I always associate banana bread with Nigella. I think it’s because, it was in one of the first recipes of hers that I read, I’m sure, that she said baking a banana bread filled the house with a fug of domesticity.
Or some such. Since then I’ve made dozens of banana breads and it usually
disappoints, probably because I keep changing recipes. Faced, however, with a huge batch of frozen, overripe bananas in the freezer (I always freeze overripe bananas) and more chocolate than any sane person needs (this is what happens when you get made Chocolate Correspondent of a national newspaper) I decided to have another go at making banana bread.
Also, for complicated reasons that I don’t fully understand myself, I hadn’t cooked or baked anything in weeks when I first made this last year. Which is really not like me, but this glorious little cake gave me my baking mojo back.
For a writer, I am remarkably picture led where recipes are concerned and thus it was that I found this recipe for Nigella’s Gluten-Free Banana Bread and it was, I confess the picture of the large slabs of chocolate which lured me in. I planned to make it gluten free (why not) but in the end found no rice flour in my flour cupboard so made it with normal plain flour. I also lowered the sugar and used pecans instead. I think this would also be great made in muffin size. I’ve put the recipe below as I made it – do refer to the original if you wish and if you want to make it gluten-free which this ain’t.
175g plain flour (I use spelt these days, a mixture of white and wholegrain)
100g ground almonds
two teaspoons of baking power
half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda
a quarter teaspoon of sea salt
500g of very ripe bananas (weighed with skin on)
two teaspoons of vanilla extract
100g Greek yoghurt – full fat
125g light olive oil
100g light brown sugar
100g roughly chopped pecans (or any other nut you like)
150g chopped chocolate – I used a mixture of milk and plain in chocolate chip size and quite large chunks
You need a 2lb loaf tin for this (Nigella gives the sizes as 24cm x 12cm and mine was roughly that, why don’t cake tin manufacturers put the volume/measurements on the bottom of their tins?). Line this tin. Preheat the oven to 170C.
Mix together the dry ingredients, thus the flour, ground almonds, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
In a larger bowl (for this will be the one everything else ends up in) place the bananas and mash them up, then mix in the vanilla extract, Greek yoghurt and the eggs one at a time. Then the oil and sugar. When all is better unified than a post-Brexit UK, add the dry ingredients bit by bit until combined. Then finally gently fold in the nuts and chocolate.
Dollop all this in the cake tin and bake for about forty minutes. Nigella says 45-55, my oven seems quite fierce so I started checking it after 35 mins. Also it does depend on how much moisture your bananas hold.
You know it’s done when the top is dry, it springs back, it’s shrunk away a little from the sides and a skewer comes out relatively clean (obviously not if you hit a shard of chocolate).
This is a beautiful cake. Unfortunately I can’t find a picture I took of it so this post will be picture-less until I make it again.