It was only when my daughter phoned complaining about a Banana bread recipe from the internet that didn’t work for her, that I realised that I had never put up my own recipe for you.
This recipe works on so many levels – It’s delicious fresh with butter; when it’s toasted, it takes on a delicious caramel flavour. And then there’s that saintly ‘I’m saving the planet’ feeling of not wasting good food… I mean, over-ripe bananas are disgusting and fit for nothing, right? – not anymore they’re not…
The recipe below makes one really good-sized cake in a 2lb loaf tin, but I always double it and make two – it’s twice as much cake for the same amount of work. It freezes amazingly well, and it’s in your back pocket so to speak, in case of gastronomic emergencies, or as a gift that will be welcomed and appreciated by the lucky recipient.
It’s a fairly robust cake too – I used to post it to our daughter when she was away at college, and as far as I know it arrived intact. Having said that, students aren’t usually too bothered by the aesthetics, are they? Just as well really, as I must warn you that this cake is no beauty queen; however, as we all know, looks ain’t everything…
One thing that is quite important, and this applies to all baking – have a look at the instruction book that came with your oven – it will tell you at which level to put the tins to get optimal results. I never knew this until recently; probably because I never bothered to read the instructions – an oven was just an oven – I’m 60 and a bit, and still learning new stuff… (My oven says to cook it on the lowest shelf, btw)
- An electric beater with bowl
- a large bowl
- a sieve
- a jug
- weighing scales
- 1 or 2 2lb loaf tins, lined
INGREDIENTS: FOR ONE CAKE
- 200g PLAIN flour
- 1 teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- 1/4 teaspoon of baking powder
- half a teaspoon of salt
- 1 heaped teaspoon of ground cinnamon
- 150g caster sugar
- 50g butter
- 2 eggs
- 60mls Buttermilk
- 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
- 3 ripe bananas
- small handful of raisins (optional, see NOTES)
- Heat the oven to 160Fan or the equivalent.
- Line your loaf tin. I confess that I use those ready-made liners – they make life so easy!
- Put the butter and sugar into the mixer bowl and cream them together
- Crack the eggs into the jug and add the buttermilk and vanilla essence. Beat together lightly.
- Peel the bananas, and cut or break into pieces
- Sieve the flour, baking powder, Bicarb of soda, cinnamon and salt into the second bowl and leave to one side.
- Add the banana to the butter and sugar in the mixer bowl and beat it in. Then gradually add the egg and buttermilk, mixing well between additions – it will look horribly curdled and very liquid – just ignore that – it will be fine.
- Remove the bowl from the beater and gradually sieve in the flour mixture – about 2 tablespoons at a time, and fold in gently but thoroughly with a metal spoon or silicone spatula.
- As you add in the flour, the mixture will start to come together and actually start to look like a cake mix. Make sure to reach right down into the base of the bowl to ensure that everything is evenly mixed.
- Add the handful (no more) of raisins now, if you’re using them.
- Give it one last good mix, then pour it carefully into the prepared tin. (If you’re doubling the recipe I find it handy to weigh the tins as I fill them so that they are fairly equally filled)
- As you can see from the picture below, I had one small banana left so I simply sliced it thinly over the top of each cake before it went into the oven. Roasted Banana is not a good-looking item, but I was actually quite pleased how it turned out..
- Pop it into the oven at 160c for about 50 minutes (or about 1 hour 10mins for two cakes). Shortly before the end of the cooking time, check the cake with a skewer or cake tester – it should come out cleanly .
- My oven is a horribly uneven baker, so I switch the tins around about half-way through the cooking time. Even if you’re just making one cake, give it a quick turn.
- Remove from the oven and allow to rest in the tin for about ten minutes, then remove to a cooling rack.
- Regarding the raisins – I’ve never weighed them , and it really has to be a small handful – otherwise we’d have to make changes to the recipe.
- On occasion, I thinly slice an extra banana on the top of the cake, just before it goes into the oven. It browns as the cake cooks, but truthfully, cooked banana is not pretty, so it doesn’t really improve the look of it. If you know for sure that you’re not going to toast the cake – did I mention that it is FANTASTIC toasted? – then a drizzle of lemon-flavoured icing looks well, once the cake is fully cooled.