I know, I know. Pause. I can just see you rolling your eyes at me right now, but I just can’t help it. Yes. This is another banana loaf/bread* recipe. Listen, it’s getting warmer now and I feel my baking days for this Spring/Summer are on their last leg. I’m not really looking forward to that, but one of the joys of this blog is for me to have a record of what I made throughout these past 6 years. Woah…6 years? Yes, and a few months. I can’t believe how much C&T helped me, changed me and taught me.
Although the temperatures have reached what I would now call scorchio levels (and I was told never to go live in the desert), some readers are still asking me for cake recipes. Of course, I will always do so when I have a few lined up. I made this a few weeks ago, before my almost-baking embargo. I just can’t have the oven on for too long when it’s in the high 20s. Inside.
If you are a regular reader of this blog you will know how much I enjoy a good banana bread. Those who know me well can tell you that I’m continually looking for the best recipes for banana bread around. I think that I have found the best one yet. You can find it in Signe Johansen’s book Scandilicious Baking. I bought this after trying some of her recipes from her first book, which was also my first encounter with Scandi cooking. There’s no need to repeat how much I enjoyed, and still enjoy cooking from book number one. The second book, dare I say it, is even better and I’m glad I have it now because it’s a great book to have in the run up to the Christmas season. It’s a baking book after all, and for me baking is a perfect way to spend the autumn/winter months. I have also discovered a love for spelt flour!
Two days ago, on Twitter, I read a tweet by @akentishkitchen about Signe’s Banana Spice Cake, which I mistook for the Spelt Banana Bread recipe found on the opposite page. My mistake, but if you have the book you will know what I mean. Both recipes are next to each other, and though made with the same ingredient, they are very different. I’m sure the spice cake is delicious, but here is my take on the bread recipe. I’m sure Signe won’t mind…she’s such a lovely lady. If you have some fruit which is starting to go all mushy on you, try this. You won’t regret it. Really.
- 3 medium bananas, ripe or very ripe and mashed
- 100ml milk with a few drops of lemon juice, or buttermilk for that matter
- 75g butter, melted
- 75ml maple syrup, or golden syrup
- 1 large egg
- 225g self-raising flour
- 50g wholemeal spelt flour
- 4 tablespoons porridge oats
- 1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- pinch salt
Preheat the oven to 170ºC or 150ºC fan (Gas Mark 3-4) and grease and line a loaf tin with parchment paper.
In a large bowl pour in the bananas, milk/buttermilk, butter, syrup and egg, and give everything a good mix. Add both flours, oats, baking powder, cinnamon and salt and fold till the ingredients are just mixed in, and stop right there.
Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and with a spatula spread the batter out evenly. Bake for around 55 minutes in the middle shelf of your oven, till the cake turns golden brown on top. To make sure that it is done, insert a skewer or knife into the centre. If it’s clean when it’s out, then it’s ready.
Allow the banana bread to cool for a good 20 to 30 minutes in its tin before taking it out on a cookie rack.
Store it wrapped in kitchen foil in an airtight container and it will keep for a good three to four days. It is good. One of the best recipes I have even tried. Thank you Signe!
(Recipe adapted from Scandilicious Baking by Signe Johansen, Saltyard Books, 2012.)
I bake banana bread on a regular basis for a number of reasons; one, because it’s so easy, two, because it’s tasty, and three, because there’s nothing better than a mug of thick hot chocolate to go with it. I have made other recipes for banana bread (or loaf, you can call it what you want) in the past. You will find at least another two in this blog. And most probably I have told you that those were two of my favourites. Well, I have to include this one in that list.
You will find a really good one in Paul Hollywood’s How to Bake (Bloomsbury, 2012). You will find a chocolate and walnut version of this right here, which is almost identical to the version found in the book. Please note that the book version omits the chocolate. It’s a pity I didn’t bother to look for the online version before: it would have made for a much prettier photo. But not to worry…fortunately I *always* have a small stash of chocolate in the pantry, for which I now have use!
The recipe in the book calls for the following:
- 3-4 large bananas, ripe and mashed
- 250g caster sugar
- 125g soft unsalted butter
- 2 eggs
- 250g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 120g walnut pieces
Just follow the link I have given you above for the method. What I did was a little bit different, because I wanted to use up some chopped hazelnuts which as usual were bought for another recipe. (No surprise there!) I had 3 very ripe bananas, 80g walnut pieces, topped the rest with the hazelnuts, and added 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract, not sure why. Perhaps because I usually do…Enjoy!
I like to try two similar recipes using one base ingredient and compare tastes and textures. The reason is simple really: this happens because usually I have one ingredient I buy too much of. The idea for the cake in the previous post and this one here came from having a couple of unused fruit lying around.
The following is taken from Nigella’s How to be a Domestic Goddess, which as I think I have said before, it is a must for all home bakers to have. But I will not go into that again, don’t worry! What I will tell you now is that on page 33 there’s a recipe for Banana Bread. Nigella has adapted it from Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book: Recipes from an American Childhood and it’s very similar to the first banana loaf recipe I wrote about. There’s some alcohol in it in the form of bourbon or dark rum as she suggests. I had neither on hand so I used some brandy. It is simple, delicious and ideal for sharing. You will end up with a heavier cake but adding the alcohol plumps up the sultanas and makes them tastier. You will need:
- 100g sultanas
- 75ml bourbon or dark rum (or brandy)
- 175g plain flour
- 2 teaspooons baking powder
- ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- ½ teaspoon salt (optional)
- 125g unsalted butter, softened
- 150g caster sugar or soft brown sugar
- 2 large eggs
- Around 300g (without the skin) very ripe bananas, mashed
- 60g pecans or walnuts, chopped
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- Place the sultanas and the alcohol in a small pan over the heat. As soon as it starts to boil, remove from the heat and let it soak for around an hour or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the alcohol. Drain using a sieve.
- In the meantime preheat the oven to 170ºC/338ºF/Gas Mark 3 and grease and line a loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7cm).
- In a medium-sized bowl put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt and stir everything together well.
- Now mix the melted butter and sugar in a large bowl and whisk together; then add the eggs one at a time and continue whisking.
- Add the mashed bananas, walnuts, drained sultanas and vanilla extract. Mix lightly and start pouring the flour mixture slowly. Add half and beat, then add the other half and beat again.
- Pour the completed cake batter into your loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for around 1 to 1¼ hours, always keeping an eye on it. When ready the skewer or knife used to check it shouldn’t come out clean because you want a gooey cake. Don’t worry because the cake will continue to cook when you take it out of the oven while cooling. Leave to cool for a while in the tin, then take it out on a rack. If you line the cake with overlapping baking paper (see my lemon cake from a while back) handling it will be super easy.
Nigella’s variation of this cake, which I still have to try would be to replace 25g of the plain flour with good quality cocoa powder and adding 100g of dark chocolate chunks or chocolate chips. I’m sure I will like it!