Banana and toffee sticky cake

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For the cake

  • 3 medium free-range eggs
  • 160 g light Muscovado sugar
  • 250 g peeled and finely grated butternut squash
  • 1 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 50 g white rice flour
  • 100 g ground almonds
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 80 g Brazil nuts, roughly chopped (or use pecans or macadamia)
  • 150 g banana, peeled and finely sliced

For the syrup

  • 50g unsalted butter
  • 100g golden syrup
  • 3 tbsp boiling water


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line the base of a 22 cm-square by 5-cm deep brownie tin with parchment paper. Grease parchment and sides of tin with butter.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs and sugar until pale and cappuccino coloured (roughly five minutes on full blast). Beat in the grated butternut squash and vanilla extract with a whisk until well combined.

Whisk in the flour, ground almonds, baking powder and salt until smooth. Finally, with the help of a spatula, mix in the Brazil nuts and banana (reserve a small handful of banana slices for the top).

Tip the mixture into the prepared tin. Dot the reserved banana slices over the top of the cake (flat, so that they look like circles) before placing the cake in the oven for 35 mintues.

Once cooked, remove the cake from the oven and let it stand in its tin to cool while you make the toffee syrup.

In a medium-sized saucepan melt the butter and the golden syrup with the water on a low heat until the butter has become liquid. Turn up the heat and, once boiling point has been reached (when the surface is covered in smallish bubbles), continue to boil hard for three minutes exactly.

Once the three minutes are up, take the pan off the heat immediately and beat the bubbles out of the mixture, which should take no longer than 30 seconds.

Drizzle the hot liquid over the cake quickly, which couldn't be happier for the warm, sticky syrup. I tend to tilt the cake in its tin left, right and back and forth whilst the toffee is still hot and runny to get it spread over the surface. If you go and answer the telephone even for 10 seconds, you will have missed the boat and the toffee will refuse to move, let alone run. If this happens, I'm afraid that the only thing to do is to start the toffee stage again and curse yourself for thinking that you could outwit the stuff.

Once the toffee has drenched the top of the cake, let it stand to sink in for 10 minutes before serving. This is heaven with vanilla or toffee ice cream.

Trust me tips: The cooked cake will come out of the oven looking a bit like an Aero chocolate bar on the surface and will be very springy to the touch. This is very normal and no cause for concern.

Step by step guide to making toffee sauce in three minutes

Taming toffee requires confidence. Dissolve the butter with the other ingredients on a medium heat, then turn the heat up to reach full boil. Start the timer for three minutes. Each stage lasts roughly one minute and you can expect the progression in the pan to go as follows:

1. The first stage of boiling will provide you with an angry mixture, made up of lots of little see-through bubbles that rise quickly to the surface of the liquid. They will huff and puff out their chests and get bigger. They will want to creep up the sides of the pan and escape but won't succeed in a medium-sized pan. My pan is only 9 cm deep and my toffee hasn't bubbled over yet.

2. At the second stage you can expect slightly smaller (medium-sized) bubbles that don't come so far up the pan and are less angry than before. They will gradually accept defeat and retreat down the sides. The colour will start to turn from butter yellow to golden caramel.

3. The final stage is gloss and goop. Although the bubbles have pride, and will therefore still be simmering with rebellious defiance at the bottom of the pan, they are not on the attack any more. The smell in the kitchen will be completely of melted butter.

Excerpted from Red Velvet and Chocolate Heartache by Harry Eastwood.