It’s been a week of friends doing me a huge amount of favours with the firefighter being away all week with work. The best way I know to thank people for their kindness is, of course, to bake something lush!
Baking is a soothing process. I love looking through my cupboards concocting recipe ideas in my head. I feel immediately calmed by weighing and measuring all my ingredients out in advance ready for action. Then slowly bringing it all together to bake something that fills the house with delicious smells.
It might be an odd time to do it, but a bit of baking in the evening after a hectic day is like going for a sauna and swim for me!
Banana bread is one of the most reliable bakes I do. It’s pleasingly thrifty with its use of manky old bananas, yet tastes really luxurious with it’s dark and dense texture. It’s a very kiddy friendly cake ideal for a lunchbox or afterschool snack with a glass of milk.
My favourite time to have it is for breakfast though with a strong cup of coffee. I was especially revived by it this week after a 4am start with Arlo. I’m not exaggerating when I say his nocturnal bellowing sounds like a car alarm…
I’ve written about a few versions of Banana Bread before, but this week I’ve put a slightly different spin on it by substituting some of the flour for desiccated coconut, and using mixed spice instead of cinnamon.
The result was so tasty. The coconut gave the cake a bit more bite without making it too grainy. It felt less claggy than normal banana bread. The mixed spice really deepened the flavours and made it especially nice with coffee.
I should have lined my loaf tin with greaseproof paper instead of just greasing it with butter, coz it got a bit stuck. But luckily the beauty of this cake is that it’s meant to look rustic.
Spiced banana and coconut loafcake
125g butter, softened
175g soft brown sugar – I used half light, half dark muscavado
3-4 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 eggs, room temp
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp mixed spice
150g plain flour, sifted
1 tsp baking powder
100g desiccated coconut
1 tsp bicarb soda
50ml warm milk
1. Heat the oven to 180’C, 160’C Fan, Gas 4. Line a 30cm x 11cm loaf tin. Cream the softened butter and sugar together until fluffy, then mix in the mashed bananas. Slowly add the eggs, vanilla, mixed spice and a pinch of salt until well combined. Beat in the flour and baking powder.
2. In a little dish mix the bicarb soda with the warm milk, then gently stir into the cake batter. Pour the mixture into your prepared loaf tin and bake for approx 55 minutes. The loaf should appear crusty on top, and a skewer should come out of the cake clean. Turn your loafcake out of the tin and allow to cool on a wire rack.
It’ll cut into 10-12 slice and keeps well in a sealed container for a few days. It’s never lasted long enough for me to try freezing it!