A fork, a bowl and some battered fruit from the market. A new boss and new flatmates to impress.
I spent the morning traipsing around banks, waiting in line at the phone shop, proudly buying my Navigo card for the metro, with its satisfying cling as you pass the gate. I came home laden with shopping, useful things like chickpeas, as well as a bar of chocolat bio (organic chocolate). In fact, all the bureaucratic details just made me gloriously happy to have properly arrived, to be an adult. (Whatever that means.) Even the planned transport strikes for Tuesday morning are just an exciting part of the French experience.
Once back in the apartment, I needed a cake to christen my new home. This banana cake can be thrown together in five minutes with just a few ingredients and utensils, and will not suffer from a few substitutions or a dodgy oven. We only had two bananas, so I threw in an overripe nectarine as well. The toaster oven only had settings for 150 and 200 degrees, so I guessed. But it rose beautifully, spiked with patches of bitter chocolate.
“Are you hungry?” I asked my boss. “I brought cake for moral support.” We had time for a few bites before the first children traipsed through the door for their English lesson. We had the leftovers afterwards, a little sweetness to replenish our energy.
The rest was devoured that night with cheap rose, used to broker a deal with the proprietaires, and again over breakfast with more nectarines.
Good cake. Welcome to Paris.
Welcome banana cake
2 bananas and 1 nectarine/peach (or 3 bananas), very ripe
1 teaspoon baking soda, or one sachet levure
2 teaspoons cinnamon
pinch of salt
100g dark chocolate, chopped (save some for topping)
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon cinnamon
leftover chopped chocolate
Preheat oven to 170C.
Roughly mash the fruit with a fork, then stir in the eggs. Add the flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon and salt and stir until smooth. Mix in most of the chocolate pieces, saving a little for the topping. Tip the mixture into a large greased cake tin (or loaf tin if you prefer).
Mix the cinnamon and sugar and sprinkle on top, along with the rest of the chocolate.
Bake for 35-40, until the cake is risen and golden. The edges should have come away from the sides of the tin, and a skewer stuck in the middle should come away clean. Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then remove from the tin.
Best eaten the same day – the chocolate will still be molten. The next day you could warm it in the oven and serve with a generous amount of icecream or creme fraiche.