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How to make the best banana cake ever

If you’re looking for a link to POD resources you need Where to Begin.

You know today we were supposed to be kind to each other as a kind of protest against the idea that there is no society. I’m not sure if I would necessarily argue that ‘society’ is synonymous with ‘kindness’ but here’s my act of kindness anyway: how to make the best banana cake ever. I’ll digress first. At the book fair today, the people promoting the ‘books are my bag‘ campaign asked us to write our favourite book and favourite bookshop on a post-it note. It might have been better if they had asked for an appropriate book, given that almost everyone at the London Book Fair has one thing in common (and possibly only one thing!): they are into books in a big way and are likely to have several favourites. I think this book, which I haven’t read yet, might have been an appropriate book for today: Quiet: The Power of Introverts. It’s been around for a while but I’ve only just discovered it. Part of me wants to say that a writer shouldn’t go walking around the London Book Fair if they want to stay sane; part of me wants every writer trying to sell their work (and of course there are lots who don’t want to and write anyway) to wander around the London Book Fair to get a sense of what it’s like out there. I guess I’ve grown up enough to know when I need to retreat from crowds. In the end I needed to come home and hang out with my wife and eat the amazing banana cake I made the other day.

So in case you also need to escape, here’s my version of the best banana cake recipe ever, adapted from ‘Banana picnic loaf’. In 1001 Recipes: The Ultimate Cookery Book (Alexa Stace ed.) Parragon 1999 p. 624. Although I didn’t write it on my post-it, 1001 Recipes has to be one of my favourite books. It’s tatty from cooking now, but you can pretty much guarantee that it contains the basic recipe for anything. I just got a copy of the McDougall’s Centenary Cookery Book from ebay. It was published in 1964. My mum found it when she got engaged so it contains a lot of the recipes I remember from my childhood. The pictures really look like some of our family meals. 1001 Recipes and McDougall’s Centenary Cookery Book are like two ends of my cookery life so far. But that story is for another time. Here’s my version of the recipe:

6oz brown sugar
4oz unsalted butter (not marg)
2 eggs
8oz peeled ripe banana (2 – 3 bananas)
grated rind of 1 lemon, plus its juice
8oz self raising flour
Pinch of mixed spice
Pinch of baking powder
(book says 3oz apricots and 2oz of walnuts but I don’t bother with this)

1. Grease a small loaf tin. Preheat oven at gas mark 4 / 180 C.
2. Mash bananas and lemon rind and juice together.
2. Cream fat and sugar then add the eggs slowly.
3. Fold in banana mixture.
4. Sieve in flour, spices and baking powder. Fold together.
5. Turn into loaf tin and bake for 50 mins. Cool in tin for 10 mins.

Do it in this order – ie don’t just mix all the ingredients together like I did once – or it doesn’t come out right. By the way, I thought it was kind of cool that I went under the funeral twice today. It del quietly subversive.

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