Tag Archives: banana bread

Nigella’s rather good banana and chocolate bread (which can be gluten free).

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

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

Two eggs

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.

 

Chocolate banana cupcakes with a chocolate cream frosting

My friend Vicky made this chocolate banana loaf the other day with her ducks’ eggs. I’m not usually a fan of banana bread. I want to like it, ever since I read that Nigella says making banana bread fills your house with domestic fug, or some such. But I just don’t really like it. I’m not a fan of an overly banana taste in anything other than in a, you know, banana. But this looked different, thanks to the abundance of chocolate and cocoa in it and on it. And then I had a child off sick the other day and so we decided to make it together; but into cupcakes not a loaf. And it worked brilliantly.

As you will see in the comments below the actual recipe in BBC Good Food magazine, lots of people have modified the recipe to make it even healthier with less sugar, more bananas, honey etc. I am obedient so, as it was the first time I made it, I followed the recipe.

I used Isigny Creme Fraiche instead of ‘sour cream’ (it’s the same thing anyway isn’t it?) and I used Tesco’s Finest Cooking Milk Chocolate with 40% cocoa content which is fantastic, even if you do have to go to Tesco to buy it (stock up). I hate hate hate buttercream icing so this is great for me.

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My youngest didn’t like the topping so I left some clear for her which was convenient as, making it into cupcakes rather than one loaf, I didn’t really have enough frosting (if you want to cover all of them, make double of the topping).

You can top with a banana chip if you want. I make my own, using my dehydrator, but obviously you can just BUY THEM.

Update: I have since made these again using coconut oil instead of sunflower oil (v nice, you don’t really taste the coconut) and also half wholemeal flour plus half a teaspoon of baking powder. Just to make it more healthy. If anything, I think the cupcakes tasted better..and because I’m lazy, I’m reproducing the recipe, as I now use it (i.e. adapted) here for my reference..

for the cupcakes

100g coconut oil, or olive oil or butter

110g caster sugar

90g white self raising flour

85g wholemeal, plain flour

half a teaspoon of bicarbonate of soda

half a teaspoon of baking powder

4 tablespoons of cocoa

100g chocolate chips – I use plain

175 very ripe banana (about two) – I weigh them with the skin on

3 medium eggs, two separated

50ml milk

For the topping (double this quantity if making cupcakes and you aim to ice the whole batch)

100g high cocoa content milk chocolate

100g creme fraiche/sour cream

a pinch of sea salt for real wowness

banana chips if desired

Line each cupcake mould with a case – this makes about 16 so you may need to cook in two batches.

Heat oven to 160C. Mix the sugar, flour, bicarb, cocoa and chocolate in a big bowl. Mash the bananas in another bowl and mix in two egg yolks plus one whole egg. To this, add the coconut oil/olive oil or butter and milk.

Beat the egg whites until stiff.

Add the banana mixture to the dry flour etc mixture, mixing well but not overmixing (I never understand why, what happens if you over mix it??). Stir in a bit of the egg white mixture to loosen it all up, then fold in the rest to keep the air in as much as possible.

Spoon into cupcake cases and bake for about 25 minutes – 30 mins. A skewer should come out clean, unless of course you hit a bit of melted chocolate chip.

Let them cool completely. In the meantime, melt the creme fraiche and chocolate together, in a bowl over simmering water, with the pinch of sea salt if desired. Then spread over cupcakes (if it’s really gloopy let it firm up a bit in the fridge first, but not too much). Top with a banana chip if you like.