Tag Archives: banana


24 Mar

This time the challenge came from my younger son, Peter, who dreamed up the idea of the  ultimate combination of all his favourite things in one cake. Bannoffee pie meets cheesecake meets Nutella. What could I do? Obviously it had to be attempted.




After three months of not baking or even eating anything cake-like I wasn’t even tempted to lick out the bowl or my fingers as I proceeded, so I’m pleased with myself twice over. Firstly for accepting and executing the challenge, and secondly for having one small slice of the finished product and not feeling inclined to pig out on any more.

To make this overindulgent concoction I started with a biscuit base, using about twenty amaretti biscuits, finely crushed and mixed with 50g melted butter. Spread this onto the base of a 23 cm round springform tin and bake for about ten minutes at 180 C to set and crisp up the base. Here’s a little tip – wet your hands under cold running water, shake off the excess then use your cool, damp hands to spread and flatten the biscuit crumbs. Much easier than the back of a spoon.

Remove from the oven and leave to cool on a wire rack for about 15 minutes while you prepare the cheesecake filling.

Place 500 g  of Philadelphia (or similar cream cheese) into a blender along with a big blob (about 100 g ) of Nutella, three eggs, 170 ml soured cream, 3 Tablespoons self-raising flour and 175 g golden aster sugar, and whizz until smoothly blended.


When the base is cool. slice 2 large bananas and place on top of the crumb base.



Then spread half a tin of caramel over the bananas. Keep the remaining half to use later.



Now pour on the smoothly delicious cheesecake mixture. it will be rather runny at this stage. Carefully place on the middle shelf of the oven and bake for 45 minutes to 1 hour. Keep an eye on it. You want it too be set in the middle but not dried out.


Leave to cool on a wire rack.  Make sure it is completely cool (I left mine overnight) before decorating . Spread the remaining half tin of caramel on top of the cooled cake. Swirl in a bit of Nutella if you wish, or just finish with a big blob of the stuff. Slice another large banana, sprinkle it with lemon juice to preserve its colour, and use the slices to decorate the top of your cheesecake.

Probably best eaten on the day. I’m not sure how well this will keep – it will probably go a bit gooey. It’s rich and decadent and a little goes a long way, but my sons and their friends gave it the thumbs up, and that’s all that matters.




Banana and Poppy Seed Cup Cakes

13 May

Banana and Poppy seed cup cakes

Yesterday was one of those tidy-out-the-baking-cupboard days. From time to time it becomes essential to have a good old tidy out, chuck out the items that are past their best or past their sell-by dates, rescue long-forgotten gizmos lurking a the back, and generally have a good old spring clean.  So it was that I discovered the following : 2 packs of poppy seeds, both open, both half-used; two packs of pistachio nuts, ditto; three open tubs of bicarbonate of soda – why?; two unopened tubs of Italian mixed peel – what was I planning?; three full bags of flaked almonds; countless little packs of this and that, nuts and fruits and decorations. Clearly the time had come for a) a sort out and b) a decision to do something with all the bits. So today I tackled the poppy seeds and came up with the following recipe, a kind of variation on the banana loaf theme, this time as cupcakes. Nice and quick and simple, an all-in-one recipe with minimal washing up, which results in a moist and tasty cupcake equally delicious iced or un-iced.

This quantity made 24 dainty little cakes. You could easily make about twelve larger ones, but I rather like them small. That way you can have two, and as they contain bananas, you can feel a teeny bit healthy and smug whilst you eat them.

Preheat the oven to 180 C and line a cupcake tin with 24 (or 12) paper cases


2 large, ripe bananas, mashed
175 g butter at room temperature
175 g self raising flour
175 g soft brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 tablespoons poppy seeds
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon


  1. Place all the ingredients – yes all of them – in  a large bowl and beat well until smoothly combined. You can do this more quickly in a food processor if you wish, or just enjoy using some elbow grease and beat the daylights out of the mixture by hand 🙂
  2. Plop tablespoonfuls into each paper case. About 2/3 full should be fine as they will rise a little.
  3. Place in the oven and bake for twenty minutes before peeping.
  4. Mine were ready in twenty in minutes but if yours need a little longer kleep an eye on them. You want them lightly browned and springy to the touch.
  5. Leave to cool on a wire rack, and if you wish stop at this point and wolf them down with a cup of coffee.
I topped mine with a little butter cream and a sprinkle of cinnamon but honestly they didn’t need icing. I just fancied indulging. As always.
So if you wish to here’s what you need:
150 g softened butter
300 g sifted icing sugar
a little ground cinnamon

Whizz the butter and icing sugar together in a processor or beat by hand, which is very satisfying.
Pipe a little onto each cake, or just swirl it on with a palette knife, then sprinkle on a little cinnamon.

Banana and Poppy Seed Cup Cakes

I’m going to dedicate these cupcakes to my lovely friend Zara who has recently been bitten by the baking bug 🙂

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