Nutella Swirl Banana Bread

img_7868

If you’re ever in need of brightening up somebody’s week, bring them this loaf of banana bread. This Sunday I baked a Nutella Swirl Banana bread, for no reason other than the fact I had 6 over ripe bananas wasting on my kitchen side and I had that baking urge. I posted a photo on my social pages and got quite possibly my biggest response to a bake.

I totally understand why though, it’s one of those magical bakes which even the most amateur baker can whip up so I’m not surprised to hear it has become popular in cuisines all over the world.

This couldn’t make me happier because as somebody who hates waste, baking Banana Bread is giving bruised black bananas the opportunity to shine and backing this opportunity all the way is supermarket chain, Sainsburies.

I learnt recently that as a country we throw away 162 million bananas a year all of which are perfectly edible. As a result of these findings sainsburies are using bananas not purchased in their stores to make banana bread and I think we all need to be a bit more Sainsburies!!!

There are so many different recipes, ingredients and methods behind the perfect Banana Bread. Should you use chopped, pureed or squished banana? Wholemeal flour or plain white flour? Honey or sugar? The answer depends solely on your preference. Using honey and wholemeal flour give you a healthier alternative but if you’re adding Nutella and chocolate like I am here you’ve lost all hopes of attempting to be healthy. That being said I am all for the “Better for you” alternatives so will look at putting together another recipe that’s exactly that.

Until then I promised to post the recipe to Sunday’s Nutella Banana Bread, so for all you fans grab those brown bananas and let’s get going.

img_7866

img_7869


Makes | 1 loaf

Preparation time | 20 minutes

Baking time | 40 -55 minutes


4 over ripe bananas

1 ripe banana – cut in half

1tsp vanilla essence

100g butter melted

2 large eggs

175g light brown sugar

250g plain flour

1tsp baking powder

100g dark chocolate chips

100g Nutella


Preheat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan) and grease and grease a loaf tin.

In one bowl mash together 4 over ripe bananas and melt the 100g butter in a pan. Mix the eggs and melted butter with the bananas then add the vanilla essence. Leave this wet mix to one side.

In a separate bowl mix the flour, light brown sugar and baking powder together then add the wet mix to it, stir until just combined to create your banana bread batter.

Stir in the chocolate chips and melt the Nutella down in a pan over a low heat or in the microwave.

Pour the Nutella into your batter and swirl together before transferring quickly to your loaf tin, then peel and cut the ripe banana in two and rest one half on top of the mixture. Sprinkle with a little brown sugar and bake for 45 – 55 minutes or until a cake tester comes out clean.

The remaining half of banana can be enjoyed with a few spoons of Nutella while you patiently wait.

This bread can be enjoyed at room temperature or lightly toasted on its own or with a generous helping of Nutella.


Storage

It will keep for 3 days at room temperature or up to 7 in the fridge.

If you want to make several loaves, these will freeze well for up to 6 months. I like to cut mine into slices first and wrap them in cling film, this way I can simply defrost them per slice by leaving overnight on the kitchen side or toasting it.

Let me know what you all think. I think I’ll be making more versions of this so keep your eyes peeled.

Cake Fit for a Queen Launch with Tesco Finest

IMG_4228

IMG_4225

I learnt a valuable lesson last week, suitable in both life and in baking. I’ve always been aware of it, but pressure has never been my strong point. My perfectionist nature means I like to bake with precision, however, when you’re given 30 minutes to decorate a cake in competition with 12 other bakers, both time and perfectionism take a huge backseat. Just sometimes, these moments are worthwhile, as its when I’m reminded that baking isn’t just about creating the perfect cake; it’s about how much fun you have doing it.

This epiphany came to me last week when I had the pleasure of joining the team at Tesco Finest team in London for a Cake Decorating Masterclass, hosted by award-winning master patisser Eric Lanlard.

Eric’s outstanding baked creations and impressive list of clientele, including The Queen Mother, have earned him an international reputation. A reputation such as this is not one to be ignored and with his history baking for royalty and The Queen celebrating her 90th birthday this year, it’s no wonder Tesco Finest asked him to create them a “cake fit for a queen”.

Keeping back from the traditional union jack designs, Eric wanted to create a masterpiece worthy of the royal seal of approval and inspired by the Great British summer parties for which Her Majesty is renowned.

The result? Two layers of enticing pink velvet sponge, sandwiching a rich decadent chocolate layer all glued together with sweet raspberry conserve. The sponge is then wrapped generously in white chocolate buttercream, made using Tesco finest Madagascan white chocolate, and is crowned with a pink white chocolate drip and wait for it….Prosecco buttercream roses sprinkled with a fine dust of edible glitter.

Now if any of this sounds too sweet for you, think again. The sponge cake is flavoured so perfectly that is cuts through the sweetness of the white chocolate, better still this allows you to taste the gorgeous procecco flavour of the buttercream swirls.

Eric Lanlard

IMG_4220

Following a short introduction to himself, his history and of course his creation, Eric took us through some of the basic steps of cake decoration as we all watched in awe. Of course the undecorated layers on sponge laid out in front of us were not there for props, as it was revealed to us that we would be competing with each other to create our very own masterpiece fit for a queen.

From the word ‘GO’ the gloves were off and all 12 of us were frantically dashing around our benches, covered in glitter, food colouring and buttercream. Sadly my masterpiece was not a winner but I’ve never laughed so much in a kitchen and it was so great to see how creative everybody became. I also finally learnt that there really is no such thing as too much buttercream.

The limited edition Tesco Finest Cake Fit For a Queen hits 532 Tesco stores nationwide this Friday 3rd – 16th June and at just £10, it’s the perfect way to celebrate the birthday of our longest reigning monarch in true British style.

Disclaimer: I was invited to the Tesco Finest Launch event but was not asked to write this post. This is not a sponsored post and I was not paid in any way. All impressions and opinions are my own.

IMG_4232

IMG_4231

IMG_4210

IMG_4212

Make this perfectly pastel Speckled Egg Easter Cake

IMG_2061

Colourful sponge tiers, be they ombre or sweet dusty hues always give me that wow factor. 

Ice in pastel pantones, then decorate with flare and that all important chocolate drip and there before you will stand the perfect Easter table centrepiece. 

I’ve seen many forms of this design splashed across Pinterest or magazine covers so I won’t try to pass this off as my own glorified design. However instead of coping one, I decided to combine all my favourites together and I am so pleased with the result. Now to eat it!! 

Happy Easter Everyone 

IMG_2079


Makes | 1 cake 

Preparation time | 1.5 hours

Baking time | 25 minutes


Ombre Sponge Cake

300g unsalted butter 

300g caster sugar 

300g self-raising flour 

3 free-range eggs 

1 tsp baking powder 

1 tsp vanilla essence 

Pinch of salt 

2 tbsp milk 

1/4 tsp melon food gel 

1/4 tsp claret food gel 


Swiss Meringue Buttercream

150g (5 large) free range eggs

250g caster sugar

340g butter, cubed and cool 

A dot of melon food gel 

1 tbsp coco powder 

3 tbsp vanilla essence

200g dark chocolate 

300g Cadbury mini eggs 


Ombre Sponge Cake

Preheat the oven to 190C/370F and prepare three 6 inch cake tins.

I’m a all-in-one method sponge cake maker so throw all your cake ingredients into a large mixing bowl; leaving the milk and food colouring till the end.

When the mixture is smooth, add the milk and blend until smooth and creamy.

Split equally between three bowls and add your melon food colouring to one and your claret into another. Leave the last bowl plain.

Pour the mixture into your cake tins, smooth the tops and bake for 25 minutes, or until a cake tester comes out clean.

Leave to cool fully before icing.


Swiss Meringue Buttercream (adapted from Sweetapolita)

Add egg whites and sugar into a super clean, grease free bowl and simmer over a pot of water (not boiling), whisking constantly but gently, until temperature reaches 160°F or until the sugar has completely dissolved and the egg whites are hot.

Pour the egg white mix into a mixer bowl and whip until the meringue is thick, glossy, and the bottom of the bowl feels room temperature. Don’t begin adding butter until the bottom of the bowl has cooled.

Switch over to paddle attachment and, with mixer on low speed, add butter cubes, one at a time, until incorporated, and mix until it has reached a silky smooth texture. It may well curdle at this point but don’t worry, keep mixing and it will come back smooth. Add vanilla and food colouring (if adding colour) then continuing to beat on low speed until well combined.


The speckle and drip

Now before we start with the speckle instructions I must disclose that this is the stage where things get messy. But what is baking without a little mess, right?

Prepare your work surface by laying down plenty of parchment paper and taking away all kitchen accessories you wish to keep clean. Regardless you will find specks on your tiles but that’s what a wet dish cloth is for afterwards.

In a small bowl or cup mix together your coco powder and vanilla essence until you have a thin paint.

Lightly dip a very clean, (preferably new), never used for painting, paint brush into the chocolate paint then while holding the brush with one hand use your other hand to flick the bristles with your fingers, keeping your brush around 2 inches away from the cake.

Continue specking until your are satisfied with its appearance then leave to dry for 15 minutes.

For the drip, melt the dark chocolate  then pour it all onto the top of the cake. Using a spatula gently smooth it out across the top, easing it over the sides so it drips down.

Decorate with your Cadbury Mini Eggs and serve straight away.


NOTE: Swiss Meringue Buttercream is best served at room temperature