It is almost a year to the day since we accepted the offer given to us by my husband’s employer, for us to move to Sydney and for my Husband to run the operations in their Sydney cake factory. (Yes, we are both in the cake industry, only he is a manufacturing guru, and I concentrate on the small throughput, prettier side of things!) A daunting task of moving and settling kids, but it also meant I would have to close my cake business in Portsmouth.
I called one of my closest friends in Melbourne and in amongst the squeals of delight, she said to me "You’ll have no problem setting up again out here; the Aussies love a good cake!!!!" And how right she is!!! The institution that is "Morning Tea" provides a daily excuse to enjoy bakery goods with friends, comfortingly, a great deal of the time these are home baked (or look it!).
In addition to this, the coffee culture out here is immense. Not so much with the large Starbucks / Costa chains (although Gloria Jean’s can be found in most places, and McCafe is an interesting concept) but the independent coffee shops are plentiful, and the skill of being a barista is taken very seriously. Expect a work of art brought to your table with hearts and leaves in the froth on the top. The essential offering on the counter in each of these venues? Banana Bread.
It’s not something that had really featured previously in my cake baking. I remember trying it once in my new breadmaker about 10 years ago, and no one eating it. However, for some reason now here in Oz, we’ve become hooked!!! Not only is a great way to rid my kitchen of those revolting black bananas (the blacker banana the tastier the bread), but made with wholemeal flour can provide a good supply of sustenance until lunchtime! Of course it tastes so much nicer toasted with butter, but you can leave that out if you’re cutting back! I urge you to give it a go, if you haven’t before. A lovely light moist sponge, with added sweetness from the fruit and a light aromatic natural banana flavour with can be enhanced with cinnamon and/or ginger. Once toasted, the "crust" adds a lovely crispy texture on the outside, which my daughter believes is the best bit, and these days, I have no problem getting her or my husband to eat breakfastt
Recipe: Victoria Sponge’s Banana Bread Muffins
- 270g sugar (Caster or light brown which ever you have)
- 2 eggs
- 2 medium to large bananas
- 280g Wholemeal plain flour
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of soda
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 140g meted butter /margarine
- Preheat your oven to 170 deg C (325F / Gas 3)
- Grease 3 x 6 muffin trays
- Blend eggs sugar and eggs in a mixer.
- Mash the bananas and add to mixture, continue mixing.
- Mix in the dry ingredients, make sure thoroughly mixed
- Melt the butter / margarine and add to the mixture.
- Mix thoroughly
- Divide the mix between the 18 muffin cups.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 mins or until the sponge bounces back from your touch.
- Turn onto a cooling tray to cool completely.
Delicious reheated prior to eating served with butter. (This mix can also be baked in a loaf tin for about an hour).
About Victoria Forward
Victoria Forward has just returned to the UK after two years in Australia, and is setting up cake business "Victoria Sponge", in Buckinghamshire. She previously ran Let Them Eat Cake in the UK for six years providing celebration cakes / cupcakes, cake decorating courses and workshops. In 2012 she won the award for Best Presented Cupcake at the British Baker National Cupcake Championships. Victoria is married with 2 children.