This is what I had for breakfast this morning:
Ok, maybe that’s not entirely true :-)
That lovely lot, apples, pears, plums, apricots, grapes, oranges and bananas, was sent to me by Fruitdrop. It’s a company which, as its name might suggest, drops fruit off to people. More specifically, it does fruit deliveries – boxes full - for offices and workplaces. The idea is that fruit’s better for you than the more traditional office biscuits and cakes and that healthier employees work better and are less likely to go off sick – which has to make sense.
The company asked whether I’d like to try out a box and see what recipes I could come up with from it. A free box of fruit? Well if you twist my arm, said I :-)
Lacking a horn of plenty-style cornucopia, I had to make do with what was on hand…
You can pick standard or seasonal boxes, each of which has enough for 20 people for a week. But as it was just me to get through this lot, I had to put some hard graft in. Applause for my dedication would be appropriate here, I feel.
I had some of the lovely plums and apricots with my overnight soaked-in-Kara-coconut milk oats:
I made some creamy, easiest-ever apple puree (just peel, core and chop and roast for about 30 minutes at 180C till soft, then blend), which is always delicious:
And I made cake. Of course I made cake.
It was Mike at work’s birthday on Tuesday and I couldn’t get the idea of banoffee cake out of my head. Banoffee pie has to be one of the best puddings in the history of mankind so I thought a cake version had to be a winner. Unfortunately, my first try – wasn’t.
I’d folded the banana slices in with a whisked egg white/ground almonds combo and although the cakes looked done when I took them out, I turned them out of the tins to find the bottoms were raw. No amount of putting them back in the oven (even, in desperation, turned over in the tins – I have no shame) worked. That’s not to say that the almond/banana flavour combination wasn’t out of this world – or that the half-inch-thick cake above went to waste. But I think we should move on to the successful version.
Preheat oven to 180C and grease and line two sandwich tins.
Four eggs, separated
100g caster sugar
50g light brown sugar
225g ground almonds
1tsp baking powder
60g sieved icing sugar
1tsp butter, very soft
1/8-1/4 tsp vailla extract
1 can Carnation Caramel/ dulce de leche
In a large bowl, beat the egg whites to stiff peaks. In a separate bowl, whisk together the yolks and sugar till pale and creamy. Fold the whites into the yolks, 1/3 at a time, then carefully fold in the almonds and baking powder (mixed together) till well combined.
Scoop into the tins, level the tops and bake for 20 minutes, until the cakes are starting to shrink away from the sides of the tins. Leave to cool about 10 minutes, then turn out.
Once cool, open the tin of caramel, resist the very real temptation to shovel it into your mouth as it is and instead spread 5-ish tbsp on one cake, taking care not to spread right to the edges. Slice the banana and arrange on top of the caramel. I spread about another 2tbsp caramel on the underside of the other cake, then sandwiched together.
I wanted something fairly simple but vanilla-y for the icing and this was perfect. I haven’t got a 1/8tsp measure but I tried to half-fill the quarter-teaspoon with vanilla, which was fine. Just mix everything together till well blended, using 1/2tbsp milk at first and adding a bit more if needed, then spread on top of the cake.
This was another try-it-and-see cake but even if I do say so myself, it was absolutely delicious. I think it’s fair to say my colleagues agreed too, by the comments recieved - and the way the whole thing was gone within an hour of its being brought out :-)
Forgive the messy desk – that’s actually tidier than usual too – and just be warned, this isn’t the neatest cake to eat; the icing on the top is soft and the caramel will come out a bit… I’d recommend keeping it in the fridge till you’re going to serve it. But seriously, banana + caramel + ground almond cake + vanilla icing is the way forward. Do it.
If you want a healthier banoffee pie, there’s this vegan one I made last year too…
What do you think of the Fruitdrop idea? Are there always cakes and biscuits around at work or is there healthier stuff on offer?