Saturday, 22 September 2012

Rich Milner: Banana and Blueberry Cake

Rich Milner is a Yorkshire-based comic who runs a fantastic night, Square Hole Comedy, in Sheffield. This night has free cake included in the ticket price. I have sampled this cake and can confirm it is excellent - Callum.

I'm going to tell you a recipe that is not my recipe and you can find the original here. I make this nearly every month for the comedy night I run and people eat it and say THIS IS GOOD CAKE, DID YOU BAKE THIS YOURSELF?! I don't know if their incredulity is down to gender stereotyping or just the fact that they don't realise how easy baking a cake actually is because they are as ignorant as I was before my girlfriend linked me to this recipe. I like cooking things that only require one receptacle. A good example of this is stir-fries or poos. You literally just put it all in a wok or chamber pot. Cakes are cooked according to a similar principle. You literally just put it all in a tin. Unless you want to skip the last step and just eat the whole cake mixture out of the bowl. I highly recommend this option if you don't hate yourself enough already. If you already adequately hate yourself, put it in the oven and do some cognitive behavioural therapy until a skewer or knife poked into your tortured heart comes out clean.

You can probably do this cake in a variety of tins. You could make little cupcake type efforts out of it or whatever. Don't do that. Just use a loaf tin. This is a banana cake which is commonly called 'banana bread', so the loaf tin is the appropriate container to bake it in if you want to be able to legitimately make Nutella sandwiches out of it. If it's bread you can make sandwiches with it, right? Correct, so eat them for breakfast and brench, which is the meal between breakfast and brunch. If you find that you start to feel less healthy as a result of this diet have some yogurt drinks and do a fun run.

It makes it loads easier to remove the cake from the tin without bits sticking to it if you grease it with butter or margarine and line it with baking parchment. When you're greasing the tin, imagine you're one of those people who fancies inanimate objects and it makes it loads sexier. If you really are an objectophile only do this if you and your iPhone are in an open relationship. It will be prepared for being swapped for a younger model as part of its planned obsolescence but if you have an affair with a loaf tin from Poundland it will check you into rehab on Foursquare.

For the parchment cut a long strip to cover the bottom and ends of the tin. You could probably get away without lining the sides of the tin and just sliding a butter knife down the sides but you might scratch the tin and it is quite satisfying peeling the parchment off the baked cake, like pulling gauze off a seeping 2nd degree burn.

Turn the oven to gas mark 4. Make sure you take any other crap out of your oven because I hate it when people leave unused trays and stuff in the oven while things are cooking. I'm not sure there's any valid reason why, but do they need to be in there? No. They don't need to be cooked too so take them out, put them on the side and then put them back afterwards. Is it really that much of a chore? I bet you don't stack dishwashers properly either.

You're supposed to use 2 large or 3 medium ripe bananas, but you don't always have ripe bananas lying about, do you? Sometimes you've only got fresh ones that you bought that day because you thought AARRRGGHH I NEED SOME NUTELLA SANDWICHES ON BANANA BREAD and went and fetched some there and then. If you've only got fresh ones squish them with a fork straight away and put them to one side. It might just be my imagination but the mushy mass seems to ripen up a bit if left for a few minutes. If you've got some ripe ones, squish them after you've mixed the butter and sugar and put them straight in. Incidentally, if you do have a few too many bananas lying around and don't want to bake a cake, slice them and put them on a plate in the freezer. Frozen banana slices are quite nice to snack on, a little tip for you there which I learnt that whilst plotting the perfect murder (why worry about disposing of the blood-stained murder weapon when you can just eat it?).

You need 4oz of butter or margarine. I use Clover but I don't think it makes much of a difference. 4oz is 113.398 grams so get that measurement exactly right or your cake will be ruined and I will hunt you down in vengeance for ruining this recipe. I'll put a sharpened banana in the freezer and stab you with it. Death by banana. I hate things that are called 'death by'. It's typically 'death by chocolate'. It's too melodramatic for most people and too insensitive to diabetics. But I will stab you the to the actual death with my banana blade and then eat it. Luckily for you that is an empty threat; you could probably get the measurements wrong and the cake would still taste nice. I once baked a tray of brownies and completely got the measurements wrong and it erupted and spilled all over the oven and was just a mound of chocolatey brownie mush and I took a spoon to it and it was incredibly nice and no one died. Well, a bunch of people probably died in wars and from hunger related disease but I was eating a chocolate mountain so I wasn't even pretending to care that day. Perhaps that's what death by chocolate really means; the satisfaction of knowing people are dying while I get fat.

Cream the butter/marg with 6oz/170.098 grams of regular old sugar in a biggish bowl. It makes it easier if your butter/marg has been left out of the fridge for a while. When that's pretty soft and smooth, crack two eggs in and mix it together and then mix in the banana sludge. At this point I like to take a moment to recall something painfully embarrassing that I did once and wince a little, as I do at regular intervals throughout the day, but this is entirely optional. Then I add the flour 8oz/226.796 grams incrementally, adding a bit at a time, like you do when making your body immune to the poison of a venomous snake, until smoothish (some little lumps are fine).

Like one of the commenters on the original recipe's website suggested, I started putting blueberries in it. I did use fresh blueberries but they're relatively expensive and frozen blueberries are not only cheaper but also seem to be better for baking. Defrost at least partially beforehand or briefly in the microwave and give them a little squish. Tip them in and fold them in thoroughly and you're done making the mixture. Pour it into the loaf tin and stick it in the oven for 40 minutes and then turn it down to gas mark 2 and leave for another 30 minutes. Poke a skewer or knife in like I said and if the mixture sticks to it all sloppy like it isn't done yet. Put it onto a wire rack if you've got one and let it cool a for a little while. If you've lined the whole tin you should be able to just turn it upside-down and it'll fall out. Peel the parchment off and savour how good that feels. Your cake is baked. Now you will not have to learn to be a good MC and when you're dying of verbal masturbation can just say HOW'S THAT CAKE WORKING OUT FOR YOU HERE'S THE NEXT ACT.


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