Rachel Allen was brought up in Dublin and left home at eighteen to study at the world-famous Ballymaloe Cookery School. Rachel is now a busy ...
100 g (31/2 oz) butter
225 g (8oz) white chocolate, in drops or broken into pieces
175 g (6oz) soft light brown sugar
1 egg, beaten
200 g (7oz) peeled very ripe bananas (about 2, mashed)
2 tsp vanilla extract
225 g (8oz) plain flour
1 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
100 g (31/2oz) caster sugar
100 g (31/2oz) whole almonds (skin still on)
20cm (8in) square cake tin
First make the almond praline. Place the caster sugar in a frying pan (preferably non-stick if you have one), spreading it over the base of the pan, then scatter over the almonds. Cook on a medium heat until the sugar turns a deep golden caramel. (You may swirl the pan once the sugar starts caramelising, but do not stir it.)
Tip out onto a baking tray lined with baking parchment and allow to cool and set, then chop until the consistency of very coarse breadcrumbs, or pulse in a food processor.
Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F), Gas mark 4. If the cake tin has a removable base, butter the sides and line the base with a square of baking parchment, otherwise line the base and sides of the tin. Place the butter and white chocolate in a saucepan and set over a low heat.
When the butter has melted, remove from the heat and stir to melt the chocolate. Pour into a large bowl and beat in the sugar, egg, mashed bananas and vanilla extract, then stir in the almond praline.
Sift in the remaining ingredients and fold in thoroughly to mix, then spoon the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 30–35 minutes or until just set and golden on top. Either allow to cool completely in the tin or allow to cool in the tin for 5–10 minutes and serve while still warm. Carefully remove the cake from the tin and cut into squares for serving.