an adventure in good intentions and sugar burning

The moment I walked into the kitchen this morning I was immediately hit with the smell of bananas going off faster than I can eat them. I wrestled with the idea of making banana cake for a while- my inner dialogue went something like “oh noooo….banana cake isn’t healthy and I don’t want to eat lots of cake.  Oh, but I really am sick of smoothies.  Ok, I’ll just look in this cook book and find other recipes with bananas…..oooh look at that banana cake!”  Introducing the Upside down toffee banana cake via my trusty “student cooking” book which tries admirably to make all cooking sound as easy as heating up a can of beans.

For the first time in my cooking life I had to make toffee which involves the boiling of sugar and water.  I’m a pretty messy and inaccurate cook, so I have to admit feeling a little trepidation at the thought of handling boiling sugar. Somehow I managed to keep my cooking zeal under control and didn’t even spill or send the mixture boiling all over the stove top.

Once the toffee was boiled to the point of being caramel coloured I poured it into the cake tin and topped it with sliced bananas.  The whole thing set into a monster version of the toffee kids would break their teeth on at the school fair.

I poured the rest of the mixture over the top and set it in the oven for about 25 minutes. I have to say that this cake puts out the most delicious cooking smells while it’s in the oven with its mix of  banana and spiciness which makes your mouth water.

The verdict? Not quite the culinary victory I had envisioned. somewhere between me feeling triumphant that I didn’t burn myself with the boiling sugar and pulling it out of the oven the toffee became a little burnt.  Not a lot, but enough to add a slightly bitter taste to what is otherwise a spicy, moist banana cake. Note for the future- not all cooking in the student cook book is as clear-cut and unthreatening as it makes it out to be, and perhaps sugar/water chemistry 101 would be a useful adage to the recipe.

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