Sunday, 18 October 2015

Banana and sour cream cake

Normally, when I decide to make a banana cake, I never have time to let the bananas fully ripen and I’m left with the Herculean labour of trying to mash rock-hard fruit.  Not this time!  For once I actually managed to mash the bananas without breaking my wrist.

What attracted me to this recipe was the addition of sour cream as it cuts through the richness of the banana.  Often banana cake can be dense and heavy in texture but, like yoghurt, sour cream produces a lovely moist soft sponge. The thin layer of buttercream added a rich, sweetness which was just enough.

The smell of the raw cake mix, and while baking was divine – it was so intensely banana.  The addition of the chocolate chips adds little naughty pockets of sweetness; I used milk chocolate as my palate always favours sweet over bitter.


For the cake:
150g unsalted butter, at room temperature
180g caster sugar
3 eggs
4 medium size very ripe bananas, mashed
120ml sour cream
350g plain flour
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
100g chocolate chips

For the buttercream:
60g unsalted butter, at room temperature
150g icing sugar
1 tablespoon sour cream
1 tablespoon golden syrup – you could use maple syrup or honey if you prefer


Preheat the oven to 180C/ fan oven 160C/ 350F/ gas mark 4.

Line a 20cm round springform tin with baking paper.

Beat together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy – don’t skimp on this stage.  The mix will turn pale and look almost like whipped cream.

Beat in the eggs, one at a time.

Mix in the mashed bananas and sour cream.

Fold in the flour, bicarbonate of soda and chocolate chips.

Spoon into the prepared tin and level the surface.

Bake for approximately an hour or until a skewer inserted into the cake comes out cleanly.  

It is worth checking the cake after 40 minutes as ovens vary greatly.  Mine actually took over an hour and after an hour I covered the top loosely with foil to stop it over-browning.

Leave to cool in the tin for 20 minutes before de-tinning and leaving to cool completely on a wire rack.

Now make the buttercream: beat the butter until it is pale, light and whippy looking.

Add the icing sugar, sour cream and golden syrup and beat until well incorporated – if it looks too thin add an extra tablespoon of icing sugar.

Spread the buttercream over the top of the cooled cake.

Cut into thick slices.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.


Sunday, 11 October 2015

Five hour rice pudding

Four ingredients.  Five hours.  This dish changed me from a person who screwed up their nose at the thought of rice pudding, to a person who will now happily devour a large bowl of the stuff!  I still find most rice puddings pretty yuck but this one is so utterly divine that I will now admit that not all rice pudding is horrible.  If you knew how much I hate(d) rice pudding you would realise that this is a massive concession for me to make!

The oven does all the work; if you can weigh ingredients out and pour them into a dish, you can make this dessert.  The five hour bake filled the house with such a warming, comforting smell that I felt happy the whole time it was baking!  The long slow bake makes the rice so soft and creamy that it’s hard to believe the pudding is made with milk rather than cream.  Forget any hard, lumpy rice pudding you may have had inflicted on you in your youth; this is not in the same league!

Mr CC and I have very different views on rice pudding skin.  To me it is something that should be peeled away and disposed of as quickly as possible; for Mr CC is it manna from the gods!  This situation makes us both happy: I don’t waste anything, and Mr CC gets double the amount of rice pudding skin – that’s the key to a happy marriage, right there!

As the dark nights and colder weather take hold this is the ultimate comfort food.  It’s like eating central heating.  Don’t be tempted to halve the quantities; you’ll only kick yourself once you taste it!  Any leftovers reheat like a dream.  I read an article over the weekend about the Danish concept of hygge; it has no easy translation but means something akin to creating a warm, cosy atmosphere in your home and enjoying the good things in life with good people.  This dessert would very much help to bring some hygge into your life!


125g short grain rice
125g golden caster sugar
1.5 litres whole milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
To serve: jam of your choice


Preheat the oven to 140C/fan oven 120C/280F/gas mark 1.

Have ready a 2 litre deep ovenproof dish.

Place the rice and sugar in the dish and mix together.

Measure out the milk and add the vanilla to it.

Slowly pour the milk mixture over the rice and stir.

Bake for five hours – you need do nothing during this time.

During baking a thick brown skin will form – don’t worry!

Serve hot from the oven with some jam, or at room temperature.  Personally, warm wins every time for me!

The leftovers will keep in the fridge for a couple of days and reheat in either the microwave or oven.

Bask in the glory of the wonderful thing you have created.