I have a stack full of robust cake recipes that belong to the beautiful brown crumb family and just hit the sweet spot - just! I love a cake that you can take a mouthful of and name at least a handful of ingredients in it as you slowly savour it. A cake that is not weighed down by pretty icing and sugar that masks the beautiful flavours that develop as it sits on your counter waiting to be eaten. A cake that can welcome a generous serving of seasonal fruit with open crumbs or become a blank canvas for that jar of jam you made over the weekend. Jude Blereau and I seem to have similar views on the creation of such staple cakes.
I have followed Jude's recipes for almost a decade now and happily hoarded her older cookbooks. Last year at the Sydney launch of her Wholefood Baking cookbook, I was thrilled to meet her in person for the very first time. A generous and happy soul, Jude is a passionate wholefood champion and a staunch supporter of food that celebrates friends and family. In the past few months, I have truly explored her cookbook in every nook and cranny. Jude experiments a lot with robust flours and alternative sweeteners. She is also a big fan of fruit in baking. All the things that endear me more to this gem of a book. In her book she has a certified "buttermilk family tree" that splits into everyday and pretty. I think my alliance to the buttermilk cake belong to the Everydays. It is hardworking and full of mouthy flavour. In this little variation I have added almond meal because I love all my cakes to mimic friands. I have also spiked it with cinnamon and topped it with banana and raw sugar for a tray cake that is almost like a breakfast muffin.
MELBOURNE BOOK TOUR
I will be in Melbourne on May 30 and 31st as part of a quick book tour to promote Tasty Express. Books For Cooks is hosting a special event at Birdman Eating on May 30 (Friday) in the evening with plenty of good food and matched wine. I will be talking about food blogging and everything Tasty Express. Tickets can be purchased here and they include a copy of the cookbook. I would love to see you there. On May 31st, I will be at The Melbourne Good Food And Wine Show at the Myer Stall from 9:00am until 3:00pm. We have a special breakfast lined up and two cooking demonstrations. I will also be signing books. If you are headed to the show, make sure you stop by and say Hello!
BUTTERMILK BANANA TRAY CAKE
adapted from Wholefood Baking by Jude Blereau
A solid recipe for an everyday alternative to a butter cake, made tangy with buttermilk. This cake is not too rich, has a beautiful moist crumb and is perfect for topping with seasonal fruit or layering with homemade jam. Great when stale and toasted as well.
Serves - 8
11/2 cups white spelt flour
1/2 cup coarse hazelnut meal
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 cup raw sugar plus extra to sprinkle
pinch of salt
125g softened butter
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3/4 cup buttermilk
2 ripe bananas, sliced
icing sugar to dust
Pre-heat oven to 180C. Grease a 23cm x 15cm (base measurement) metal tin and line it with baking paper hanging over the edges.
Mix flour, hazelnut meal, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon, sugar and salt in a large bowl. In a separate bowl, beat butter, eggs and vanilla extract with an electric mixer for a couple of minutes until pale and creamy. Add the buttermilk and beat briefly until combined.
Tip the dry mixture in the wet mixture and beat for a minute until smooth. Spoon batter in to the prepared tin and smooththe top. Arrange banana slices on top and sprinkle with extra raw sugar.
Bake in pre-heated oven for approximately 30-35 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely in tin. Dust with icing sugar before serving.