[The science of sleep – Cloud-like banana whole-wheat cakes]

banana cake

Michel and his terrific movies. Bruno and his delicious goat cheese. Gaspard and his pretty face. Pierre and his outstanding pâtisseries. These are some of the not so many things that make me realise I’m not that damned to be French.

Le Neuf definitely isn’t one of them. For you who are lucky enough not to know what Le Neuf is, well let me explain. Le Neuf describes itself as one of the best internet access providers, which certainly does sound appealing.
I seem to have forgotten something crucial here though. I just moved flats, and ended in the smallest town ever with only two television channels, no internet but a cheeringly well-equipped kitchen and a sewing machine. Okay, so now you know the basic facts, let’s go back to Le Neuf.
At first, me and Le Neuf got on very well. Free phone calls, high speed internet connection and more than that, I didn’t have to make a call – you know those awfully expensive zero-huit-cent-something numbers, which charge you around three Kitchen Aid stand-mixers per minute, including the minutes you spend waiting and trying to ignore the terrible music. They said they would call me.


If you’re anything like me, I guess we should stop blathering for a sec and grasp the genuine meaning of my last sentence. They said they would call me. I mean: whoa. Quite evidently, I filled in the form that asked for my name and telephone number. And waited. That long Saturday afternoon I spent waiting somewhat reminded me of that other afternoon, back in the 90s. But that’s another story. Anyway, as you might have guessed, Le Neuf never called. Or at least not until today, just to tell me I wouldn’t receive the preciously waited for Neufbox until two of three weeks.

handmade fabric telephone

Yeah that’s right, two or three. Not the same in my book, but well, Le Neuf doesn’t seem to be as organised as I am, and while I’ll not so patiently wait for the package to arrive, you can be sure my flat will continue to get filled with beautiful fabric telephones and just-like-in-your-dreams cakes.

banana cake

Petits gâteaux comme des nuages à la farine semi-complète et à la banane

I love those little cakes. Their fragrant perfume and wholesome roughness. They make you fully realise what an oven is made for.
And their even better the next day: just wrap them in cling film as soon as they’re at room temperature and they’ll make your breakfast a feast.
Trust me; I’m thankful to have written the quantities down, as I usually don’t do when making cake for no special occasion. Those definitely are great. The crumb is quite dense, just like you would expect from a banana cake, yet in a subtle way.
Plus, they’re good for you: lots of fibre and good sugars.

Petits gâteaux comme des nuages à la farine semi-complète et à la banane

makes 8 small cakes or one loaf

100g butter
180g T80 flour (or a mix of plain and whole-wheat flours)
2 tsp of baking powder
1/2 tsp of baking soda
a pinch of salt
140g unrefined cane sugar
2 large eggs, at room temperature
a dash of vanilla extract
3 bananas (approximately 300g skinned or 450g when weighed with the skin on), mashed

Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Melt the butter in a medium pan over moderate heat.
While the butter is melting, measure the flour, baking powder and soda, and salt into a large bowl and mix until combined.
As soon as the butter is melted, take the pan of the heat and allow to cool down for a few minutes until you can touch the bottom of the pan without burning your fingers.
When the butter is warm (but not hot), beat in the eggs, one at a time. Add the sugar and a good dash of vanilla extract.
Fold the wet just ingredients into the flour mix until smooth, and mix in the mashed bananas. Divide the batter between six moulds (100g in each mould should do) and bake for 25 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean.