Baking… Banana Bread

Taking on a lockdown stereotype, this week I found myself baking banana bread.

I don’t really know why everybody else has been making this recently, but I found myself in possession of a deluge of ripe bananas and thought that I’d better do something with them. And sharpish – they were rather brown and mushy by the time that I decided to rescue them.

For once, I abandoned Mary Berry’s Baking Bible and Google turned up a Banana Bread recipe from the BBC Good Food website. I was attracted by the relatively small list of ingredients in comparison to some other recipes.

To make this Banana Bread, you will need:

  • 285g plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 110g butter, plus extra for greasing
  • 225g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 85ml buttermilk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

I always use baking margarine rather than butter, as you can use it straight from the fridge and it creams really well. I didn’t have any buttermilk (I can never find any at the best of times, never mind during lockdown) so used normal milk mixed with 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice, which works just as well. Alternatively, you could replace the milk with plain yogurt.

The method is as follows:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180C.
  2. Sift the flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt into a large mixing bowl.
  3. In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy.
  4. Add the eggs, mashed bananas, buttermilk and vanilla extract to the butter and sugar mixture and mix well. Fold in the flour mixture.
  5. Grease a 20cm x 12.5cm (2lb) loaf tin and pour the cake mixture into the tin.
  6. Transfer to the oven and bake for about an hour, or until well-risen and golden-brown.
  7. Remove from the oven and cool in the tine for a few minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely before serving.

I only had a 1lb loaf tin, so I split the mixture and baked it in two batches. They each took about 40 minutes to cook. The advantage of this was that my family only ended up eating half of the calories, and I was then able to do a lockdown good turn and split the other one in half for two of my neighbours.

The banana bread (or banana cake in the shape of a loaf) was really lovely and moist, and full of flavour. The banana flavour wasn’t overpowering, but the cake was sweet, with a sticky top. I preferred it on its own, although my daughter preferred it with butter. It kept well for a few days in an airtight tin.

Overall, this recipe was really simple to make, and both children have asked to have it again. I’m counting this one as a success!

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