A nice slice of proper, old fashioned cake here. I love baking these traditional style cakes, you can’t go wrong with them. Its so quick and easy to get together and it is also very cheap. I doubt you’ll be able to cobble a cake together for much less. This recipe is a request from one of our lovely guests at Trigonos, Debbie. It is a Trigonos classic and a variation on Ed’s (long serving chef and all around superhero) recipe that has been served to many thousands of artists, meditators, yoga students etc over the years. One of the best things about it, is its ease in preparation. Never a bad thing when working in a busy kitchen!
I was going to make Jack Monroe’s awesome looking Extra-Wholesome Banana Loaf and will be soon as I am always open to adding coconut oil to cakes. I think its the closest we vegans can get to butter in baking and certainly adds richness and a fuller texture to your favourite slab of sweet happiness. The extra-wholesome element in this cake is the buckwheat. Adding great nutrition and a depth to the flavour of the cake.
PLEASE EAT MORE CAKE:)
Afternoon tea at Trigonos is always a highlight for most of our guests. It seems that this tradition is fast disappearing, maybe Great British Bake Off is reversing the trend a little, but a nice sit down with a cup of tea is a British institution that is dwindling due to our now fast paced lifestyles. I think eating cake is essential to a balance, healthy, blissed out existence. A little sweetness brings a smile. Even if its a piece of fruit or one of the vast array of healthy cakes out there now; no sugar, gluten free etc. We’re making one today actually, something revolving around polenta, garden blackberries and gram flour. Watch this space (idea pinched from the brilliant Laura at Whole Ingredient blog!)
THE LUCKIEST CHEF ALIVE!
Trigonos is rocking at the minute with local produce. I’m the luckiest chef living to be able to cook everyday with glorious organic produce. Its all thanks to Judy and Owain who work their socks off year round to make the conditions right for these summer gluts. The team have just podded over 200lb of peas alone, the sun has been out a little recently meaning the tomatoes are finally going red and we’ve a whole poly tunnel of them to munch, roast and/ or jar up.
As a cook, its a busy time of year, but a wonderfully satisfying one. Our freezers are beginning to burst at the seams with blanched and fresh veggies, prepared for the more leaner months. Our guests at the retreat centre really appreciate the fact that a lot of the food they eat was grown on the land, it certainly adds to the dining experience. You can’t beat the flavour and vibrancy!
The courgettes are just taking off and that’s always interesting, overnight they can turn into something resembling a canoe crossed with a marrow. They just blow up! Sometimes these are great stuffed, as a real centre piece. Basil has also ran wild this year, meaning many pesto/ pistou’s. An abundance of basil is always a rare gift. I’ve been loving Toasted Cashew and Sun Dried Tomato Pesto, hopefully I’ll get the recipe on the BHK soon. Jane and I are also doing a few house renovations and working on plenty of Beach House/ Peace & Parsnips based projects. More news of those to follow soon.
Overall, I’m consistently amazed at how the Trigo guys eek out such abundant harvests from what is quite a damp and overcast part of the world with fairly dodgy volcanic soil. Its taken 17 years to get it to this stage. I think that is the main lesson with organic farming/ veg growing. Patience.
This recipe makes roughly 24 slices. It comes directly from my Trigonos recipe book (a cluster of precious, undecipherable scrap paper) where recipes are normally fit to serve 20-30. Please feel free to scale it down a little. I’ve also made this with added tahini and sesame seeds (no walnuts) and it becomes even richer with a nice chewy texture. You may also like to add seasonal berries to the cake. Raspberries and blackberries, for example, work beautifully. As ever, use this recipe as a base and go wild! Feel ever free to experiment………… Use any oil you like, of course unrefined is much better, preferably with a neutral flavour. If you don’t have buckwheat flour, you can use all wholemeal.
IDEAS FOR REPLACING EGGS
The bananas here act as a egg replacer. Other vegan options for helping to bind things together when baking are apple sauce (cooked apples), silken tofu, mashed sweet potato/ squash, ground flax seeds……there are loads of healthy and effective plant based options.
This one’s for you Debbie!!!!!!!x
The Bits – 24 Slices
11 oz (310g) self raising wholemeal flour
5 oz (140g) buckwheat flour
10 oz (285g) unrefined brown sugar
1/2 pint (285ml) sunflower oil
1/2 pint (285ml) soya/ rice milk
4 ripe bananas
3 oz (85g) crushed walnuts
Oil and line a 10 inch x 14 inch (roughly) pan with baking parchment. Preheat an oven to 375oF (190oC).
Sieve the flour and sugar into a large mixing bowl. Mash your bananas in a seperate bowl with a fork, until smooth. Make a well in the flour and sugar, gradually pour in your oil and milk followed by your bananas. Stir until all is nicely combined (not too much).
Pour into the baking pan and pop in the oven for 40-45 mins. Until your trusty skewer comes out clean when pressed into the centre of the cake.
Turn out onto a wire rack (removing the baking parchment) and leave to cool for 20 minutes. Devour at will.
Big cups of tea with your neighbour or granny. Cats are also nice to have around when eating good cake.
Buckwheat is a great, gluten free alternative when used as a flour or grain. Buckwheat is classed as a whole grain but is actually a fruit and is related to sorrel and rhubarb. Buckwheat is a good source of magnesium and has other properties that promote good cardiovascular health. Fibre is so important in a well balanced diet and buckwheat, being a whole wholegrain, is full of it.
I use buckwheat, both flour and grain, loads in Peace & Parsnips, things like Buckwheat Pancakes, Toasted Almond Buckwheat Crumble, Kasha with Rosemary, Apricots and Walnuts……. It’s such a nutritious and tasty thang.