Since Saturday or Sunday I’ve developed a horrid sore throat, and as I’m going to be rehearsing for a very full-on musical up to three times a week for the next two months, I thought I’d better do something about it asap. Consequently my new hot drink of choice is honey and lemon, which is the nicest way to soothe my poor croaky voice (in the mornings it drops about an octave – I sound like Arnie Schwarzenegger without the accent) and is by far preferable to Lemsip or anything similar – yuch.
I don’t often have honey in the cupboard so I thought I had better make the most of it by baking Mary Berry’s lovely Banana and Honey Teabread. As always, there were drastically overripe bananas in the house waiting to be taken pity on, and other than that this is a very simple recipe using standard (baking) cupboard ingredients. And if I can have cake that will ‘help’ my sore throat, why not?! Coincidentally, I was also reading a sequence of poems about bees today…it must be fate.
The loaf takes quite a long time to bake because the mixture is so wet, but the process beforehand is so quick that if you have ten minutes to spare then jobs to do, this is the bake for you! I’m coming over all poetic now, too much Yeats. For the topping Mary uses nibbed sugar, but apparently that’s quite hard to get – I’d never heard of it – so she suggests using crushed sugar cubes instead. Nick them from a tearoom, or alternatively leave your bag of sugar in a kitchen cupboard in a student house; it should clump up nicely in the damp. The other thing I really like about this cake is the addition of nutmeg – the flavour really comes through just enough for it to complement the honey but not overpower the banana. Yum!
- 225g self-raising flour
- 1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
- 100g butter
- 225g bananas (I used about 1 and 1/4 bananas)
- 100g caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 6 tablespoons thick pale honey
Step 1. Sift the flour and grate the nutmeg into the mixing bowl. Rub in the butter with your fingers til the mixture looks like fine breadcrumbs.
Step 3. Turn into a loaf tin (greased and lined if not non-stick) and bake in a pre-heated oven at 160C/Gas Mark 3 for about 1 and 1/4 hours, or until a skewer poked into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Step 4. Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then turn out and finish cooling on a wire rack.
Step 5. If you want to add a topping, warm 2 tablespoons of honey in a pan then brush over the teabread when cold. Sprinkle with the nibbed/crushed/damp clusters of sugar and serve. This should keep for a good five days I reckon in an airtight tin.
I would almost be tempted to add a teaspoon or so of baking powder to this recipe as the cake didn’t rise much at all, making it denser than it needs to be – its already quite a heavy cake with the moisture from the banana and honey. I think I’ll be making this again fairly soon though, as I didn’t quite get the actual baking part right, starting off at too high a temperature. In that case I’ll edit the post and let you know of any improvements, or on the flip side, if adding baking powder is really disastrous advice. The other thing I should mention is that Mary’s recipe includes the grated rind of one lemon; I omitted this because I didn’t have a lemon whose rind I could grate, but also wasn’t sure if the citrus here was really necessary. I have a sneaking suspicion that Mary is somewhat biased towards them; lemon drizzle is reportedly her favourite cake, and lemon zest or juice does seem to make an appearance in a considerable number of her recipes in the Baking Bible. We’re onto you, Mary!
That’s all I think, as I said the recipe may be tweaked in the next few weeks so if you’re planning on making it do comment with your suggestions/hang on til I’ve done some trial and error! Back tomorrow with a food fact for the day, thanks for reading 🙂