Despite having a ‘to-do’ list as long as my arm before my imminent departure to Brazil tomorrow, I took the time today to make and eat this very untraditional cake for Easter, and I am yet to even start on the Easter eggs. The cake base, or top depending on which way you think about it, is flavoured with lemon and thyme, whilst the banana slices on the top are held in place by a thyme-infused caramel. This may sound a bit like I have gone over the top with the thyme, but I think it adds just a little something to an otherwise sweet as can be cake. I would recommend you take the thyme to try this cake.
About 3 bananas
330g caster sugar
4 tablespoons water
180g unsalted butter
200g plain flour
2 1/2 teaspoons of baking powder
zest of 2 lemons
juice of 3/4 lemon
1 tablespoon golden syrup
2 tablespoons of fresh thyme leaves
3 free-range eggs
1. As this is an upside down cake, its important to do a good job of lining the tin else you will end up with a broken up, banana mush on the top rather than a smooth, neat banana layer. Grease the tin with a little butter and fit a circle of baking parchment into the bottom of the tin- this is where the top of your cake is going.
2. Pull the thyme leaves of the stalk and cut the bananas into even slices. Eat the point end bits because these won’t look right on the cake.
3. I found it easiest to make the cake batter first so I was all ready to go once the caramel had set. However, it is up to you. Cream the butter and 180g of the sugar together until light and creamy. Mix the baking powder with the flour, then alternate between adding an egg, followed by a little flour, followed by another egg and so on until you have added all of these ingredients and have a good cake mix consistency.
4. Add a tablespoon of thyme leaves, a tablespoon of golden syrup, the zest of 2 lemons and the juice of 3/4 of a lemon. Mix well again and leave to one side until you are ready to use.
5. Preheat the oven to 180•C.
6. Heat a pan over a high temperature. Add the remaining 150g of sugar, the 4 tablespoons of water and the remaining thyme to the pan and stir until all the sugar has dissolved. Once it has dissolved STOP STIRRING and watch it carefully as it bubbles. Once it has turned a golden brown, remove from the heat and pour into the lined cake tin, being careful to spread it all over the base.
7. Act quickly, and spread your banana slices so they cover the whole of the base of the tin in a neat layer. Don’t stack them, make sure they are all flat.
8. Wait until the caramel has set slightly, then pour the cake mixture on top of the banana and caramel layer. Bake for half an hour at 180*C. You may need to give you cake a tinfoil hat if it starts to brown too quickly.
9. Once baked leave to cool before turning out the tin. Carefully peel of the baking parchment…and voilà.