We get free bananas at work, something about keeping us alert and healthy making us more productive. I don’t know if it works, but bananas are nice and they’re usually gone by the middle of week. However, occasionally you get a batch that go brown quicker, and fickle as people tend to be, the less appealing ‘nanas remain uneaten, getting even browner under the icy blast of the office air conditioning. Well rather than let them go to waste, myself and our office manager squirrel them away; their fate is to become delicious and decidedly less healthy, productivity sapping banana bread.
I’ve baked a fair few of these over the years and this recipe produced one of the best to date. I added some milk chocolate chunks, but I didn’t go the whole hog and make it into a chocolate cake by adding cocoa , I prefer the contrast in colour and taste between the ‘plain’ cake and the spots of chocolate, over a dominant all over chocolate – it’s like chocolate sponge pudding, never serve it with chocolate custard – where’s the contrast – a good vanilla custard brings out the chocolatiness of sponge.
I digress, the good thing is the basic recipe is very flexible, add dried fruit, nuts, cocoa powder. Often it’s whatever I have to hand. I struck on the milk chocolate because I had a bar that’s been knocking about inside the baking cupboard. I often add pecans, but then I forget about the fusspots that don’t eat nuts, so I went nut free on this one. Oh and the maple glaze is a new one too – I think it works great with bananas.
- 125g butter (melted)
- 172g castor sugar
- 3 eggs (beaten)
- 3-4 (350g) very rip bananas (mashed)
- 1tsp vanilla
- 337g plain flour
- 4tsp baking powder
- 3/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 200g good quality milk chocolate (cut into chunks)
- 3tbsp maple syrup
Preheat the oven to Gas 3 / 160C.
Grease and flour a loaf tin. My tin is quite big, the sort of size suitable for a large farmhouse loaf.
Sift the flour, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda into a bowl and set aside.
Mixed together melted butter, sugar, eggs, bananas and vanilla.
Fold the dry mixture into the wet. Add the chocolate chips and pour into your loaf tin.
Bake in the centre of your preheated oven for 50-60 minutes, until the top is golden and a skewer inserted comes out clean.
After leaving to stand for a few minutes, turn out onto a cooling rack.
For the glaze, heat the maple syrup gently until it starts to become syrup-like. Drizzle over the top of the cooled cake.
One last note, I always read banana bread recipes that say serve buttered with a cup of tea. Now I know it’s called ‘bread’ and I guess the recipe is quite muffin-like, which are often referred to as breads – but seriously, buttering this is gilding the lily somewhat, it’s a cake! Keep the tea by all means.