What on earth could improve Hump Day except a good, thick slice of banana bread? So simple to make and even easier to eat, making it one of the best mid-week bakes ever. I am forever seeing it on Instagram and thought, this week was the perfect time to make it.
Banana bread is very popular, always welcome in cafes, bake sales and when brought into work. I think people like the fact that it uses up old fruit for one thing; and the idea that it’s relatively “healthy”. Hate to break the banana bread bubble but it’s actually full of sugar – natural and unnatural alike! But, it is hump day. What is an office worked to do?
Banana bread is a great for a beginner baker as it’s super simple and doesn’t require much attention besides beating everything together and banging it in the oven. It also ages really well. I often wrap banana bread in grease-proof paper and pop it in a tin for a couple of days before serving it. It will become even more moist and any additional flavours such as spice or vanilla will sink in further. Plus, it tastes great toasted and served warm with cinnamon butter. Even stale, it is a delight! Banana bread is also great to have in the freezer for a last minute guest or pang for sweetness. Have I sold banana bread to you yet? Well, I do work in sales and marketing after all.
The internet is ripe with recipes for banana bread (pardon the pun) but I really believe if it hasn’t got butter in it then don’t bother. While sunflower oil works great in carrot cakes and the likes, for a light and fluffy sponge definitely go with butter. We want a comforting loaf which doesn’t need icing to bulk it up. My own experience is that cakes make with oils alone often need a little help.
A lot of recipes tell you to add more fruit than just bananas. I think here we need to ask ourselves, are we doing this just for the sake of doing it. Put the dried cranberries away and focus on the core elements. Fruit, maybe nuts and maybe malt or spice. Even when I see people adding chocolate to it I think it’s overkill. Not everything has to be super extreme, it can just be nice. I mean some people even add dried banana chips. No one in the history of the world wants to eat a chunk of dried banana in a cake. Actually no one.
I always add malt to my recipe as I like the connection to milkshakes and often have it left in the cupboard. Somehow it makes it more old fashioned too and extra comforting. Let me know if you guys enjoy the below recipe and if you love banana bread too 🙂
Right, you need:
175g caster sugar
100g unsalted butter (melted)
2 large eggs
5 tbsp malt powder (Ovaltine or Horlicks will work perfectly)
225g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
splash of whole milk
3 medium banana (very ripe)
To decorate (Optional)
1 medium banana (ripe)
2 tbsp good quality honey
- Find a 2lb loaf tin and line it up with grease-proof paper. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees or Gas Mark 4.
- Peal the bananas and mash up using a fork. Place to one side.
- Weigh the sugar, malt powder and melted butter all into one large bowl and mix together. It will look like wet sand.
- Add in the mashed banana and beat lightly with a wooden spoon.
- Follow with the beaten eggs, flour, baking powder and milk. Continue mixing with the wooden spoon until everything has come together smoothly. Don’t worry if there are large chunks of banana – some lucky person will get a good mouthful.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. If you like at this point, grab another banana and split it in two length ways. Place both slices on the top of your cake. Now place in the oven to bake for 1 hour. When ready, the cake will be risen and golden brown all over.
- After an hour, take the cake out and loosen the sides from the tin. Gently tip the cake onto a wire tray and allow to cool. It’s a good idea to leave the baking paper around it here as this will keep it moist.
- If you would like to glaze the cake, simply brush the top with some good quality honey while it is still warm.