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sticky banana, pecan and nut loaf

In my continuing search for the perfect banana cake I stumbled upon this recipe from Belinda Jeffrey's book, Mix and Bake. I knew I had some over ripe mashed bananas lurking in the fridge; checked the cupboard and had the rest of the ingredients, so last weekend I quickly put this cake together.

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It's one of those cakes where it takes more time to weigh out and chop the ingredients than it does to put the whole thing together. I did alter the proportion of dates and nuts a little but next time might stick to the original ratio.

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The cake came out of the oven smelling pretty good.

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As soon as the cake was cooled, I cut a slice to see how it looked inside.



Here's the recipe for you. For all my recipes, I use a 250 ml cup and a 20 ml tablespoon. All eggs are 60 grams and my oven is a conventional oven not fan forced, so you may need to reduce your oven temperature by 20°C. If you'd like to make a large loaf cake, just double all the ingredients. The baking time won't change.

Sticky Banana, Pecan and Date loaf: (adapted from a recipe from Mix and Bake by Belinda Jeffery)

Ingredients
cup plain flour
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
pinch salt
85g (3oz) roasted walnuts or pecans, roughly chopped
85g (3oz) pitted dates, roughly chopped
¼ cup caster sugar
¼ cup brown sugar
1 egg
¼ cup vegetable oil
⅔ cup mashed very ripe bananas
¾ teaspoon vanilla extract
pecan or walnuts for topping

Preheat the oven to 180⁰C/350⁰F. Line a small loaf tin with baking paper or grease and dust with flour. Set aside.

Put the flour, bicarbonate of soda, cinnamon and salt into a medium-sized bowl and whisk them together with a balloon whisk for 45 seconds (or you can just sift them into the bowl instead). Add the nuts and dates and toss them about so they’re thoroughly coated in the flour mixture.

Put the sugars, egg and oil into another bowl and whisk them together for 1 – 2 minutes or until they’re light and creamy. Add the mashed banana and vanilla extract and whisk them in for another 30 seconds or until the mixture is fairly smooth (don’t worry that it’s not completely smooth – there will be some little lumps of banana in it).

Stir the dry ingredients into the banana mixture until they form a somewhat sloppy batter. Scrape this into the prepared tin and arrange the nuts on top.

Bake for about 1 hour or until the top of the loaf is springy and a fine skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean. Cool the loaf in the tin on a wire rack for 10 minutes, before turning it out onto the rack to cool completely. It keeps well in the fridge for about 5 days.

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I decided to toast a slice of the cake then topped it with some fresh ricotta but I think butter would be better! The cake was good but not perfect so the hunt for the perfect banana cake recipe goes on.

I've just returned from a flying trip home to Brisbane. The bag has been unpacked and the fridge loaded with groceries and I'm about to head to the gym. I hope you enjoyed your weekend.

See you again next week with some more baking from my kitchen.

Bye for now,

Jillian
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