Today I tried this recipe of my grandmother’s:
4 oz / 115g butter or margarine
4 oz / 115g castor sugar
4 oz / 115g flour
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch bicarbonate of soda
Cream fat & sugar.
Beat in eggs one at a time.
Fold in sifted flour and baking power.
Mash banana, add bicarbonate of soda. Add this to sponge mixture & mix well.
Put into 2 tins.
Bake 30 mins at 375˚F / 180˚C.
Well, I reduced sugar to 65g-70g and it was still way too sweet, perhaps because I used one and a half very ripe Pisang Raja bananas (my favourite kind!). I also used organic raw cane sugar instead of castor sugar, which doesn’t ‘disappear’ into the creamed mixture as normal white castor sugar would, but that wasn’t a problem and didn’t affect the final success of the cake.
The quantity in the recipe is very little – only enough for half a loaf tin, not two tins! Unless very small ones of course. I would probably make 3 times this quantity next time.
Actually I made the recipe twice over. The first time with half plain flour/ half wholemeal, second time with all wholemeal flour instead of plain flour, and was surprised how successful it was! Not as heavy as I expected, the cake rose nicely and had an unusual nutty edge to it. I’ll definitely go all wholemeal in future.
Making it twice also made me realise the importance of incorporating the eggs slowly and thoroughly, and folding in the flour gently. The results were successful both times, but the second round did seem to rise a little better. This isn’t quite my rough-and-ready, foolproof wholemeal muffin recipe!
Next time round, I might try using olive oil instead of the butter, and reducing the amount (it was a tad oily this time), as well as using only 30g of sugar.
NB (21/7/07): Every time I’ve made this recipe I’ve had a problem at the egg-adding stage. Have finally got round to diagnosing the issue and found this very useful explanation from Joy of Baking:
You may have noticed that there may be curdling of the batter at this stage. This is particularly so when the recipe is for a high-ratio cake. This is caused by the addition of more liquid (eggs) than the batter can handle at one time. Once the flour has been added it will smooth out the batter so don’t worry. One solution is to add the eggs to the batter more slowly as opposed to one egg at a time as most recipes state. Lightly beating each egg first and then slowly adding the egg down the side of the bowl as the mixer is running will help. If you see curdling, stop adding the egg and beat the batter a little to smooth it out before continuing the addition of more egg.
It’s also very enlightening to read this explanation of how the creaming technique works.