from Stirring Slowly: Recipes to Restore and Revive
by Georgina Hayden (Square Peg, Vintage)
This cake started out as a gift for my dentist and it got everyone talking - presumably because of the sugar content for a dentist. However, I can report back that they loved it, and not a filling in sight. I've made it a few times since and it's a total winner; my entire family love it and they're a tough bunch to please. It's a great 'gift' cake, as it keeps really well and stays moist for a few days.
150ml olive oil (or other flavourless oil)
½ tbsp good-quality vanilla extract
2 large eggs
75g natural yoghurt
4 large or 5 medium very ripe bananas
a squeeze of lemon juice
100g soft dark brown sugar
60g caster sugar
3 tbsp milk
225g wholemeal or plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
a good pinch of fine sea salt
125g butter, at room temperature
125g smooth peanut butter (or almond butter works wonderfully too)
250g icing sugar
3 tbsp maple syrup
You will need: a 1 litre loaf tin.
Preheat your oven to 180°/gas 4. Line a 1 litre loaf tin with greaseproof paper and leave to one side.
In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the olive oil, vanilla, eggs and yoghurt. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl with a squeeze of lemon juice. Mash in the dark brown and caster sugars, then whisk into the oil mixture and add 2 tablespoons of the milk. Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt into the bowl, and tip in any roughage from the flour that's left in the sieve (if using wholemeal). Fold into the banana mixture with a large metal spoon and pour into the lined loaf tin.
Pop the tin into the middle of the oven and bake for around 50 minutes, until the cake is cooked through. Check with a skewer, but be prepared for a little residue, as the cake is naturally quite damp. However, if it still looks a little raw, pop it back into the oven for a further 10 minutes .
Leave the cake to cool in the tin for around 10 minutes, then remove from the tin and transfer to a rack to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, make the buttercream. Beat the butter and peanut butter in a free-standing mixer (or with an electric hand whisk) for a few minutes until pale and creamy. Sift in the icing sugar, add the remaining tablespoon of milk and beat for a further 5 minutes, until incredibly pale and smooth. If it still feels a little thick beat in a splash more milk, then ripple in 2 tablespoons of maple syrup.
Once the cake is cool, spread it with the peanut butter frosting, drizzle on the remaining maple syrup and it's ready to go.
Photograph: Laura Edwards