Banana cake with Pecan Crumble

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For Chris’s 30th birthday party on Saturday I wanted to make him a special cake and for him when thinking of a simple, yet delicious celebration/tea time cake (which we both prefer), there was just one cake on his mind, the classic Banana cake with Pecan Crumble. It has become his birthday classic since I first made it a number of years ago and when he wants a really special treat this is his cake of choice. It has the homeliness of a banana cake/loaf, whilst the pecans give it a more decadent edge, with the crumble adding a gorgeously crunchy texture, rarely achieved in Banana Cake, adding a comforting reminder of so many Sunday Family Roasts. This cake was made even more special because my fabulous friend Rebecca lent a
hand and personally made the crumble topping!

The secret to this cake is simple; the crumble and the 2 extra egg whites
which provide the additional height necessary to really showcase that
crumble. It is not only a joy to behold but a delight to eat.

As I often do, I found this recipe on the BBC Good Food website, though
this was originally in the magazine (of the same name) issue May 2008.

Ingredients:
250g Golden caster sugar
250g Self raising flour
140g Pecans , roughly chopped
1 Tbsp Butter
2 Eggs , plus 2 egg whites
3 Large ripe bananas , or 4 small
mashed
150ml Sunflower oil
100ml Milk
1 tsp Cinnamon
1 tsp Baking powder

Method:
1. Heat the oven to 180C/fan 160C/gas 4, and line the base and sides of a deep 20cm (8 inch) loose-bottomed cake tin with baking parchment.
Warning: if it’s not loose-bottomed you will have fun trying to get this out of the tin!

2. For the crumble topping stir together 2 Tbsp each of the sugar, flour and chopped pecans (I blitzed mine in the food processor for 30 seconds), then add the butter, cut into a few pieces, and rub together (just like Apple Crumble, using only your fingers tips!) until you have sticky crumbs. Set aside.

3. Break up the whole eggs with a fork, then mix with the mashed banana, oil and milk until all the wet ingredients are well combined.

4. In a separate, large bowl tip in the remaining sugar, flour and pecans, and briefly stir with the cinnamon and baking powder.

5. Whisk the egg whites until just stiff.

6. To combine, tip the oily banana mixture into the bowl of dry ingredients and quickly stir in until you have a smooth, lump-free mix. (Shamefully, I completely forgot about this and used the bigger bowl for the wet ingredients, so I tipped the dry into the wet. Whilst not being the recommended method, it had no detrimental effects on the outcome of this cake on this occasion).

7. Finally using a large metal spoon gently fold in the egg whites, then carefully pour the mixture into the prepared tin. Scatter over the topping crumble generously over the top of the cake and bake for 1 hr, until a skewer stuck in to the middle comes out clean. Check the cake after 45 mins, if the surface is browning too quickly cover with another piece of baking parchment.

8. Once the cake is ready leave it in its tin for 5 minutes, then finish cooling on a wire rack.

Do try it! It is a wonderful addition to any birthday or Sunday afternoon tea table!

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