My toddler is much like me insomuch as he gets obsessed with particular foods, For weeks he’ll devour a particular fruit or veg , then as quickly as the fixation appeared, it vanishes. This week his penchant seems to be for apples (he would eat at least three a day if I permitted). Last month it was bananas. Dutifully buying said fruit (you never know when the leaning towards healthy foods will expire) I amassed them in huge quantities,only for the little man to announce suddenly that they are ‘howibul’. Great.
So what do you do when life gives you an abundance of bananas? Make banana bread of course! I’m a big fan of fruit or veg as integral ingredients in sponge; they produce a lovely unctuousness and help to ward off the curse of a dry cake. The challenge is to maintain the moisture without tipping over into ‘damp’ category. Nobody likes a soggy, heavy sponge. You can feel safe in the knowledge that this loaf recipe steers clear of any cloying dampness.
Now I’m not sure what distinguishes banana bread from loaf, but they all seem of a similar cakey composition, and anyway, what’s in a name? Maybe loaf sounds a little healthier, more nourishing. I’ll go with it.
I’d stashed the load of brown spotty bananas in the freezer,skins and all, and mashed them up once thawed. I certainly wouldn’t eat them whole but as an ingredient that requires mashing and cooking, they are perfect. And the bonus is that they come in their own natural freezer proof case!
This loaf recipe includes a delicious crunchy streusel topping,the kind a traditional American ‘coffee’ cake has. Don’t dream of leaving it out; it’s the perfect foil to the moist sponge and elevates the not overly sweet cake to perfect teatime treat, or, with a little creme fraiche or ice cream, a filling dessert. My lovely American friend introduced me to the idea of crumbly, crunchy, cinnamon rich crusts on cakes and I’ve been obsessed ever since.
I make no apology for the addition of chocolate chips. Aside from toffee, chocolate is a banana’s best friend, and to be honest, there isn’t much that can’t be improved by a good chunk of good quality chocolate. Cut it out, or down, if you disagree or are cutting costs. Though in my humble opinion, chocolate is a welcome addition anytime and well worth it.
The toddler devoured slice upon slice of this in breakneck speed (nope, I didn’t inform him that it contained his new nemesis, ‘narnar’) and it really is my new favourite banana loaf recipe. I hope you like it as much as me.
Next job? Research apple recipes….
Banana Crumble Loaf
3 ripe bananas, mashed
300g self raising flour
1 tspn bicarbonate of soda
150g unsalted butter
220g caster sugar
2 large eggs
1 tspn vanilla
150ml natural yogurt mixed with a good squeeze of lemon
100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
For the crumble topping:
3 tablespoons plain flour
80g caster sugar
1/2 tspn cinnamon
- Preheat your oven to 180°c and grease and line an 8 x 5in loaf tin.
- Make the crumble topping by rubbing the butter into the flour with your fingers, leaving rough nubbly bits. Stir through the sugar and cinnamon and set the mixture aside.
- Cream together the butter and sugar with electric beaters until well combined and the sugar has lost its graininess
- Add eggs, bananas, vanilla and the yogurt mixture, stirring well to combine
- Sift the flour over the mixture, adding a pinch of salt. Stir lightly.
- Fold through the chocolate, and pour into the tin.
- Sprinkle with the crumble topping (you may not need it all) and bake for 50 mins, or thereabouts, checking after 40 mins.