Baking and bakeries
There are two things that come to my mind immediately when I think about Germany and food. One of those is the type of food you can find in the breweries and traditional restaurants: often a lot of pork meat, potato or bread dumplings, sausages… Basically all those dishes that are heavy and very savoury, and go very well with a good glass of beer.
But then, on the other hand, there are all the baked goods; so many different types of bread and cakes. I remember my mother telling us about the time, when she was still a little girl, that she staid with a German penfriend. Mom told us about the different cakes there were on the Sunday afternoon. Home made, and I am sure they would all have been delicious. When I staid for the first time with a good friend of mine at his parents’ place in the south of Germany, the baked goods made an impression on me as well. Every morning there was fresh bread on the table. And not just the normal loaf of bread I would be used to from the Netherlands, but many different types of bread rolls with seeds or spices like caraway seeds. Surely, there would sometimes be cake in the afternoon as well, to get you through the time in between lunch and dinner.
Now, living in Germany, I always find it a pleasure to go to the bakery around the corner of my house and look at all the different products there. Usually I only go there in the morning when I have guests over. It has become a great little tradition for me to go with or for my guests to the bakery before breakfast and choose some different types of bread. It is such a change from some other countries I lived in, where it was so difficult to get decent bread instead of the white, sweet, flabby toast bread!
And there are always some cakes on display in ¨my¨ bakery as well, asking to be eaten. So far I only bought the heart-shaped strawberry cake for mothers’ day, since my mother happened to be there that day last year. That one was great.
And that actually made me wonder sometimes, why bother baking your own cakes when other people can do it so well? I have actually never really been a baker. Often I did not have an oven at home, and I also usually do not bake cakes just for myself. Things have changed a bit since I started my job in Berlin though. We do team breakfast once in a while, where I have gotten into the habit to bring a home baked cake. So in the last year I have baked quite a few cakes, usually trying different ones all the time. And I do have to say, I have started to like baking and find it quite relaxing. But the main thing is, it is great to see how happy it can make people.
Now the recipe here is one of the simplest and fastest cakes I know. But this one never fails to make an impression.
Blueberry banana cake
Banana bread, or banana cake, whichever you prefer to call it, is also quite popular for breakfast in some places. When I make it for breakfast myself, I usually skip the blueberries and instead add nuts to make it a bit more substantial and some cinnamon. Additionally, I have made the same recipe with gluten-free flour instead of regular flour. This works perfectly fine as well.
- 3 very ripe bananas + optionally one extra for decoration
- 75 grams of butter + a bit extra for greasing the loaf pan
- 140 grams of sugar
- 1 egg
- 1 sachet of baking powder – 15 grams
- 125 grams of blueberries
- 225 grams of plain flour, gluten-free if preferred
First of all, preheat your oven to 175°C. Take a regular loaf pan or other baking tin out and butter it carefully.
In a small pot, slowly melt the butter over a low fire. Mash the bananas with a fork in a big bowl. Once the bananas are smooth, add the melted butter and stir well. Mix in the baking powder and a pinch of salt. Then add the egg and the sugar and mix through carefully. Add the blueberries to the mixture as well.
Finally, add the flour bit by bit to the banana mixture. Once the flour has been fully incorporated, you should end up with a batter that is quite stiff and sticky.
Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan. Optionally, you can chop the additional banana in slices and add those on the top of the cake. Bake in the oven for about 50 minutes, until risen and golden brown.