Banana Bread Bristol Fashion adapted from Brixton Banana Bread by North/South Food
The back story is that Brian eats a lot of bananas and I don’t. So if for some reason he hasn’t eaten them they sit there going browner and browner. There are always bananas lurking in various stages of decay and I try and ignore them for the most part.
Then I read Brixton Banana Bread by the wonderful North/South Food and was inspired by her freezing her excess bananas for a later date. Writing this post today, I realise it has taken me almost a year to get round to making this cake but I am glad that I finally did! So many thanks to North/South food for inspiring me to use my brown bananas and for her recipe.
I looked up banana bread recipes and read loads and then went scooting back to my starting point. Isn’t it often the way?
The BBC one uses butter and buttermilk but I was quite pleased to make a dairy free cake for a change. Felicity Cloake in her How to Cook Perfect everything series, does her survey of various recipes. She seems to make just about everything and is a good reference point. Here is her article on How to cook perfect banana bread if you are curious, though her final selection seems to involve a huge amount of baking soda which I don’t think you need. I think banana bread is just one of those foods that are fairly forgiving so I offer my version here:-
Yesterday I disinterred a selection of bananas that had been frozen last July! Embarassing eh?
The time before I had done this, they were incredibly watery and sticky when I defrosted them and I had used them in a pancake filling and they just weren’t very nice at all. So, this time I thought I would let them drain while they defrosted and see what happened next. I left them for the best part of 24 hours dripping away and used the drained and mashed bananas in the recipe above. Out of curiosity I tasted the dark liquid that had dripped away. It was dark and sticky and very very sweet. You could probably ferment it into some liqueur or something. (Please don’t shout at me that I have got rid of the best bit!) So I am thinking that if you want a darker, sweeter and stickier bread then you should add at least part of the drained syrup back in and maybe reduce the sugars elsewhere in the recipe, though it isn’t an exceptionally sweet ‘bread’ anyway.
I have adapted North/South Food’s recipe to use hazelnuts and ground almonds and my favourite Basra date syrup and I have changed the spice mix to suit my tastes as I am not a nutmeg and mace fan. I think it would be a good one to try with GF flour, but I don’t do much of that sort of baking.
You will need two bowls and a loaf tin or some cupcake holders if you are making small ones.
- 250g plain flour
- 50g ground almonds (almond flour)
- 75g toasted hazelnuts, very rough chop, some big bits some small
- 1 generous teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
- a large pinch of salt
- 3 tsps of ginger
- 1 tsp all-spice
- 2 tsps cinnamon
- 100 ml of vegetable oil ( I used rapeseed)
- 2 large organic eggs
- 60g light brown sugar
- 2 dessertspoons of date syrup ( or sub any syrup you like)
- 2 tsps of home made vanilla extract
- 3 large defrosted and drained mashed bananas
The mixture above made enough to three-quarter fill my 400 g Matfer loaf tin the long thin straight sided tin that makes such a nice shaped loaf (Fran, is this the tin you were asking about?) and made three muffin sized cakelets as well. I compromise on the greasing and lining of tins, by buttering the inside and then placing a strip of silicon baking parchment along the bottom and up the two short sides. I do this because I am lazy and hate lining tins, but am also superstitious that if I don’t vaguely pretend to line the tin it will stick. I buy this useful roll of parchment from Lakeland, it lasts me years.
Heat the oven to 160º Fan/180º Conventional. I cooked this one on the conventional setting.
- Mix the first lot of ingredients and your spices together in a bowl.
- Put the oil, sugar, eggs, date syrup and vanilla essence in another bowl and mix well till all amalgamated. This took about 60 seconds at high speed in the Kenwood.
- Add the dry ingredients to the wet mix, or the other way round, depending on how you do things and mix them together, don’t overwork this mixing.
- Drain and mash the defrosted bananas and mix them in last. I ended up with a fairly thick slightly lumpy batter from the nuts and the bananas.
- Spoon into your tin to about the three quarter mark and bake for about 55 minutes to an hour and take it out when your skewer comes out clean when you poke it into the loaf.
- The little cupcake holders which took about two tablespoons of batter each were done in 15-17 minutes.
- Tip out of tin while still hot and leave to cool on a rack.
We ‘tested’ the three little cupcake sized ones while they were still warm but left the loaf for breakfast, when Brian was filled with joy at having cake for breakfast! And, I must admit, I had some too! This cake/bread slices beautifully, is quite light and soft without being crumbly and full of banana and spice flavour. It would make excellent picnic food. Brian observed it wouldn’t crumble even if he put it in his pocket. Those pockets….
Did I mention the sun came out this morning and treated us to a little warmth? Here is a photo of an early variety of daffodil, which I learnt from Sara Venn today is called February Gold. I chucked the bulbs in the corner of this bed by the house when we first moved here and made no note of their name but they have come up every year since, usually in January but even in this apalling wet weather they are still doing their thing.
I think the rain is due back tomorrow but even a little sight of blue sky was enough to make everyone feel a bit happier that I bumped into today.