Banana and Honey Roasted Walnut Muffins

*IF* you can get your hands on an elusive pack of flour…
Banana and Honey Roasted Walnut Muffins - The Cardiff Cwtch

I’m pretty sure I was bundled in a fur coat the last time I actually spotted a packet of flour (ANY kind of flour – not just plain or self raising) on the supermarket shelves. Between the panic buying back in early March and then the clear supply issues that sunk in under lockdown, the stuff’s become incredibly elusive. I rinsed through my stores of self-raising pretty quickly – because during the early days of lockdown baking was one of my favourite ways to pass the time – but now that I’m onto my last packet of plain flour I’m having to go easy on the stuff and refrain from frustrated fits of boredom baking. Normally I’d love to get stuck in and mess around making up new and creative cakes and bakes – not feeling too bothered if the result was a flop – but since I’m now having to ration out my flour it’s now only being used on tried and true recipes that won’t waste a single ounce of what is now considered white gold dust.

And well, you just can’t go wrong with a batch of muffins, can ya?

I refuse to accept that the nation’s sick of banana bakes – we’re definitely way off that eventuality in my house. These Banana and Honey Roasted Walnut Muffins are moist, keep well on the counter (if they survive even a day out of the oven – because they smell incredible…) and are almost impossible to mess up. The batter’s light and airy – even packed with three spotty bananas – and spiced with cinnamon, while the top has a little extra crunch thanks to some oven roasted walnuts sticky with honey. Perfect for scoffing yourself, or for sharing out with your neighbours and far-flung family to perk them up during lockdown – which is exactly what I’m going to do when I deliver the weekly shop over to my Mum and Dad tomorrow. 🙂

Banana and Honey Roasted Walnut Muffins - The Cardiff Cwtch - Easy Banana Bakes Muffins

Banana and Honey Roasted Walnut Muffins

makes 12
Ingredients

For the Honey Roasted Walnuts:

  • 60g Walnuts
  • 1 tbsp butter (melted)
  • 1 tbsp runny honey

For the Muffins:

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 150g butter (room temperature)
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 bananas (roughly mashed)
  • pinch of salt
  • 200g plain flour
  • 50g ground almonds
  • 3 tsp baking powder
  • 100ml milk
Banana and Honey Roasted Walnut Muffins - The Cardiff Cwtch - Banana Muffins
Method
  1. Set your oven to 180°C and line an oven tray with greaseproof paper and a muffin tray with muffin cases.
  2. Scatter your walnuts over the baking tray, then cover them with the honey and melted butter. Roast in the oven for 10 minutes, then leave to cool.
  3. In a mixing bowl, cream together your butter and caster sugar – then beat in the eggs until the mixture is nice and fluffy. Stir in the mashed bananas (I like to leave them a little lumpy – makes for a better textured muffin). Sift together your dry ingredients (flour, salt, cinnamon baking powder and ground almonds) in a separate bowl.
  4. Next, add the dry ingredients little by little – alternating with the milk.  Try not to over-mix; leave things a little lumpy.
  5. Spoon the mixture into the muffin cases, then sprinkle each one with a generous helping of honey-roated walnuts.  Bake for 25 minutes until golden.
Banana and Honey Roasted Walnut Muffins - The Cardiff Cwtch - Banana and Cinnamon Muffins

Have a lovely week! 🙂

5 Easy Boredom-Busting Banana Bakes

for when you’ve got a couple of spotty bananas hanging around…

Is it me or has the internet gone banana mad recently? With everyone either in self-isolation or working from home, it seems that we’ve all got a bit more time to boredom bake (and clearly, even when you’re home 24/7, that perfect banana window before they turn spotty is still really easy to miss…). Banana Bread’s always high up on the list for me when I’m feeling a bit bored and fancy baking something, but don’t want to put in a lot of effort (or ingredients) – it’s an easy, crowd pleasing lump of lush, innit? And it’s the perfect kitchen worktop snack for when you drag your butt away from the computer and head off in search of a mid-morning/mid-afternoon snack to go with your tea or coffee (for those who’ve never worked from home before, the 11am/3pm munchies are real and cannot be ignored). But it gets a bit boring baking the same old loaf over and over again, doesn’t it? At some point, you’ve got to mix things up or go banana bread bonkers. So I’ve scrolled the Cwtch archives and found five Banana-themed recipes that are just as easy, just as satisfying and just as boredom-busting as ye olde bog-standard Banana Bread.

Banana and Caramel Upside Down Cake

Sweet, sticky and perfect served warm with ice cream, this Banana and Caramel Upside Down Cake has a moist, cinnamon-spiced sponge and comes topped with caramel soaked sliced bananas. Baked upside down, just make sure you leave it in the tin to cool completely before flipping it upright. 🙂

Banana and Custard-filled Pancakes

A bowl of bananas and custard was one of my absolute favourite desserts as a kid, and I still get just excited today when I find myself with a can of custard and a couple of bananas going spare. It’s one of those stupidly simple yet completely satisfying desserts, innit?  Easy.  Awesome.  And then I had the crazy idea of adding pancakes into the mix. These Banana and Custard-filled Pancakes are easy to make – fluffy buttermilk pancakes with a molten custard middle, topped with fresh, sliced bananas – just freeze some blobs of custard before cooking up the pancakes. Yum!

Banana Crumble Cake

If you’re still in the mood to make Banana Bread but fancy mixing things up just a little, then you can’t go wrong with this recipe for Banana Crumble Cake. Fluffy cake, crunchy walnut crumble topping and a sweet and sticky  cinnamon drizzle.  Banging!

Banana and Chocolate Traybake

There is absolutely nothing fancy about this Chocolate and Banana Traybake. The ingredients are minimal, there are no special moves involved, and you can whip it up in under thirty minutes. It’s also easily adaptable; so if you fancy throwing in a blob of peanut butter, or some walnuts, or adding a sticky caramel layer (see my Banana and Caramel Upside Down Cake) – then go for it!

Banana Bread Icecream

Thank God the weather’s been on side recently for our daily Government-approved walks and exercise – right? It’s been dry, it’s been sunny, and I even walked Bungle without carting around my heavy winter coat yesterday. Rejoice! Time to celebrate with some Banana Bread Ice-cream. If you’ve never made it before then you might be surprised how easy it is to make – you don’t even need a machine, just a blender, a bowl and a freezable container.

Have a lovely Easter Weekend! 🍌🍌🍌🍌🍌

Chocolate and Banana Traybake

Self-Isolation Snack Game: STRONG
Easy Chocolate and Banana Traybake - The Cardiff Cwtch

So, hands up if you’ve spent a good deal of your self isolation so far stress baking. Yup, I can’t seem to stay out of the kitchen. Aside from needing far more snacks than usual to bring to the office (upstairs – what a commute) to feed my coworkers (…my husband and Bungle…), at this point I’ll do pretty much anything to keep my mind off the news for ten minutes. Baking’s always been one of my favourite ways to fill a bit of free time (…and if you come out of it with something delicious to fill your stomach with then even better!) and to be honest, if doing more of that means that I emerge from self-isolation in a few months happy and healthy, then I’ll take that as a win… even if it means my jeans start feeling a bit snug.

There is absolutely nothing fancy about this Chocolate and Banana Traybake. The ingredients are minimal (you probably won’t even need to go shopping to make it), there are no special moves involved, and you can whip it up in under thirty minutes (perfect if you fancy baking a little something during your lunch break). It’s also easily adaptable; so if you fancy throwing in a blob of peanut butter, or some walnuts, or adding a sticky caramel layer (see my Banana and Caramel Upside Down Cake) – then go for it!

Easy Chocolate and Banana Traybake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Cardiff Home and Lifestyle Bloggers

Chocolate and Banana Traybake

Ingredients
  • 150g butter
  • 150g milk dark chocolate (plus extra to decorate)
  • 150g plain flour
  • 50g caster sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 3 bananas

 

…That’s it! Feel free to mix things up and add some walnuts, chocolate chunks or peanut butter into the mix. 🙂

Easy Chocolate and Banana Traybake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Cardiff Food Bloggers
Method
  1. First things first, set your oven to 180°C and line a deep, rectangular cake tin. (TIP: If you always struggle to get your baking paper to sit flat in the tin, rinse your baking paper under tap water for a couple of minutes until it becomes soft and pliable 😉 )
  2. To make the batter, pop the butter and chocolate in a bowl and melt them together in the microwave for about a minute. Set the bowl aside to cool.
  3. In a large bowl, mix together the sugar and eggs. Take one of the bananas and mash it, and then add it to the mix.
  4. Next, pour in the chocolate and butter mix, followed by the flour and baking powder. Stir to combine, but don’t over mix the batter.
  5. Pour the batter into the cake tin. Slice the two remaining bananas length-ways and arrange them on top.
  6. Bake for 25 minutes, then leave it to cool before decorating with chocolate and then slicing into squares to scoff. 🙂
Easy Chocolate and Banana Traybake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Welsh Baking Bloggers

Have a lovely weekend everyone! Stay indoors! 🙂

Banana and Caramel Upside Down Cake

Sweet and Sticky and perfect served warm with ice cream…
Sticky Banana Caramel Upside Down Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch

What a wild weekend, right? Hopefully – wherever you’re reading this from – you escaped the worst of storm Dennis (the Menace). Here in Cardiff we’ve experienced the worst flooding in at least forty years. The Taff was the highest that I’ve ever seen it, Bute Park and Pontcanna Fields became a swamp on Sunday morning, and the water slurped so far beyond its normal level that swans were seen strolling down streets in Grangetown. Thankfully my house is on a hill, but other’s haven’t been nearly as lucky. It’s been a bizarre and sad weekend, and one best spent cosying up indoors with a good book and plenty of cake. Good thing I whipped this baby up on Friday!

I feel like bananas are a bit of a divisive fruit. I know people who will absolutely no way – under no circumstances – go anywhere near them, and then there are those who find them… a’peeling (har de har). I absolutely love them; I’ve always got a few banging around in my fruit bowl – and whether they’re soft and freckled, or practically green, they’re hands down the star of this Caramel and Banana Upside Down Cake. With a sticky, sweet and slightly crisp caramel crust on the outside, the cake itself is moist and crumbly and slightly spiced with cinnamon (and rum, if you’re feeling it!). Topped with sliced bananas, you can scoff it cold, or even better, slightly warmed with either cream, ice cream or custard.

…I know what you’re thinking. “Hey Nia, where’s the rest of the cake?” Well, funny story. Whilst the cake itself is very, very easy to make – you can’t rush it out of the tin (no matter how good it smells!). Which is exactly what I did and I ended up with hot caramel all over my kitchen counter. Oops. Do yourself a favour; leave the cake to completely cool in the tin before you turn it out and flip it onto a plate. 😉

Sticky Banana Caramel Upside Down Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Cardiff Bloggers

Sticky Banana Upside Down Cake

Ingredients

For the Banana Caramel Topping:

  • 100g caster sugar
  • 50g dark muscovado sugar
  • 90g butter
  • 2 tsp vanilla bean paste
  • 2 large bananas sliced lengthways

For the Cake:

  • 150g self raising flour
  • 125g caster sugar
  • 125g softened butter
  • 2 eggs, whisked
  • 150ml yogurt
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 100ml dark rum (optional)
Sticky Banana Caramel Upside Down Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Welsh Bloggers
Method
  1. Set your oven to 170C. Lightly grease a 20cm loose-bottomed cake tin.
  2. To make the caramel, gently heat together the butter, dark muscovado sugar and caster sugar (don’t stir yet!) until melted and combined. Stir in the vanilla bean paste. Pour a little into the bottom of your cake tin, then arrange the bananas (sliced side down) on top. Pour in the rest of the caramel.
  3. To make the cake, cream together the butter and sugar, then stir in the whisked eggs. Sift together the flour, salt and cinnamon, then pour it into the bowl and mix with the butter and sugar. Finally stir in the yogurt (and rum).
  4. Pour the cake batter into the tin on top of the caramel and bananas, then bake for 50 minutes (or until an inserted skewer comes out clean).
  5. Important bit! Lightly run a knife around the edge of the cake, and then leave the cake in the tin to cool (if you release it from the tin at this point then the whole thing will collapse and spew molten caramel EVERYWHERE… Speaking from experience!).
  6. Once the cake has completely cooled, turn it out onto a plate with the bananas and caramel facing up. Serve with cream, custard (or ice cream!).
Sticky Banana Caramel Upside Down Cake - The Cardiff Cwtch - Cardiff Food Blogger

Have a great week! 🍌🍌🍌

Banana Crumble Cake

We had another helping of snow over the weekend, and I don’t about you but I’d already kind of had my fill of it from last time.  In fact there was still a bit of snow left on the ground last week which my Mum very ominously explained was “hanging around for more.”  Ugh.  I groaned and rolled my eyes when I ripped open the curtains on Sunday morning, but the truth is that a heavy helping of snow is a great excuse to:

  1. Trudge to the local newsagent to buy “supplies” (Alllllll the chocolate).
  2. Eat said supplies whilst binge-watching something (Sunny and I discovered Suits a couple of weeks ago and WE. ARE. OBSESSED.).
  3. Bake some banging banana bread.

I probably wouldn’t have bothered had it not been for the snow, but I had a few manky-looking bananas sitting in the fruit bowl looking sorry for themselves and kind of needed a break from Suits (because the theme tune was ringing in my ears and I was punctuating every sentence with “God Damn it!”).  I didn’t fancy making bog-standard banana bread though, so I decided to experiment, and – sweet jesus – the end result was perhaps the best banana bake I’ve ever made.  Seriously.  Fluffy cake, crunchy crumble topping and a sweet and sticky  cinnamon drizzle.  I won’t bother making banana bread again, this will be my go to.  So I guess I can thank the surprise snow for that!




Banana Crumble Cake (with Cinnamon Drizzle)

Ingredients

For the Cake:

  • 250g Self Raising Flour
  • 100g Caster Sugar
  • 3 Ripe Bananas
  • 100g Butter
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 100ml Milk

For the Crumble:

  • 50g Butter (Cold!)
  • 100g Flour (plain or self raising, doesn’t matter)
  • 50g Demerara Sugar
  • 2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 75g Roughly Chopped Walnuts

For the Drizzle:

  • 100g Icing Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Water
  • 1 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  1. Line a deep, rectangular baking dish/tray and set the oven to 180.  To make the cake, sift together the flour, salt and baking powder in one bowl then set aside.  In another bowl, roughly mash the bananas and then mix in the butter, sugar and eggs.  Next, gradually add the flour and milk – alternating between the two.  Pour the mixture into the baking tray, then set aside while you make the crumble.
  2. Now for the messy bit!  In a bowl rub the butter into the flour with your fingers until the mixture looks a little bit like fine breadcrumbs.  Stir in the sugar, cinnamon and chopped walnuts.
  3. Sprinkle the crumble mixture evenly over your cake batter, then bake in the oven for about 50 to 60 minutes (or until a skewer comes out clean).
  4. While the cake is cooling, make the drizzle.  Stir the ingredients together to make a runny icing – adding a little more water or icing sugar until you reach the right consistency. 
  5. Once the cake is cool, drizzle the icing over the top and then cut into squares.  Serve warm! 🙂

Spring’s taking its sweet time this year!  Can’t wait for some warm, sunny weather! 🙂