Cinnamon cake with caramel and bananas


Two bananas were turning black here, and I had seen this lovely Danish upside-down  banana cake recipe, so clearly it was time for cake.  (Is it ever not time for cake?) However, I had failed to notice that I needed bananas both for the cake base and batter, so this is an effort to salvage the cake with what was on hand. Oil added to save defrosting butter from freezer. The original looks so much nicer! It also has proper caramel. This was not a pretty cake, but moist and quite tasty, and was enjoyed after Sunday lunch.

Cinnamon cake with caramel and bananas

120 gr sugar
25 gr butter

2 ripe bananas

2 medium eggs
1 tsp vanilla sugar
75 gr soft butter
20 g oil
150 ml milk
 (from milk powder…)
50 gr white sugar
125 gr white wheat flour
1.5 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon

To make caramel, melt sugar in a small frying pan (do not stir), then take off heat and add butter. As you can see, I failed to melt the sugar through and bunged it in the parchment-lined cake tin in the hope that it would even out while baking. It did not. Next time I would just layer brown sugar and butter in cake tin.

Whisk eggs, milk, butter, oil. Add dry ingredients.

Peel bananas and slice lengthwise. Place banana slices in parchment-lined cake tin, then pour over caramel. Then pour over batter. Bake at 180C for 40 minutes. Cool on rack, then invert and serve.


Notes: nice cinnamon flavour and not too much banana taste, which is good as I do not like bananas. The slightly crunchy failed caramel was nice with the cake. Next time, maybe another egg, a little more milk and flour and a smaller tin? This was a 24 cm tin. Some tart creme fraiche on the side would have been good.  We still demolished a respectable amount of it at first sitting.


Tro-tro slogan of the week: ORGANIC. Tro-tros are minibus taxis, often old German or Dutch plumber vans, and they normally have religious slogans on the rear window.  GOD SAVES, INSHALLAH, GOD BLESS, and such. I quite liked this one.


Crumbly helkornbrød in Accra


The Ghana cedi exchange rate to the US dollar has been going up and down this month, and prices are increasing. Since October, drinking water has gone up from 8 cedi for a 19.5 litre Voltic container to 10 cedis, 25% more. It’s only about 2 dollars delivered, affordable for us, but noticeable. At least the pineapples are still cheap (1.99 cedi is about 40 cents) and very good. Ghana pineapple is amazing, very sweet.

It is a quiet Sunday here, warm as usual, maybe 31C but only 70% humidity so quite manageable. I have baked bread and am waiting for the loaves to cool enough to slice, to be enjoyed with some of the French cheese I brought back. My husband is here, which is lovely, but my pantry challenge continues: what can I cook from the cupboard? We had cassoulet for dinner last night, from a tin but with white beans, Toulouse sausages and duck: just delicious. The Guardian has a whole store cupboard special this weekend,  presumably for pre-Brexit, and some of those look very tempting.

This is baked with fresh yeast, since my dry yeast has given up the ghost, and is quite a wet dough. My flour is also getting old, but this baked well enough. I only made two small loaves, so I can bake again later in the week and enjoy fresh bread again.

Crumbly Accra helkornbrød (with cracked wheat)

125 gr cracked wheat (about 200 ml)
250 ml water

500 ml cold water
12.5 gr fresh yeast (or 6-7 grammes dry yeast)
1 heaping tsp sugar
1 tbs sunflower oil
125 gr medium coarse rye flour
500 gr white wheat flour  (see notes: more recommended)
1 tsp salt

Boil water and cracked wheat for 4-5 minutes on medium heat. Leave to cool until lukewarm.

In your baking bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Add boiled cracked wheat, no draining (the water should be absorbed in cracked wheat). Add oil, sugar, salt, and flours. Stir well. This is a wet dough, too wet to knead. Cover and let rest until it doubles (a couple hours here), then fold again. Line two medium bread tins with baking parchment, and pour dough in. Cover and let rest until it doubles (half an hour here). Bake 50-60 minutes at 200C. Cool on rack before slicing.


Notes: This was a very moist dough, so though I had planned to bake it 45 minutes, it needed another 10-15 minutes for the sides and base to crisp up. These were very crumbly loaves, as you see below, sliced while still warm but mainly due to dough: next time I’ll add more flour, maybe 150 grammes more? Good flavour though, and better structure next time.


Four days in France (étaient fabuleux)


I just had four days in France, which felt like ten days away. Great company (my husband), and no agenda except going to two concerts by The Opposition (this is from another concert last year) – and exploring amazing food that we would not get in Accra.  It took us three days to actually have a macaron, we were busy enjoying baguettes and almond croissants and walking for miles. Coming from 32-33C, just walking without being sweat-drenched was lovely, and Paris is lovely, especially with no sightseeing plans whatsoever. Well, apart from looking at food:


Baguette fillings: you buy your baguette, choose your filling and voila! Lunch! The boulangeries and pâtisseries were such fun, even just to look at. Paris-Brest, canelés, religieuses, pastries I have seen on the Great British Bake Off technical challenges but never in real life: I was thrilled.Maybe next time I will have time to taste them.

We ambled up Rue des Martyrs in the rain the first day at lunchtime and snacked our way from Japanese gyoza to Breton buckwheat crêpes, and never got hungry enough for dinner that day. The next morning we went to E. Dehillerin and fondled cookware, resisting life-sized pear-shaped silicone moulds as they would not fit in handluggage (imagine! all kinds of pear-shaped desserts for the next year!). Silly, but tempting. We settled for some tiny tins for petit fours, and now must research how one makes those. I have a vague idea of layers, or pastry cream and tiny berries. Probably not something we will try in our Accra kitchen, but a fun project to try.


How about a BUCKET of chocolate mousse, labeled “Make love not mousse”? Tempting, again, but we were shopping for a train picnic, and made do with baguettes and camembert, and tart lemon yoghurt. I adore foreign supermarkets.


Tins of tripe in Normandie, which did not make it back to Accra with me. Some cassoulet might just have, though. And maybe some crottin de chevre, apple jam with Calvados, Roquefort, butter with sel de guerande, and a packet of microwavable cheese souffles. How bad can those be? We shall see.


This is from a local cheese van near Caen at the Saturday market, the smell and taste was amazing. Imagine having gorgeous cheese like that available every day….. and speaking impeccable French….. je ne peux que rêver. My French was more functional than I expected, which is always good  (or maybe I just had very patient counterparts). It was an excellent mini-break!