With all the weirdness that’s going on in the world right now, I can totally understand why a lot of us are being drawn to getting into the kitchen. There’s just something so therapeutic about watching a cake rise or the smell of freshly baked cookies… I’m gonna have to roll myself out of the house when all this is over!
Whilst I’ll confess I hadn’t done a lot of baking prior to lockdown, now I have more of an inclination and more time to make anything other than a bung-it-all-in-the-oven-whilst-I-drink-wine-in-the-bath supper, I’ve had a severe banana bread craving. I think it might have something to do with the sheer amount of them I’ve seen all over social media – and that’s no bad thing imo!
Bananas seem to be something we love to buy, but don’t always get around to eating before they inevitably shrivel into brown mush; and whipping up a loaf of banana bread is the perfect way to use up all those sad bananas languishing at the bottom of the fruit bowl. It’s also the best way I know to get my fussy boyfriend to eat more fruit, which is an added bonus for anyone with children (or a man child, like me!), and with a few sneaky chocolate chips added makes you feel a bit naughty without actually being TOO bad for you… Unless you can’t restrict yourself to one slice – guilty!
My Gramps was well known for his banana bread (it was one of the few things he could cook!) so it always reminds me of him. Hopefully he would approve of this – although the chocolate chips would not have made it into his version!
2 or 3 mashed over-ripe bananas
175g caster sugar
100g butter (leave this to soften for 30 minutes or so beforehand)
225g self-raising flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
120g chocolate chips (I love white, but milk or dark work just as well)
A couple of drops vanilla essence
2 tablespoons milk
Passionfruit curd, raspberry jam or nutella (optional)
Preheat the oven to 180C, (you could also pop in your bananas if they’re not quite ripe enough for easy mashing). Grease and line your loaf tin with some baking paper, then grease the paper too – this makes it really easy to slide out the bread later on. Leave to one side.
Cream the softened butter with the sugar until well combined. Then combine the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder and salt) in a separate bowl. Next, add the eggs individually with a spoonful of the dry ingredient mixture after each, and beat together. The beat in the remaining dry mixture, followed by the vanilla essence. Then add the mashed banana and milk.
Finally mix in the chocolate chips, slowly folding them in a couple of times to evenly distribute them – be careful not to overmix at this point, or your bread may not rise as well.Pour the mix into your loaf tin, then sprinkle with a small handful more chocolate chips, pressing them lightly into the top of the cake mixture to stop them from burning. Sometimes I like to marble a couple teaspoons of passionfruit curd, jam or even nutella into the top of the cake too – it adds a little more moisture and just makes the top crust even more delicious.
Place your loaf on the middle shelf of the oven and leave to cook for around 40 to 50 minutes. Keep an eye on the cake from around the 35 minute mark – there’s nothing more heartbreaking than a burnt cake! When ready, the top of the loaf should be a light golden brown (it can be much darker if you’ve used nutella to swirl into the top, so keep a close eye to make sure it’s not burnt!). Poke a metal skewer into the centre of the bread – it should come out clean when the cake is done.
Cut a slice whilst still warm, or store in an airtight container if you’re feeling generous enough to share it later. Pop the kettle on and enjoy with a cup of tea, or have a slice or two with extra nutella for a great breakfast!
Don’t forget to let me know if you’ll be baking some banana bread using this recipe – I love seeing photos of you all using my recipes!