Bananas in our household are in constant demand. What better healthy, filling snack to give the kids or chop into yogurt or muesli for an easy breakfast. Sometimes, however, we buy a stash of the yellow lovelies expecting them to be gobbled up quickly as ever, but then they seem to morph themselves overnight from a perfect state of sunny ripeness to a blackened, pungent unidentifiable object which festers in the bottom of the fruit bowl, suddenly unloved and unwanted. That is, until I discovered this amazing recipe by the wonderfully creative cook, Nigel Slater, which is just perfect for using up this overripe fruit.
It’s not your average banana loaf, rather it sits halfway between a bread and a cake; good enough spread with butter alongside a cup of tea at breakfast time, even better with a strong black coffee in the afternoon, thanks to the indulgent chunks of dark chocolate marbled through it. I love the deep caramel flavour imparted by the muscovado sugar, but go darker for a more treacly taste.
You’ve got to try it, it’s so easy and tastes so darn good!
You will need:
- Plain flour: 250g
- Baking powder: 2 tsp
- Butter, softened: 125g
- Muscovado sugar: 235g
- Ripe bananas: 400g (peeled weight)
- Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
- Eggs: 2 large
- Dark chocolate: 100g
- 1 loaf tin, approx 24cm x 12cm x 7cm deep, lined with baking paper
Preheat the oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Sift the flour and baking powder together.
Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until it is light and fluffy.
Lightly mash the bananas in a bowl with a fork (you don’t want too mushy a mixture), then stir in the vanilla extract. Beat the eggs lightly with a fork then add to the creamed butter mixture. Introduce a spoonful of flour if the mixture begins to curdle.
Chop the chocolate into small chunks and fold them and the bananas into the butter and sugar mixture. Gently fold in the flour and baking powder. Transfer the mixture into the prepared baking tin and bake for 50 mins – 1 hour. Check the cake is ready by inserting a metal skewer into the centre – if it comes out clean the cake is done. If there is any sign of wet cake mixture, return to the oven for a few more minutes, covering the surface with foil if necessary to prevent further browning.
Leave the cake to cool in its tin for 15 minutes or so, then loosen the sides with a rounded knife and carefully lift it out of its tin and onto a cooling rack for a little longer, before removing the baking paper. Serve in thick slices with a mug of something hot.
Enjoy the weekend!
Recipe taken from Nigel Slater: The kitchen diaries part ii