This means that I empathise with the contestants on The Great British Bake Off (for those of you who haven't seen the show, it's a baking competition that sees baking experts Paul Hollywood and Mary Berry set tasks for enthusiastic baking amateurs such as me). I particularly empathised with the celebrities who took part in last week's Sports Relief Bake Off. I was once like them, an absolute novice who knew little or nothing about baking - except that I liked eating the end result!
I do think I've improved since then and one of last week's challenges presented me with the perfect chance to see how I measured up. The second programme saw each of the four contestants fail quite spectacularly in their attempts to make Mary Berry's banana and chocolate chip loaf cake
Despite their dismal efforts, I didn't think it looked too difficult. I also thought it sounded delicious. So, I decided to try it for myself.
Here's my result:
A simply scrumptious cake that is perfect for weekend baking - moist as a result of the mashed banana and with the ideal amount of chocolate, enough to give you your chocolate hit without being too decadent for a January afternoon.
And - I don't know what went wrong with those bakers on the Bake Off - it couldn't be easier to make.
I made double the amount in Mary's recipe as my loaf tin is twice as large as the one she uses. This meant that I had to adjust the cooking time but it also meant that I had enough cake to last two people (and several visitors) for the entire weekend - which is surely what a weekend cake is supposed to do.
2 ripe bananas (peeled weight 200g/8oz)
2 tablespoons milk
100g/4oz soft butter
150g/6oz plain flour
150g/6oz caster sugar
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
100g dark chocolate chips (I bought a bar of chocolate and cut it into chunks)
40g dark chocolate chips
1 loaf tin measuring 28.5cm by 13cm by 6cm.
- Preheat the oven to 160C/325F/Gas 3.
- Grease and line your loaf tin with baking parchment.
- Mash the peeled bananas with a fork and add to the milk, butter, flour, sugar, soda, baking powder and eggs.
- Beat the ingredients with an electric hand-held whisk until they have combined and are smooth.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and spoon the mixture into the loaf tin.
- Bake for 50-60 minutes or until the cake is well risen, has begun to shrink away from the sides of the tin and has turned a golden-brown colour.
- Set aside to cool for ten minutes then remove from the tin and leave to cool on a wire rack.
- To decorate, melt the remaining chocolate in a heatproof bowl over a saucepan of simmering water.
- Mary recommends spooning the chocolate into a piping bag and piping zig-zags across the top of the loaf. This is a little too prim for my style so I decided to drizzle it haphazardly instead.
- Now, all you have to do is slice and serve.
This is a cake I would urge everyone to try. It's sweet but not too indulgent, making it perfect for a cold January afternoon. Go on. Have a slice!
I think Mary Berry would be proud of my cake. What do you reckon?