Hard to believe it, but a year ago today the (not so) wee Stashlet arrived on the scene. A week late and reluctant to make his appearance to the very end, the threat of a Cesarean finally got him moving. I never wrote that post about the whole labour-experience-thingy, mostly because I never had time and it would have been far too long to keep anyone's interest apart from mine. Suffice to say, I came out of it with a bouncing baby and the knowledge that apparently I have very good pelvic geometry.
Anyway, we're here today to talk about birthday cake, so let's do that, shall we?
I wasn't going to make a cake. We don't really do birthday's here at Stash Towers, and I know this makes me sound like a bad mother but Stashlet is far too preoccupied with throwing saucepan lids around the kitchen and freaking out the cat to notice that it's his birthday. But then my aunt phoned out of the blue all the way from Zambia to wish Stashlet happy birthday and said "you must send me photos of his party", and with no party and no cake I was suitably emotionally blackmailed into baking. That really makes me sound like a bad mother.
Moving swiftly on...
It's another recipe from the Baby Led Weaning Cookbook. One that I hadn't tried before, and was a bit dubious about because I'm not a big fan of banana cake, but then I said that about the BLW muffins and they turned out to be a total winner (and in trying to find the post about them to add a hyperlink, I've just discovered that I never blogged about them, so I'll have to add them to the to-do list...).
This turned out to be good too. Be warned it doesn't rise much, and it possibly doesn't keep very well (it's very moist) but you only get a small cake so easy enough to eat in one sitting. The rest of ours has gone in the freezer so that my mother can have some when she comes to visit next month.
from the Baby led Weaning Cookbook
butter or oil for greasing
100g (3½oz) self-raising wholemeal flour (or use plain flour and add 2 tsp baking powder)
½tsp ground mixed spice
50g (2oz) butter (preferably unsalted)
75g (2½oz) raisins (or chopped figs)
200g (7oz) ripe bananas (that's pretty much 2 bananas)
50g (2oz) walnuts, ground or finely chopped)
1 egg, beaten
200g (7oz) cream cheese
50-100g (2-3½oz) 100% fruit spread or jam
Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/gas mark 4, and lightly grease a 450g (1lb) loaf tin.
Sift the flour into a large bowl and add the spices. Cut or break the butter into small cubes and add it to the flour.
Using your hands, a pastry blender, or a food processor, rub the butter into the flour until the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs. Stir in the raisins (or chopped figs) and make a well in the centre of the mixture.
In a separate bowl, mash the bananas, add the walnuts and stir in the egg. Pout the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold in.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and put it in the oven. Turn the oven down to 160C/325F/gas mark 3 and bake for 45-60 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Remove the tin from the oven and allow to cool for 5-10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to finish cooling.
Serve plain, with creme fraiche, or natural yoghurt, or covered with the topping. To make the topping, combine the ingredients thoroughly (using a blender or food processor if the jam is lumpy) and spread evenly over the cake.
- I hardly ever grease tins these days - I'm a total parchment convert. It's brilliant stuff - if only you could use it in ring tins
- I soaked the raisins in milk for about 15 minutes because they were a bit on the dry side (drain the milk before you put them in the cake though)
- It's fine to use salted butter if you're not feeding babies or young children
- I used ground hazelnuts because that was what I had
- I used extra coarse wholemeal flour, again because that was what I had, but it also adds a nice nutty texture
- The idea is that you grind the nuts if your baby can't manage lumps but I think I would grind them anyway because a) I don't like pieces of nuts in cakes and b) I think the overall flavour wouldn't be so uniformly nutty with pieces
- I made a bit of glace icing with icing sugar and orange juice to drizzle over the top rather than the cream cheese topping, and was glad I did because the cake is very sweet and would, I think, be total overkill with cheesey-jammyness on top
- As I said it doesn't rise much so spread the mixture out neatly before you put it in the oven because any peaks or troughs will likely remain so after baking
- This cake probably keeps ok in the fridge for a couple of days but it is very moist so it should be eaten sooner rather than later
It was delicious. Much better than expected. Not overpoweringly banana-y, in fact it reminded me of a coffee cake I once had. Stashlet loved it so for a non-birthday birthday, it was a roaring success. Definitely one to make again.