A seasonal take on a baking classic.
As autumn slips into winter, there’s no bigger treat than delicious home baking. This is a wee seasonal twist on everyone’s favourite: banana bread. The recipe is from Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall’s River Cottage Fruit Every Day (which I would definitely recommend to fruit lovers); with its comforting cardamom spice and rich hit of chocolate it makes for a wholesome but luxurious autumnal treat. To make one loaf (8-10 slices, but I think it stretches to a few more) you’ll need:
100 ml sunflower, rapeseed or coconut oil, with extra for greasing (I used sunflower)
About 12 cardamom pods or 1/2 tsp ground cardamom
175g light brown sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 medium free-range eggs
300g peeled ripe banana flesh (approx 3 medium sized bananas – use very ripe ones for the best result, a great way to use fruit that’s past its best)
75g plain wholemilk yoghurt
200g light brown plain flour or spelt flour (I used brown)
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
100g dark chocolate, chopped (I’m not a huge fan so used milk instead)
2 tbsps demerara sugar, or extra soft brown sugar to finish (I used demerara)
1) Preheat the oven to 180C/ Gas 4 (I have a fan oven so turned it down 10 degrees). Grease and line a 1 kg loaf tin (approx 11 x 22 cm).
2) Extract the seeds from the cardamom pods and crush them using a pestle and mortar.
The result should be a coarse powder like this:
3) Measure the sugar into a large bowl. Add the oil and the vanilla extract.
Combine the sugar and wet ingredients, then add the eggs.
Beat together until smooth – it should look something like this:
4) Mash the bananas in a separate bowl, then add the yoghurt.
Next add the ground cardamom, mixing well.
Stir the banana thoroughly into the oil and egg mixture.
5) Sift the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt over the mixture.
Add half of the chopped chocolate and fold together lightly but thoroughly.
The result should be a smooth mixture like so:
6) Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin.
Sprinkle the remaining chocolate over the surface of the mixture, followed by a liberal sprinkling of demerara sugar.
Bake for 50-55 minutes or until the cake is springy to the touch and a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool in the tin for at least ten minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
So there you go! Perfectly comforting with a cuppa on a late autumn afternoon.
What are your favourite colder weather comfort bakes ?