***DISCLAIMER: This post is as predictable as the end-of-year reviews that appear in the papers and the weight loss adverts that flood our TV screens this time of year. Sorry.***
2012. The year of the Olympics. The Queen's Jubilee. The second and last solar transit of Venus. An extra bank holiday (yippee!). And the year of the donut.
Here is a definitive, you-heard-it-hear-first list of what we'll all be heartily tucking into this coming year.
1) Mood foods are a key new trend. Foods that uplift us. Those that make us happy and stress-free. That'll be chocolate, and, erm, chocolate then.
2) Sandwiches. Or, more precisely, posh sandwiches. Artisan breads, exotic fillings and the no-bread-sandwich*.
3) Talking of which, ice cream sandwiches are thought to be one of the key dessert trends this year. Arguably ice cream sandwiches have been around a little while but this year they too turn all posh on us with broiche bun ice cream sandwiches. Though for me, nothing beats the humble crack of a Viennetta, which still brings such unadulterated joy after all these years.
4) Having gained a big following across the pond, Gelatinas, jelly-like edible paperweights are soon to be seen on a dessert trolley near you. Originally from Mexico these are surely the prettiest desserts but ones which I can assure you I will never, ever attempt on this blog. You need syringes and needles and all sorts. Fancy a go? Check out this video
5) And what, I hear you shout, are deemed to be the new cupcakes this year? Well, a little known French pastry called caneles, which has a soft, custard centre encased in a caramalized crust. By all accounts they are famously tricky to bake, but do sound famously delicious to eat...
6) Competing with caneles for the cupcake crown are Alfajores, sweet street food from South America. These are cookies filled with dulce de leche and covered in coconut. Like a sandwich really. Anyone noticing a trend within the trends?
7) Nigella's favourite treat, salted caramel will be seen in everything, from chocolates to cakes to cookies. And probably sandwiches.
8) Vegetables in desserts (celery and fig sorbet anyone?), exotically flavoured homemade marshmallows (how do beer flavoured marshmallows sound?) and regional interpretations of donuts will all be available at the most fashionable of eating establishments.
While this particular recipe doesn't obviously fit into any of the food trends above, with the nifty trick of caramalizing the bananas before adding them to the mixture, it could be argued that it almost fits into Nigella's favourite treat.
Butterscotch Banana Cake
(adapted from Dan Lepard, Short and Sweet)
For the bananas:
150g caster sugar
250g ripe bananas, chopped
1 tbsp unsalted butter
2 tsps vanilla extract
For the cake:
100g vanilla caster sugar
175ml rapeseed oil
3 medium eggs
50g plain yogurt
225g plain flour
2 tsps mixed spice
2 tsps baking powder
half a tsp bicarbonate of soda
1. Line a square 20cm cake tin with non-stick baking paper and preheat the oven to 180C/160C fan/Gas Mark 4
2. Tip the caster sugar and water into a frying pan and bring to the boil. Continue to cook over a high heat until the sugar turns a rich, reddich-golden caramel. Reduce the heat to a gentle simmer, add the bananas, butter and vanilla and cook until the bananas break up in the caramel. Spoon on a plate to cool
3. To make the cake, beat the sugar, oil and eggs until thick. Beat in the cooled bananas and the yoghurt. Sift in the flours, spice, baking powder and bicarbonate and fold this through the mixture.
4. Spoon into the prepared tin and bake for 50 minutes
- I made a few substitutes to the original recipe, adding vanilla infused caster sugar rather than plain caster sugar, replacing the vegetable oil with rapeseed oil for a bit of a healthy alternative and as I'd ran out of wholemeal flour, used all plain flour
- The original recipe, and the history behind it, can be found here on the Guardian website
- I had much difficulty resisting the temptation to scoff the warm caramalised bananas just by themselves... yummmmm
- It did sink a little in the centre on removing from the oven, but often the denser, moist cakes tend to have that habit
* An oxymoron if there ever was