C was feeling a little under the weather this week, and, a little melancholy one evening, she decided she needed some comfort food to cheer herself up. 'Comfort food' for C generally entails 'something sweet' - apple crumbles, chocolate cakes, Ben and Jerry's cookie dough and the like - and this week was no exception, with her digging out a Cardamom, Orange and Banana Bread recipe that looked delicious.
A (who suggested we renamed this post 'Food Porn' after tasting this latest batch of baked goods and seeing the pictures) told her it was too good not to share; and so here's the recipe.
|Ready to go into the oven|
You will need:
- 2 oranges 1 sliced, 1 finely zested
- 100g caster sugar
- 120g butter
- 200g light muscovado sugar
- 6 cardamom pods , seeds only, lightly crushed
- 2 eggs
- 260g plain flour
- 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 120ml milk
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
|Straight out of the oven|
- Firstly, you need to prepare the oranges that will sit on top of the cake and give it that interesting appearance. To do this, put the sliced orange (with rind on, of course) with the caster sugar and 100ml water in a saucepan and bring it to the boil, then stir it until the sugar's dissolved. Simmer this for about 10 minutes until the orange rind's cooked and is lightly candied, then leave it to cool in the syrup for a while before draining and leave to one side.
- Next, onto the cake itself! Pre-heat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas 4. Lightly butter a 900g loaf tin (if you're not sure if your loaf tin is 900g, it's worth noting that standard loaf tins generally are). Beat the butter with the sugar until smooth, then beat in the orange zest and the cardamom. The recipe calls for seeds of 5 pods of cardamom, but if you like the stuff feel free to pop in an extra one or two; the flavour will be noticeable rather than just a 'hint' of the stuff, so it's all down to personal choice. Beat in the eggs, one at a time; then sift in half the flour with the bicarbonate of soda and a pinch of salt and beat again. Next, mix in the milk, and then the remaining flour. Stir in the mashed banana and vanilla extract (and add extras such as walnuts if you fancy at this stage).
- Tip the mixture into the loaf tin and level the top. Sit the candied orange slices in an overlapping line along the top of the cake. Bake for 1 hour (or until a knife or skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean). Note here that the top may start to brown quite quickly, and before the cake's done, so have some foil on hand to cover the top of the cake if this happens. Allow to cool in the tin for half an hour before turning it out, and leave it on a wire rack until cold. Then tuck in!
|Orange topping, simmering away|
|And - cooked!|