Great Banana Bread Bake Off

I spent a lovely afternoon in Vanessa Kimbell’s kitchen this afternoon where we decided to have an impromptu banana bread bake-off to use up some over-ripe bananas she’d got.
I chose to go with my very trusty (and fail safe) Be-Ro recipe, whilst Vanessa chose to follow Mary Berry’s.
There was no difference in the quality of ingredients used. All the eggs were free range from Vanessa’s chickens. The flour, (star anise) sugar, milk, Stork margarine and bananas were identical with exception to the quantities specified in the recipes. They were both made using the ‘all-in-one’ method using Kenwood K-Mix machines. Poured into identical greased & floured tins and baked on the same oven shelf for an identical amount of time.
From the start, my cake looked a different colour as my recipe called for 1lb of (skin on) bananas, whilst Vanessa’s only wanted 2 whole bananas.
The resulting bake was judged by us both but to add an unbiased twist, was also judged by Vanessa’s husband, Alastair, who had no idea which one of us had baked which loaf. The initial reaction from us all was that one loaf seemed to be richer in colour, darker on the crust, had risen more and smell more intensely of banana. On cutting, from the crumb one was obviously lighter in texture.
The hands down winner was this one…
Which recipe was the winner? Why Be-Ro of course! My mum bought each of my sisters & I our first ever recipe book. Mine was the 35th edition, and since then I have added 3 more, updated versions, to my collection. It was my first ever recipe book & the one that I trust to work implicitly every time.
Thanks to Vanessa for such a lovely afternoon of laughs & baking together, and for letting me bring the winning loaf home to keep my hubby ‘sweet’ as I was later home than planned/promised.

Whitworths Christmas Cake Baking Kit

Review of Whitworths Christmas Cake Baking Kit

I was given one of these by a friend at work today (yes, I know it’s 7th February), but they we’re being sold off in Morrisons from the normal price of £8.00 to the princely sum of 12p!!!! Yes, 12p, as the Best Before End date is February 2012 and she knows I love to cook. With only 180g of butter, 3 eggs and the rind & juice of one lemon to add, I quickly knocked it together after tea tonight. It’s now in the oven for 3 hours at 150C.

The rum soaked mixed fruit smelled amazing and appeared to be nice, moist & clean of stalks. Everything is very helpfully individually bagged & weighed and the preparation instructions were really clear.

Sadly I forgot to photograph as I went along & before I placed it into the oven.  It was really simple though; cream the butter and sugar.  Beat in the eggs.  Stir in the fruit, treacle, lemon rind & juice.  Fold in the flour & spices.  Pour into your prepared tin.

It’s due out about 10:30pm, so (fingers crossed) I will remember to get a picture of it to share with you then.

I will, of course let you know how it turns out.

It’ll be the weekend before I marzipan & ice it (obviously not now in a Christmas theme, but it’ll be suitably decorated, I’m sure).  Until then I will allow it to cool completely before wrapping it tightly in cling film to keep the air out and to keep it fresh.  It’ll then go in a cool place for a few days.

Footnote:  Mine was cooked in an 8″ tin and was baked after 2 hours 35 minutes.  You know when it’s cooked because it’ll start to shrink away from the sides slightly and a skewer or cocktail stick inserted into the centre of the came will come out clean.  It smells VERY good too.

Can’t wait to taste it….