The weather gods are at it again.
I have no love for snow, but I don't know how much I like the current weather in Boston either. Rain is all good and well, but not so much when it comes at me sideways, and I'd really like to keep my umbrella right-side out, thank you very much.
I'm going to take it as a hint that I should stay indoors and bake.
Though I'm sure there are bakers who would beg to differ, I believe wet, miserable days aren't good days for project baking. They aren't days for pulling out a recipe for profiteroles or a multi-layer torte. Lousy weather calls for a baked good you can eat with your fingers and wash down with a big mug of something warm.
Cream scones. Fresh bread with butter. Banana cake.
Yes, banana cake. Banana bread is a fine wet-day baked good, but "bread" isn't quite the right word for the following recipe. Rich with butter and eggs, generously sanded with sugar and walnuts, it's really more of a cake. It's quick to assemble, and it fills the kitchen with a wonderful scent of bananas and vanilla as it bakes. With a thick slice of banana cake in one hand, and cup of milky tea in the other, the wind and rain aren't quite so bad.
All the same, if you'll join me in setting aside a slice for the weather gods, maybe we'll have better weather next week.
Sugar-Topped Banana Cake with Walnuts
The amount of salt in this recipe - a full teaspoon - isn't a typo. You need a fair amount to balance out the sweetness of the bananas, sugar, and sugar topping.
(Serves one. Leftovers will freeze. They also toast well.)
Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 9 x5 inch or 8 x 4.5 inch loaf pan.
In a large mixing bowl, cream together one stick of softened butter with a half-cup of white sugar. Add one teaspoon of salt and one teaspoon of vanilla, then beat in two eggs, one at a time. The mixture will be thick and look slightly curdled.
Mash three ripe bananas (about 2 cups of banana) in a second bowl until blended, but a little chunky. Fold the bananas into the butter mixture.
Stir in two teaspoons of baking powder, then fold in two cups of flour, followed by half a cup of walnuts. The batter will be fairly thick and sticky. Glop the batter into the prepared pan.
In a third bowl, mix together two tablespoons of white sugar, two tablespoons of brown sugar, and a quarter-cup of walnuts. Sprinkle the mixture over the batter.
Move the pan to the oven. Bake for an hour, then use a knife or skewer to test for doneness. If it comes out sticky, give the cake an extra five to ten minutes.
When done, cool the cake in the pan for five minutes, then carefully turn out on a cooling rack. (Watch out - the sugar topping gets everywhere.) Serve warm or cool with coffee or tea.
Note: You can line the pan with parchment paper for easier removal (lift the cake right out), but the cooking time will be longer.