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Banana Loaf Cake

February 12, 2013 Leave a comment Go to comments

Black Bananas for Cake
The church kitchen was throwing out bad-ish bananas (they were a corrupting influence on the rest of the fruit! Ah but we know that corruption comes from within…) so i grabbed several bunches for banana bread / banana cake experiments.

Started with Nigella Lawson and Nigel Slater recipes. The Slater recipe, in my incompetent hands, yielded a loaf that had a larger cake-to-banana ratio than i liked. It was barely saved by the emergency nutella frosting, though the banana taste peeked out a bit after a 3-day maturation period.

Nutella Black Banana Walnut Loaf Cake

Nutella Black Banana Walnut Loaf Cake

The Nigella one, perhaps due to the lower flour to fat ratio (Tesco‘s Everyday Plain Flour – 55p for 1.5kg), was far more forgiving of my lack of skill and produced a tender moist loaf full of banana goodness interrupted only by roasted walnut chunks and melty 72% dark chocolate chips (Tesco Finest Swiss 72% Plain Chocolate, on sale at £1). Made a second with Nutella swirls – excellent.

Watching Six Nations

I brought half a loaf to a screening of The Rugby (it is referred to in the definitive here!) and after a rather lacklustre showing by Wales and France in the Six Nations, those decompressing from their university mission week raised, for further discussion, the issue of the good news not being proclaimed at lunch bars. While raising questions about the legitimacy of worldviews was well and good, it would just be as pointless to point out that someone was bleeding profusely and would soon die without at least pointing them to the hospital (yes, lots of pointy finger work). The explanation given by the speaker for this silence was that the message of salvation would be reserved for the evening talks. Many thought was coyness quite inconsistent with the whole motive of evangelism – love for fellow men, urgency in seeing them saved.

Chocolate chip, walnut chunk, banana loaf cake adapted from a Nigella Lawson recipe

Banana Bread (recipe adapted from Nigella Lawson, via Cocoa Shutter)

175g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/2 teaspoon salt [left this out]
125g unsalted butter, melted
150g sugar [used 133g]
2 large eggs [only had medium-ish eggs]
4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300g weighed without skin), mashed
30g chopped walnuts [replaced with chocolate chips]
30g chopped pecans [60g for me]
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Butter and flour or line a 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin.

Preheat the oven to 170ºC/gas mark 3 and get started on the rest. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well.

In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas. Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the walnuts, pecans and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. Scrape into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-11/4 hours. When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced, as you prefer.

Banana Loaf Cake with Nutella Frosting

Nigel Slater’s Chocolate Muscovado Banana Cake (from The Kitchen Diaries II via The Wednesday Chef)

250 grams all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
125 grams softened butter
235 grams muscovado or dark brown sugar
3 to 4 ripe bananas
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large eggs
100 grams dark chocolate

1. Heat the oven to 180 C (350 F). Line a standard-sized loaf pan with parchment paper. Sift the flour and baking powder together in a bowl.

2. In a large bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy. Beat the eggs into the butter and sugar one at a time until fully incorporated.

3. Peel the bananas and mash them with a fork in a small bowl. When you are done, the bananas should still be slightly lumpy and not entirely puréed. Stir the vanilla extract into the bananas.

4. Chop the chocolate finely and and fold it, along with the bananas, into the butter and sugar mixture. Gently mix the flour and baking powder into the banana batter.

5. Scrape the batter into the loaf pan and bake in the oven for 50 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through, until the cake is browned and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

6. Remove the cake from the oven and let sit on a rack for 15 minutes. Then, using the parchment paper as a sling, remove the cake from the pan and let it cool completely on the rack. When the cake has fully cooled, peel off the paper and use a serrated knife to slice.

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