Tag Archives: Rum

Banana & Rum Cake


This Banana and Rum cake was made in the spirit of celebrating Fairtrade fortnight, not a gratuitous effort on my part to introduce rum into all aspects of my life.

Banana and Rum Cake (adapted from A Pastry Affair)

(yields a 9 x 5 inch loaf)


115g unsalted butter
150g granulated brown sugar plus a bit more sprinkling on the top
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 large ripe bananas, mashed and 1 sliced for decoration
125g plain flour
120g whole wheat flour
1tsp baking soda
1tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
120 ml dark rum or spiced rum (whatever your preference is, I used Sailor Jerry)


1) Preheat your oven to 180C/160C fan/gas 4. Grease and line your loaf pan with greaseproof paper.

2) In a mixing bowl, crean together the butter and sugar with an electric whisk (or by hand if you’re feeling strong) till light and fluffy.

3) One at a time beat in the eggs, ensuring to mix well between each addition. Beat in the vanilla and mashed bananas, mix well.

4) Mix in the flours, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Mix well.

5) Finally, add the rum, incorporate fully. Pour the cake batter into the prepared loaf pan, place a line a sliced banana pieces down the centre of the pan (it will move when the bread splits) and sprinkle with brown sugar. Place in the middle of the oven for 50 minutes. Check with a toothpick/knife after this amount of time to see if it comes out clean, if not cook for a further 5-10 minutes.

6) Remove from the oven, leave to cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Store well (if it lasts that long)



The pastry affair has an abundance of other banana bread recipes I’m eager to try. Banana bread is a common go to recipe due to the simplicity of the ingredients and the fact its pretty much fool proof. Next time I’ll have a bash at the Coconut Pineapple Banana Bread. I’m also really intrigued by Belleau Kitchen’s Salted Caramel Upside Down Banana Cake, it’s simply beautiful!


The Thirlestane Road Christmas Pudding Experiment- Part One.

As I write this post there are 36 days, 1 hour and 20 minutes until christmas 2012 is officially here. Normally I restrict my christmas joy to the two weeks preceding christmas and one week after, for fear of a total holiday overkill and in protest of those who put their decorations up in November. Whoever said you can have too much of a good thing was definitely thinking about tinsel, turkey and general christmas frivolity. My strict limitation of christmas celebration isn’t intended in a scrooge-esque way, I merely wish to enhance the specialness of christmas by ensuring it’s magic is contained to a short, manageable time period. I believe it’s the only way to keep things special (plus, I intend to spend my christmas period eating as much food as physically possible, any elongation of the christmas period has direct correlation to how much weight I gain and years I lose off of my life)

Having said that, my flatmate and I embarked on a yuletide challenge today. It may not quite be the season, but everyone knows a good christmas pudding needs some time to mature, thus my normal november christmas ban must be lifted for one day. After much research, deliberation and preparation, we decided upon two types of christmas pudding. My flatmate found a ginger and cranberry christmas pudding in this months Sainsbury’s Magazine which contained a whole Jamaica Cake, how could that not be amazing? So we decided to make two of these, one for her family christmas and one for our flat christmas. I decided to stick with the traditional for my family christmas pudding and used a recipe by Paul Gray, the ‘master baker’ at Betty’s teahouse. However, wanting to put our own Thirlestane Road spin on things, we did bend the rules a little with the ingredients, substituting various dried fruits and most importantly adding a hideous amount of dark rum, after all christmas pudding is traditionally alcoholic.

Cranberry Gingerbread Christmas Pudding. (adapted from the Dec ’12 Sainsbury’s Magazine)

Fills a 2-litre pudding basin


300g Jamaican ginger cake

100g white breadcrumbs

300g light muscovado sugar

1 tbsp ground ginger

2 tsp ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cloves

200g plain flour

200g sultanas

200g raisins

75g cranberries

200g toasted pecans, roughly chopped

200g cold, hard unsalted butter

1 large Bramley apple, grated

4 large eggs, lightly beaten

zest and juice of 2 oranges

20ml of dark rum, we used Captain Morgans


1) In a food processor, break up the ginger cake until it resembles breadcrumbs. Place in a large bowl with the breadcrumbs, sugar, ginger, cloves, cinnamon, flour, sultanas,raisins, cranberries and pecans. Mix together.

2)Add into the bowl the grated apple and then grate the cold butter on the top of this.

3) In a separate bowl place the beaten eggs, rum and orange zest and juice. Pour this over the dry ingredients and mix well.

4) Butter your pudding basin, place a small disc of greaseproof paper at the bottom of the bowl.

5) To cover your pudding basin, cut a square of greaseproof paper larger than your pudding bowl, pleat it in the middle, so when the pudding expands the paper has room to grow as well. Do the same with a sheet of foil. Place the greaseproof paper on top of the pudding and then the foil, tie string tightly around to hold them tightly to the pudding basin. Lesley Walters has a great how to video.

6) Place in a large saucepan, and fill water up to a third of the height of the basin. Bring to the boil, then reduce to simmer and place a lid on top. Leave this to cook for 4 and a half hours, checking ever so often to see whether the water needs topping up.

The recipe says this can be made up to 3 months ahead of time.

Betty’s Traditional Christmas Pudding


230g raisins

50g currants

75g sultanas

50g cranberries

50g toasted pecans, roughly chopped

100ml dark rum

Zest and juice of one orange and one lemon

50g vegetable suet

30g wholemeal breadcrumbs

50g plain flour

90g light brown sugar

1 tsp mixed spice

1/2 tsp ground nutmeg, ground cinnamon, ground cloves

1tsp salt

2 large eggs, beaten


1)Place all the dried fruit, lemon and orange zest, citrus juice and rum into a large bowl. Leave overnight to soak.

2) In a separate bowl place the flour, sugar, suet, salt, spices and breadcrumbs, mix well. Add the dried fruit and liquid mixture to the dry ingredients, stir well, then add the beaten egg.

3) Grease a pudding basin, place a small disk of greaseproof paper in the bottom of the basin, and then pour the mixture in.

4) Cover the basin with greaseproof paper and foil, tying with string as explained in the previous recipe.

5) Place in a large saucepan, bring to the boil, then simmer for 4 and a half hours.

6) Remove and leave to cool.


We bought pudding basins from lakeland, which came with lids, which is perfect for storage, however, if you’re using a pyrex bowl then simply cover again with greaseproof paper and foil, using string to secure it tightly.


This is of course optional, but we intend to ‘feed’ our puddings a few times before christmas. Using a Mary Berry tip (a woman who loves a tipple herself) where you use a skewer to make a few holes in your pudding and pour a little rum (or whatever alcohol you are using) into the holes and cover your pudding back up. This will enhance the taste of alcohol as well as bringing out the other flavourings of your pudding.


For both of these puddings, on the day itself, you’ll need to steam them for a further two hours. Serve with brandy butter, cream, ice cream or whatever else takes your fancy.

Our Christmas Puddings are now on the shelf waiting for the glorious day, or at least until we have our flat christmas celebrations. Now, before I return to normalcy and a life without Christmas joy (well, at least for a few weeks), here’s my favourite christmas/winter song to get you in the spirit. I’ll be posting some pictures of the final results after our flat christmas, stay tuned!