably something, but it seemed like a cute idea!
I love a coffee and walnut cake. It is one of my absolute favourites but I hadn’t actually baked one myself. I decided to go with a classic sponge cake and simply add walnuts and espresso into the mix. It worked a treat!
I do have a confession though, when I first turned the cakes out of their tins I thought I’d had a complete cake failure and they were a disaster. I thought they hadn’t risen enough so I started to whip up a new cake to salvage this disaster. I stacked the layers up in order to clear the decks, which was when realised. The cake was perfectly tall enough, I had just forgotten that with 3 layers the individul layers would be much thinner!
150g golden caster sugar
1 tsp vanilla essence
2 tbsp strong espresso
150g self raising flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
100g walnuts, roughly chopped
100g unsalted butter, softened
200g icing sugar
2 tbsp kalhua
500g ready to roll icing, 250g white, 250g coloured with paste colours as you like (You won’t use all of the icing up but I always find a use for icing)
– Heat the oven to gas mark 4/180C an grease three sandwich tins. I use silicone ones because they make turning out the cake so much easier.
– Put the butter and sugar in a food processor and blitz until it is smooth and fluffy.
– Add the eggs one at a time down the funnel with the motor running.
– Add in the vanilla and espresso and continue to mix well.
– Add the flour, baking powder and walnuts and process until the flour and baking powder are totally worked in. There should still be come chunky walnut bits.
– Divide the mixture evenly between your three cake tins.
– Bake for about 20-25 minutes. Be careful to check them as they’re so thin. If using more than one shelf in the oven it’s usually a good idea to switch them around half way through cooking so they bake more evenly.
– Remove from the oven and turn out to cook on wire racks.
– To make your buttercream mix the softened unsalted butter with the icing sugar and kalhua until smooth and creamy with no lumps left.
– To assemble your cake spread 1/3 of the buttercream on each of the layers as you stack it on your serving plate.
– Roll out the white icing into a circle and then drape this over the cake like a tablecloth.
– Use the remaining coloured icing to fashion teapots, teacups and plates. I also used some other cake decorations to make ‘food’ for my teaparty. One innovation I was particularly proud of was using popping candy for the tea in the teacups. I knew that the moisture in the icing would dissolve the popping candy and leave a sticky tea coloured liquid behind. Go nuts, use your imagination!