Friday, February 6, 2015

Incredible Banana Bread

Let me begin by saying I dont particularly like bananas, but have taken to eating them early every morning as a post workout boost of energy! However, having skipped my morning banana for a few days, I had a few bananas on their very last legs, begging to be rescued. 

I have made many banana breads/cakes before in an effort to consume the very healthy fruit, but have had minimal success; with a result that was cloyingly banana flavoured, dense and something I dislike as much as the bananas themselves. But this recipe from my beloved Nigella Lawson is out of the world awesome, its light, moist, has just the right amount of banana for my taste, coupled with nuts and when someone says you may want to add chocolate, I add chocolate and dark chocolate.

So I tweaked Nigella's recipe a wee bit out of my previous experiences with this cake. If you want the original, here it is; Nigella Lawson's Banana Bread

 And here is my version with a few tweaks

What you need:
  • 100 grams raisins
  • 75 ml dark rum (I used my favourite Old Monk)
  • 175 grams plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 125 grams salted butter (melted, I always use Amul butter and skip any added salt)
  • 150 grams caster sugar
  • 3 eggs (increased this from the 2 large eggs in the original, because my eggs are not large and I wanted it to be more airy)
  • 4 small very ripe bananas (mashed)
  • 60 grams chopped lightly toasted almonds
  • 1 teaspoon dark rum
  • 100 grams dark chocolate chopped into chunks

  1. Put the raisins and rum in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil.
  2. Remove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour if you can, or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.
  3. Preheat the oven to 170ºC//325ºF and get started on the rest. Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well.
  4. 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 roasted almonds, drained sultanas and vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit. 
  5. Scrape into a loaf tin (23 x 13 x 7cm / 9 x 5 x 3 inches) and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1¼ hours. When it's ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish
  6. My cake rose rapidly in the first 15 minutes scaring me that it may overflow from my tin, but it held steady for the rest of the baking time and was wonderfully light when done.
Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly sliced to get in all the nutty, chocolatey goodness of this cake in one bite. I personally like it cold better than hot, and is the perfect accompaniment to my peppermint tea!

My favourite part about this cake is the combination of the dark rum and banana, such a match made in heaven. 

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