Monday, 16 July 2012

Dan Lepard's Dark Banana Ginger Cake

I first came across this recipe a couple of months ago when I was looking to make a banana cake for my then mentor at work.  Dan had published a pair of bare banana cake recipes in his weekly column for the Guardian.  Last time I went for the first recipe.  Today it's the second recipe from the column.

183 cals of yumminess
At the time the recipes were published, I was trying to convince my mother that Dan is a bit of a baking deity.  She wasn't convinced despite me raving about all the recipes of his I've baked during this journey.  The weekend the column was published was the first time she'd had a chance to taste one of my Lepard bakes when I made his Cinnamon Cake with Blackberries.  She'd raved so much to her work colleagues about it that they asked for pictures and they then insisted that she try one of his recipes and bring it in for them to test.

In a bout of spooky coincidence, we both made banana cakes on the same day although she made both, I only made the Melted Butter Banana Cake.  Given that it was a week when I was pretending to diet, I didn't actually try my own cake but that weekend, she bought me a small sample of both of hers to try.

Her taste testers, like mine, had wolfed down the Melted Butter one, but were less enthusiastic about the Dark Banana Ginger Cake.  I tried both and had to agree with them.  The dark cake was lacking in something but I wasn't quite sure what.

Queen Abigail, chief banana masher
Until I made the cake myself that is.  Although the husband is on a diet (as am I), he decided that he quite fancied a banana cake.  I used to have a diabetic-friendly recipe that I found on the BBC Food (not Good Food) website from Diabetes UK, but no amount of Googling could turn up the original one and I know my handwritten notes got lost when we moved house.  But Dan's recipe ticked a lot of the boxes.  It uses oil rather than butter and is made from wholemeal rather than plain flour.  Two ticks in the 'vaguely healthy cake' box.

At the outset, I figured the 'healthy' bit was why this cake was less successful in my mum's taste test than the buttery one.  But I have a feeling she possibly tampered with the recipe.  Unlike her own mother, my mother doesn't like ginger.  My grandma adored the stuff.  For me, it's one of those things that I suddenly started liking when just after my grandma passed away.  It was really spooky.  I'd never liked smoked salmon or ginger before then.  And yet around that sad time, I became addicted to those things.

So I think mum omitted the ginger and this recipe absolutely needs it.  I bet if I ask her she'll probably deny it and say she stuck religiously to the recipe.  Maybe she did, but I don't remember chunks of ginger in the sponge.  Plus I cheated and modified the recipe a little myself, adding a teaspoon of ground ginger and a half teaspoon of salt to the batter to bring out the flavour.  And I used stem ginger rather than glace ginger so I poured in the last spoonful of ginger syrup for good measure (the rest having been used in the triple ginger butterflies from Saturday afternoon).

Lots of cake!
If you've read any of my other posts, you'll know I've labelled my husband as having a 'discerning palate'.  When it comes to cake, he's my harshest critic (see some of his other feedback here).  And his scathing Ramsay-esque criticism is no longer exclusively reserved for me.  He recently ate some cheesecake (I won't say where it came from but it wasn't mine) and declared that it was vile and he could make something ten times better.  I'm still waiting to see evidence of his culinary genius - personally, I thought it was one of the nicest homemade cheesecakes I've had in ages, but I'm willing to be dazzled by the husband's cheesecake prowess.

Anyhow, he declared this to be the best banana cake he's ever eaten and that he wants to eat it every day forever.  High praise indeed.  And it comes in at just 183 cals per piece - made in a 20cm square tin and cut into 16 pieces.

Verdict from work colleagues to follow tomorrow.

The original recipe can be found here (it's the second one down)

1 comment:

  1. oooo great post Becks! I have been thinking about changing from my usual go to banana recipe!


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