If you’re of a similar age to me you will no doubt recall that one of the best investments you could make with your weekly pocket money was a tube of Toffos. I don’t think they still make them but they were individually wrapped round toffees. The connoisseurs’ choice was, of course, the assorted tube as it contained the holy grail of toffos – the banana toffo.
‘Now this is all very interesting and we’d love to hear more of your reminiscences of sweets past, but what’s it got to do with cake?’, I hear you ask...good question. The answer is that one bite of this cake dredged up all that dormant Toffo love. This cake tastes of banana toffos!
This is real comfort food cake – the soft sponge is moistened by mashed bananas and to add some bite there is a centre layer of sliced banana and chopped walnuts. I chose to serve it with clotted cream but was very tempted to make some custard cream in homage to the old nursery food favourite of bananas and custard. In the end the clotted cream won out – it seemed to call to me from the supermarket shelf much in the same way that San Francisco did to Tony Bennett.
It’s not a light cake – you know you’ve eaten it. The best way to describe the texture is to say it’s like banana bread pudding. It’s not dense or heavy but is pleasingly substantial.
3 ripe bananas
150g soft brown sugar
75g unsalted butter
250g self raising flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
50g walnuts, chopped
To sprinkle on top, once baked: 1 teaspoon each of cinnamon and caster sugar
How to make:
- Preheat the oven to 190°C/fan oven 170°C/375°F/Gas mark 5.
- Line a 20cm round cake tin with baking paper.
- Mash two of the bananas in a small bowl and stir in one tablespoon of the soft brown sugar. Put to one side.
- Gently heat the remaining soft brown sugar and the butter in a saucepan until the butter has melted. The mixture will be gritty but that’s fine – you’re not looking to melt the sugar. Put to one side to cool slightly.
- Place the flour and cinnamon in a large bowl and make a well in the centre.
- Beat the eggs into the slightly cooled butter/sugar mix and then pour into the flour mixing all the time.
- Stir in the mashed banana and spoon half of the batter into the prepared cake tin.
- Slice the remaining banana and arrange over the batter. Sprinkle the walnuts on top.
- Spoon the rest of the cake batter on top and level the surface.
- Bake for 50-55 minutes of until a skewer comes out cleanly. Mine took 50 minutes.
- Leave to cool in the tin on a wire rack.
- Sprinkle with one teaspoon each of cinnamon and sugar.
- Serve with either clotted cream or custard cream.
- Bask in glory at the wonderful thing you have made.