For Mother’s Day this year, I’ve decided to break away from tradition. I won’t be baking a cake that is sharp with lemon or floral with rose - in the stereotypical feminine fashion - but instead I shall be embarking on a more gutsy mission with this banana bread. The tender cake is topped with a peanut butter, bacon fat and cream cheese frosting, finished with caramlised bacon and dark chocolate.
The peanut butter and bacon is inspired by Elvis’ famous (or infamous, depending on your perspective) sandwich - fried with bananas, peanut butter and bacon. It is a combination that on paper is so wrong, but in the mouth it is so right it reduces you to rapture. A cake inspired by the King, made for the Queen of my family.
Ingredients - serves 8-10
For the caramelised bacon
4 rashers smoked streaky bacon
50g caster sugar
For the cake
60g unsalted butter
275g caster sugar
225g (about 2) very ripe bananas, mashed (see note below)
30g sunflower oil
40g smooth peanut butter
3 tbsp bourbon (optional)
1 large egg
225g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp fine salt
1/2 tsp freshly grated nutmeg
For the frosting
75g unsalted butter, softened
75g icing sugar
1 tbsp hot water
150g full-fat cream cheese (fridge cold)
1 tbsp bacon fat
25g peanut butter
25g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
1 x 2lb/900g loaf tin, greased and lined with baking paper
First cook the bacon. Line the rashers on a baking sheet and put into a cold oven. Turn the oven on to 180C fan (200C conventional) and cook for 15-20 minutes until crispy. Drain the bacon fat into a small container to be used for the frosting. Reduce the oven to 150C fan (170C conventional).
For the cake put the butter, sugar, mashed bananas, sunflower oil and peanut butter into the bowl of a freestanding electric mixer fitted with paddle attachment and beat until well mixed - a good 3 minutes. Add the bourbon if using, and the egg and beat until incorporated - don’t worry if it all looks a little split at this stage. Sift in the flour, bicarb, nutmeg and salt, then beat to a reasonably smooth batter.
Tip the batter into the prepared loaf tin and bake for 60-75 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre of the cake comes out clean.
Meanwhile, chop the bacon into small pieces and have a piece of baking paper handy. Set a small saucepan over a medium-high heat. Once the pan is hot add the 50g caster sugar and allow to melt and brown to a dark caramel. Add the bacon pieces and stir to combine, then tip out onto the piece of baking paper. Allow to cool completely - it will become very brittle when cooled.
When the cake is baked, allow to cool completely before making the frosting.
For the frosting, beat the butter, icing sugar and hot water until pale and fluffy - I do this with a handheld electric beater because the KitchenAid is a little big for this small quantity. Add the cream cheese, bacon fat and peanut butter and beat for a good minute until fluffy and smooth. Spread the frosting onto the cooled cake, swirling it as you see fit (are able). Chop the caramelised bacon into bite-sized nuggets, and scatter on top of the frosting along with the chopped chocolate.
This cake, unfrosted, will last for a good week in a very airtight container, or for a good 6 months wrapped in clingfilm and stashed in the freezer.
If your bananas aren’t ripe enough, don’t panic. Just preheat the oven to 180C fan (200C conventional) and put the bananas onto a baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes, or until completely blackened. Allow to cool then peel and mash as instructed.