Upside down [boy you turn me]

It seems everywhere I turn there is an upside down cake being made and consumed. I have always wanted to make tarte tat in but when I saw this dish on, once again Lorraine Pascale’s cooking show, I had to give it a go. I was going to have a break from baking for a little while to concentrate on new jobs and the PhD, but then I went out to dinner. Now I’ve never really been a fan of banoffee, taking two perfectly good flavours and then combining them to create something that has never quite made me want to devour it completely, just seemed a waste of experimental baking time. But then I had the banoffee pie at gourmet pizza in Gabriel’s Wharf, and I’ve clearly grown up, it works! And not only does it work I want more of it, so whilst this cake isn’t banoffee pie, it does use the basic flavour combination. Incidentally I tried whisky again in the same evening, and it wasn’t awful, which for those of you who know me well, will recognize this comment as a departure from my usual description of any kind of whisky as lighter fluid. What a good evening, and it led me to make this (recipe taken from Lorraine Pascale):

Ingredients

The topping

  • 50g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 50g soft light brown sugar

The sponge

  • handful of pecan nuts
  • 150g soft butter
  • 175g soft light brown
  • 4 medium eggs (at room temperature)
  • ½ vanilla pod (or a couple of drops of vanilla extract)
  • 100g self-raising flour
  • 75g whole meal flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 3 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp golden syrup
  • pinch of salt

Bananas

  • 2 small, firm bananas

Method

You will need a 20cm (8in) square cake tin or equivalent tray bake tin, for example 24cm x 20cm x 5cm (9 ½ in x 8in x 2in). Preheat the oven to 180°C, (fan 160°C), 350°F, gas mark 4, with the middle shelf at the ready. Grease and line the cake tin with baking parchment and grease again.

First, make the sticky topping. Place the butter and soft light brown sugar in a small pan over a medium heat. Once the butter is melted, turn up the heat and let the mixture bubble away for a few minutes until it begins to thicken slightly. Stir it frequently so it does not catch on the bottom. Pour the mixture into the bottom of the lined tin and tip the tin back and forth to spread it out evenly (the mixture will eventually solidify in the tin so make sure to spread it out now). Next, tip the pecans onto a baking tray, with a knob of butter and toast in the oven for 5 minutes. Remove the pecan nuts from the oven once toasted and set aside to cool.

Now, make the sponge mixture. Cream together the butter and the sugar in a large bowl, by hand or with a hand-held electric whisk (or freestanding electric mixer) until it becomes a little lighter in colour. Then add the eggs one at time, beating hard between each addition. Split the vanilla pod open, scrape the seeds out and add (or add the vanilla extract). Then fold in both flours, the baking powder, ginger, cinnamon, golden syrup and salt and set aside.

Take the bananas and slice them into 5mm (1/4 in) thick pieces. Arrange them in a single layer in the bottom of the tin. I line them up so they are nice and straight, but of course it is fine to do them in any old order too. Pack them all in tight so they don’t move around once the cake mix goes over, it should look like this:

Bananas in harmony

Roughly chop the pecan nuts and stir them through the cake mix. Now carefully dollop the cake mix over the bananas and gently spread it out with the back of a spoon or with a palette knife, levelling the top to look like this:

Looks a bit like polyfiller, thankfully doesn’t taste like it.

Then pop it onto a baking tray and into the oven for about 35–45 minutes or so to cook.

After the cake has been cooking for 35 minutes, remove the cake from the oven and insert a metal skewer or the blade of a small knife right into the centre (but not touching the bottom). It should come out completely clean. If there is some cakey gooeyness left on it, just pop the tin back in the oven for another 5 minutes or so.

Once the cake is cooked, remove it from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes. Then put a large flat plate over the top of the tin and, holding the tin and the plate, flip the whole lot over so that the tin is now upside down. Gently remove the tin and peel off the baking parchment to reveal your very tasty dulce and banana underneath, voila:

Yum

It was a pretty large cake, so whilst a considerable chunk was destined to be a present for the dinner companion, I cut the rest into individual pieces and distributed amongst the museum lovelies to an overall positive response. The rest was placed in the coffee table Tupperware, and seems to have gone down, so I assume this is a positive response from the housemates too. Its great because its quite a versatile cake, you can have it hot or cold, and once warmed up again is lovely with some cream or toffee sauce. A cake for everyone, except perhaps those with nut allergies.

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