There are two kinds of banana bread.
There’s the one that’s closer to bread, where the mashed banana gives the slightest edge of sweetness and chewiness to something still sturdy enough to withstand the addition of butter and cheese.
And then there’s the classic one – for some reason it’s also called banana bread, but actually, it’s a cake batter with some banana mixed in, almost always baked in a loaf tin, but in most respects actually cake.
Now, if you have any interest in bread baking (as in actually taking your slow, loving time coaxing flour, yeast and water into life in the form of rising dough), you need to find yourself a copy of The Tassajara Bread Book. It’s heavenly. And at some point, I’ll remind you, when I get back to making bread. But this week, it’s been all cake for me. And luckily for me, Nicole sent me her utterly lovely recipe for the classic, cakey version of banana bread. Not overly sweet and buttery as, and it makes a decent-sized loaf, enough to get you through lots of teatimes. (After a couple of days, though, even the cakiest banana loaf is very happy to be toasted. The sweet smell of burning sugar and butter in the toaster will brighten your morning, I promise.)
Nicole’s classic banana loaf
1/4 lb (113 g) butter
1 1/2 cups (375 ml) yellow sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 cup mashed very-ripe (blacker is better) bananas (that’s about 3-4 bananas)
2 cups (500 ml) flour
1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius. Line the base of a loaf tin with some greaseproof paper, and grease it well with butter (or spray with non-stick stuff).
2. Dissolve bicarbonate of soda in 1/2 cup boiling water.
3. Cream butter and sugar well. Add beaten eggs, flour and baking powder.
4. Add dissolved bicarbonate and lastly, mashed bananas.
5. Bake at 180 degrees in buttered load tin for about an hour, or until a skewer comes out clean.