I had an experiment and it totally paid off. So I was following a recipe from Cookie and Kate that called for adding either water or milk as I assume the lack of butter (it was meant to be a healthy recipe but I dealt with that) left the mixture a little dry. So, I thought, why can’t this be a bit more adventurous? So in went the custard, and it’s so good! My banana bread can be a bit dry and uninteresting but this recipe is moist and flamboyant.
Plus, using vegetable oil it’s still on the healthy side so who could possibly resist? Then again, healthy baking has always struck me as a odd concept. I love to try all of my recipes but I will be the first to admit I don’t eat the majority of any batch. I love baking for the concept of sharing; a special, one-off treat that can be divvied up between the masses, baked for a special occasion. Therefore everyone gets to try just a taste of the novelty, then it’s gone as fast as it’s made and it’s eaten at it’s best. Baking should be a treat, whether on a diet or not. I guess that stems for the traditionalist in me, listening to my grandma when I was too small to reach the work-surface, explaining the lack of ingredients in her day, so baking was an event to be treasured and looked forward to.
Anyway, we have all the ingredients at our fingertips nowadays so I’ve also experimented with a few add-ins every time I make banana bread! As well as the custard I especially liked holding back on mashing 100% of the banana and keeping some sliced, this way you find the occasional intense banana hit, plus with a drizzle of honey on top, that upper crust is sweet and delicious! Next time I think I’ll go back to throwing in some coarsely chopped dark chocolate. Bigger chunks melt in the baking process and the lucky taster gets a vein of melting chocolate through their slice, yes!
- 75ml vegetable oil (or melted coconut oil, I have found olive oil too strong)
- 100g soft brown sugar
- 2 medium eggs
- 2 large bananas, mashed (+1/2 a chopped banana)
- 75ml premixed custard (or using powder – see instructions point 2.)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon powder
- 250g whole wheat flour, brown or white
- Preheat oven to 170C, 160C fan or Gas mark 3 and grease and line a 2lb loaf pan (silicon works well with loaf cakes as they are often hard to wiggle out).
- (If not using pre-made custard) Next make the custard according to package instructions in a measuring jug. I used Bird’s Custard with 70ml milk, popped in the microwave for about a minute then allowed to cool so it was still relatively runny for the cake.
- In a large bowl, beat the oil into the sugar as well as possible then add the eggs. Beat well to add volume before adding the custard to create a sticky mixture. Finally add the mashed bananas and fold until fully combined.
- To this, add the baking powder, vanilla, salt and cinnamon, and blend! Lastly, stir in the flour. Lumpy is fine, just make sure any larger flour pockets are stirred in. Finally add any extra goodies like the chopped banana or chocolate chips, raisins etc. I didn’t bother this time but a few chocolate chips melted through is truly yummy.
- Pour the thick mixture into your greased loaf pan and bake for 50 to 55 minutes.
- If a sharp knife or skewer comes out clean remove from the oven and leave it alone to cool in the tin for about 10 minutes (or as long as you can resist), then cool on a wire rack. Serve with extra custard for a real treat or my Mum’s favourite, with a tiny bit of salted butter and a cup of tea.