If I was to count up all the cakes I have ever made, banana loaf cakes would definitely be at the top of the list. I have made a fair few such as wholewheat banana nut loaf; Paul Hollywood’s banana, walnut and chocolate chip loaf; Nutella swirled banana bread and banana and pecan fudge loaf. I think it mostly comes from my hate of overripe bananas. The smell and texture seems to take me back to childhood memories of squished bananas in the bottom of school rucksacks. There are only two things they are good for: smoothies and any form of banana cake.
I decided to give this Nigel Slater recipe a go after reading it in ‘The Kitchen Diaries II’ which I’ve been reading on and off since borrowing it from the library to make his chocolate damson cake. You will need a non-stick loaf tin that is approximately 24cm x 12cm x 7cm. I would say this is definitely a cake that gets better with age! I found it tasted a lot more banana-ish a couple of days after baking.
250g plain flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
125g butter (softened)
235g muscovado sugar
400g bananas (peeled weight)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
100g dark chocolate
1) Set your oven to 180C/Gas 4. Grease and line a non-stick loaf tin (approximately 24cm x 12cm x 7cm.)
2) Sift the flour and baking powder together.
3) Using an electric mixer, cream the butter and sugar together until light, fluffy and pale coffee coloured.
4) Put the bananas in a bowl and mash them with a fork. The mixture should be lumpy rather than like a puree. Stir in the vanilla extract. Beat the eggs lightly with a fork and then beat them into the butter and sugar mixture. Should your mixture start curdling add a spoonful of flour.
5) Chop the chocolate into smaller pieces (about the size of fine gravel) and fold them and the bananas into the butter and sugar mixture. Gently fold in the flour and baking powder.
6) Scrape the mixture into the lined baking tin then bake for about fifty minutes. Check the cake is ready by inserting a metal skewer into the centre. If the skewer comes out moist but clean then the cake is done. If there is any sign of wet cake mixture, return the cake to the oven for a few minutes and cover the surface with foil. Leave the cake in its tin to settle for fifteen minutes then loosen the sides with a palette knife and carefully lift out its tin. Leave to cool a little longer and then carefully peel of the paper.