It took me a long time to be convinced by the virtues of banana bread. I was after a flavour and texture that could work in the morning (so not too sweet or soft) and as a treat at teatime (so not too bready). I mean, what could be better than a cake that can be eaten for breakfast? But the elusive combination of density and moistness evaded me for years; every recipe I tried was either too dry, too spongy or (and I know this sounds weird) too banana-flavoured. Then, having re-discovered the delights of its carrot cake, and knowing that the North Americans are experts in baking, I turned again to the New York Cookbook.
Here, of course, I found a recipe that I love not only because it’s dead simple but also because it works brilliantly with bananas in all states of repair. I first made it with some that were so ripe when I froze them that they were liquid by the time I’d defrosted them. To this day I’ve never bettered that result.
Banana Bread (adapted from the New York Cookbook)
You will need:
1 1/3 cups dark brown muscovado sugar
3 large eggs, mixed together lightly with a fork
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda (not, as the photo above suggests, baking powder)
1/4 cup sour cream
1 1/2 cups plain flour (either a mix of half wholewheat, half white, or just white; the recipe recommends x and y flour combined but I’ve successfully made it with white plain flour)
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup really really ripe bananas (ones that have gone completely soggy and black-skinned are the best), mashed to a pulp
a large, greased loaf tin (mine is about 21cm long by 12cm wide by 6cm deep)
1. Preheat the oven to 180C/Gas Mark 4 or 160C for a fan-assisted oven.
1. Cream together the sugar and butter…
6. Finally fold in the mashed bananas and mix until thoroughly combined. 7. Put the batter into the loaf tin and bake for about 50 minutes (the recipe says an hour, but I’ve never left it that long) until a knife inserted into it comes out clean.