• 50mls milk
  • 5mls lemon juice
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 25mls water
  • 190g banana slices
  • 70g dried figs
  • 15g butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 175mls groundnut oil
  • 2 large eggs
  • 150g plain flour
  • 75g wholemeal plain flour
  • 2 tsp mixed spice
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda
  • 25g porridge oats

Is traybake the most dull and slightly depressing description anyone ever came up with for a great big wodge of cake? I hate it. I rarely use it. I’m trying it on for size with this post just to see if I like it any better than the last time I used it.

Anyway, to counter balance the slightly depressing ‘traybake’ word I wanted to share a few things that make me happy and joyful:

- A whole Kit Kat finger of solid chocolate.

- Very, very hot tea.

- Successful feeding of ducks and not gulls.

- My eldest son giggling at my youngest son saying ‘poo soup.’

- Parking outside my house.

- Receiving a letter with handwritten words in it.

- Buying something reduced and finding it further reduced at the till.

- Reading a newspaper cover to cover.

- Finding any piece of clothing in green that suits and fits me.

- That just been waxed/threaded feeling. Body part almost irrelevant.

- Suffolk.

- Laughing at a friend who said very loudly in a packed restaurant last Saturday ‘I don’t even have time to have a sh*t alone’. I can only apologise to the lovely table of ladies and gentleman next to us whose luncheon was disturbed by this revelation. You’ll be pleased to know that later on, that very same day, the aforementioned friend did indeed have a sh*t alone. Lucky old her.

Right, enough. Here’s the recipe. It makes an, ahem, traybake, so you’ll need a tray. I used a silicone one about 20cm square so none of that lining and greasing malarky. If you’re using a proper tin then grease and line or risk chipping cake from the sides with a blunt instrument.

This recipe was a meddled with version of this which came as a fabulous baking supplement a few years ago in the Guardian.

Ingredients:

- 50mls milk

- 5mls lemon juice

- 250g caster sugar

- 25mls water

- 190g banana slices (about two bananas)

- 70g dried figs, chopped into six pieces

- 15g butter

- 2 tsp vanilla extract

- 175mls groundnut oil

- 2 large eggs

- 150g plain flour

- 75g wholemeal plain flour

- 2 tsp mixed spice

- 2 tsp baking powder

- 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda

- 25g porridge oats

First take the milk and add the lemon juice. Stir, then set aside to come to room temperature. Preheat the oven to Gas 4/180C.

Next you need to caramelise the bananas and the figs. Take a large frying pan and put 100g of the caster sugar in there with the water. Bring to the boil until the mixture turns a reddish brown. Add the bananas, figs, butter and vanilla extract and fry until the banana pieces start to break up. Take off the heat and set the pan aside to cool down with the contents in it.

Whisk the rest of the sugar (150g) with the oil and the eggs in a large bowl until you have a mix that looks frothy-ish. Set aside. Take another large bowl and sieve both flours, the spice, baking powder and bicarb of soda into it. Set aside.

Add the banana mixture, (syrup and all) plus the lemony milk, to the oily egg mixture. Give it a good whisk. Then sieve the dry ingredients (yes, I know you have already sieved them but you need to do it again) into the wet ingredients bowl. Add the oats to the top and then fold in with a metal spoon. Once everything is combined pour into your prepped tin and bake in the centre of the oven for 55 minutes or until a skewer comes out of the centre clean. Cool on a wire rack and then cut into squares/slices when cold.

The top seems to have an oaty crunch and there’s a slight taste of Parkin to this little beauty. Eat warm, cold, with ice-cream, custard or with a nice cup of very, very hot tea. If you don’t like figs then dates would be nice. Or sultanas, or even big pieces of chocolate. Prunes have just occurred to me too though they’re not for everyone. Mr B for instance has instructed me never to use them.

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