Jack Monroe's sticky banana loaf with salted caramel recipe

This quick, simple fruit loaf is great for lunchboxes, and really sings when paired with the salted caramel sauce – and all for 38p a slice

The caramel sauce isn't essential for this soft, sticky banana cake – leave it out if you want a handy portable snack for kids' lunchboxes. But the sauce does add a seriously special twist for a grownup dessert.

(Serves 6) 38p each
100g butter, softened, 48p
200g sugar, 20p
4 eggs, 88p
200g natural yoghurt, 22p
2 bananas, broken, 22p
200g flour, 9p
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda, 5p
½ tsp cinnamon, 3p
For the sauce:
100g sugar, 10p
Pinch of salt, 1p

Pre-heat the oven to 140C/275F/gas mark one and beat together the butter and sugar, before mixing in the eggs and yoghurt. Mash the bananas in and combine.

Pour in the flour, add the bicarb and cinnamon, and mix well.

Bake in the centre of the oven for 45 minutes to an hour, until a knife inserted into the centre comes out clean.

Meanwhile, make the caramel sauce. Pour the sugar into a heavy-bottomed saucepan on a medium heat for a few minutes. As it starts to soften and melt at the edges, stir and leave for another few minutes. Watch it carefully – one minute you have a pile of sugar that looks like it isn't doing anything, the next minute you have a soft, silky liquid.

Add a pinch of salt, remove from the heat and add a splash of tepid water (it will hiss and bubble a little, so don't get too close), stirring in quickly.

Return to a gentle heat to keep soft and warm, and dribble over the top of the loaf when it's ready.

Jack's tips

You can use any sugar you like to make this, but if you use white, it makes it easier to see the change in colour when it's cooking.

One optional extra: toast a few cashew nuts and scatter them on top before serving.

• For more recipe ideas, including using up remaining ingredients, see agirlcalledjack.com or follow @MsJackMonroe on Twitter.

Powered by Guardian.co.ukThis article was written by Jack Monroe, for theguardian.com on Wednesday 9th April 2014 10.57 Europe/London

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