Banana loaf cake is a lovely treat for any time of year or any occasion. It works well with a cup of tea, with custard or with a little bit of cream cheese frosting. It’s a versatile cake and easy to make. What could be better?
This recipe came from a friend who – as far as I know – never really baked anything at all. Yet, it’s a super delicious, moist, more-ish and light banana loaf.
I’ve made this recipe probably hundreds of times and it always turns out well. You can under and over-bake a little and it doesn’t affect the final result too much, so it’s good for those (like me) who often forget to set the timer!
To change things up a little this time I decided to do some research into flavours which work well with banana. I turned up a lot of nut and caramel combinations, but wanted to see if I could find something a little more unusual.
This recipe is a great way to use up bananas you might have hanging around that look a bit brown and mushy and wrong. Don’t worry, they are perfect for this cake – the browner the better!Eventually I came across a scientific food site which compared the molecular make up of different foods and found ones which work well together – this is the kind of work that inspired Heston Blumenthal so I was pretty excited about it.
After discounting banana and parsley loaf (I mean, yuck, right?!) I chose banana and clove. Apparently the two have molecular compounds in common and that means the flavours are likely to complement each other.
So, if you want to make classic banana bread then simply remove the cloves. If you want to give it a slightly more experimental twist then add in the cloves and enjoy! I should mention at this point that I actually dislike cloves, so this was a real bold experiment for me. And – I’m delighted to report – a delicious one.
Banana Loaf Recipe
Banana Loaf with Cloves
- 4oz standard sugar
- 4 oz soft brown sugar
- 2/3 very very ripe bananas
- 4oz softened butter (I use salted but if you only have unsalted then add in a 1/2 tsp of salt later)
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 2 eggs
- 100 ml milk (I use semi skimmed)
- 8 oz self-raising flour
- 1/2 tsp bicarbinate of soda
- 1/2 tsp ground cloves
- Preheat the oven to 170 degrees, Gas Mark 3.
- Mash the bananas and sugar together in a large bowl. You can use a fork or beaters. Either is fine. If I add 3 bananas I usually cut down the standard sugar (for me, golden granulated) to 2 oz.
- Add the softened butter, eggs, milk and vanilla into the bowl. Beat them together until well combined. Again, beaters or a spoon are fine. It is quite a lot easier with beaters though!
- Mix the flour, cloves and bicarb in. If you need to add salt then now is the time. You can use half white & half wholemeal flour to make it a little healthier if you wish. If you add wholemeal then make sure that it is self-raising, or add a little bit of baking powder.
- Pour all the mixture into a greased loaf tin. I use a rubber one which doesn’t need greasing, so if you have one of those then go with that. It is a fairly runny mixture, don’t be alarmed and make sure you have steady hands to transfer it to the oven.
- Bake for 1 hr to 1.5 hrs. This totally depends on your oven, so check with a toothpick or knife to see if it is fully baked. If it comes out with just a couple of crumbs attached then it is ready.
Another nice thing about this recipe – besides how easy it is to make – is that the loaf lasts really well. You can keep it in a tin for at least 4 days without it drying out. I even think the clove taste was better the second day when the flavours really melded together.
I hope you like the sound of the recipe. I think the cloves and banana work really well together – the cloves bring out the banana flavour and give it a round, warm taste, while the banana mutes the flavour of the cloves. Neither overpowers, they just sit together nicely.
Let me know if you try it and what you think!
Oh and if you’ve ever tried bananas with parsley I’d love to hear about that too!