Yep, I worship the loaf shaped cake of goodness. It brings back memories of cooking in Australia with my Nana when I was little, sitting in the lounge, my tummy rumbling as the rich smell filled her little place and waiting til I could have that first slice with ice cold milk. Over years I have used and tried many recipes, and some have worked better than others. With my diabetes and such, I found many used so much sugar, which, with ripe bananas is just too much for me. As time went on, my tastes changed as well. I have always been able to taste bicarbonate of soda in things, and when it is too overwhelming, I wrinkle my nose up and abandon what I'm eating. A lot of American recipes for banana break use bicarb, but I prefer to just use baking powder to add the lightness to mine. Many also add things such as chocolate chips, or walnuts, both excellent additions, but they are exactly that, an addition. I like nothing to interfere with the pure caramelly banana taste in my breads, especially as I often use them as a breakfast food when I make a batch.
The best recipe in a book I have found has to be from The Hummingbird Bakery, but seeing as I'm determined to be a healthier girl, I couldn't leave it be. Made with melted butter and more sugar than I like, I decided I needed to adapt it, so I did...
I started with the sugar content. The original recipe uses 270g soft brown sugar; now this is all well and good but not great for blood sugar spikes. After some umming and ahhing, I pulled the Tate & Lyle, light at heart from my cupboard and opted for this instead. A blend of sugar and stevia, it reduces the amount used by half and the sweetness isn't affected by the stevia in the blend, nor by the reduced amount of sugar used.
Next was the bananas. When I cook with bananas, the blacker they are the better they taste in cakes. I actually freeze my bananas when they start getting too squishy for my liking, these makes them all brown and full of taste when defrosted and mashed. I then removed the bicarbonate and instead of using white flour, I opted for a soft brown plain flour. I often use a 50/50 blend of brown and white in these type of heavier based cakes.
The amount of cinnamon and ginger used in the Hummingbird recipe is delicious, but again for me, hides what the cake is about, so I removed the ginger and halved the cinnamon so it has a hint.
Lastly came the fat. Now, the eggs are left as they are, but I decided the butter was too much on my waistband, so out came the apple puree. Yep, the base of many a recipe for me. Using an unsweetened apple puree is a FANTASTIC fat substitute in baking, I suggest you give it a whirl. And this was the result ;
- 120g Tate & lyle brown light at heart mix (I reckon you could use 70g soft brown and 50g of stevia blended if you wanted to try your own mix)
- 2 eggs
- 200g peeled bananas, mashed.
- 280g plain flour ( I used a soft brown flour, but a 50/50 mix of white and brown would be wonderful)
- 1 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
- 120g apple puree
- Preheat your oven to to 170C / 325F / Gas Mark 3. Grease a 23x13cm loaf tin and dust with flour. Silicone loaf tins work best with this and don't require greasing or flouring so saving some work
- Put the sugar and eggs in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until blended. Add and then beat in the mashed bananas.
- Add the flour, and cinnamon to the banana mix and throughly combine until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the egg mixture. Add the Baking powder to the apple puree, stir and quickly mix into the the rest of the cake.
- Pour into prepared loaf pan, level out and bake for 60-80 mins, checking the centre to see when the cake is done. It will also start to pull away from the sides which is a great indication is it ready.
- Remove and leave to stand in it;s tin for 30 mins before tipping onto a rack and cooling.