This is quick fix for all of those going off for runs, sea-swims or big bike-rides either eary morning, after work or when there has been no time for a proper meal. It's a cake, yes- and we do need some cake too; for the quick energy and for the soul !
by Charlotte Mountain
This is my favourite recipe for Banana Bread from Bread Ahead Bakery and although called Banana Bread like many are, it is really more of a cake - but it has fruit in it so is healthy (I tell myself that!). It is great for a post-exercise treat and can be frozen easily as slices, whilst keeping a nice texture, so that you don’t have to eat it in one go -and can always have some on hand when needed.
If you search online, you'll find that Banana Bread recipes vary a great deal, with many including yoghurt, soured cream or being oil or butter based. This one uses an oil for the fat which I was sceptical at first because I don’t tend to bake with oils but always use butter. However, after trialling this recipe during lockdown (from one of Bread Ahead’s live bake-along) a few times I decided I loved it over any previous banana bread I had made.
210ml Vegetable Oil
210g Light Brown Sugar (I’ve used Dark Brown and this works fine too you will just get a darker cake)
2 Medium Eggs
235g Plain Flour
1 teaspoon Bicarbonate of Soda
1 teaspoon of Baking Powder
1 teaspoon Cinnamon (I’m over-generous on this as I like the cinnamon taste)
½ teaspoon Ground Ginger
1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract (I use vanilla bean paste but this is expensive!)
3 ripe bananas
Tip – If you don’t have any over-ripe bananas you can place them in an oven at 160°C until they turn black and then leave them to cool. This takes about 15 minutes but don’t forget about them as they will just turn to mush and don’t use them until cooler.
Preheat your oven to 180°C (Fan oven). Grease and line a loaf tin (2lb) with baking paper. I always grease with butter as I find this helps the baking paper stick to the tin better than oil.
Mash your bananas (cooled if they’ve been in the oven).
Whisk together the sugar, eggs and vanilla and then slowly add in the oil a little bit at a time – it will look separated at first, but if you keep whisking it will combine to form a smooth batter.
Sieve all the dry ingredients (flour, salt, baking powder and soda, cinnamon and ginger) and gently fold this mix into the batter, followed by the mashed bananas – don’t overmix, you just want to mix until there are signs of unmixed flour.
Pour into your lined tin and bake for approximately 45-50 mins – this is where ovens vary so start watching it at 40mins – but I bake until a nice brown (it will naturally be darker if you use dark brown sugar like I did) and a skewer comes out clean when inserted (like a normal cake!). Mine took the full 50 minutes but I did keep opening the oven to check on it, not speeding up the process.
Leave to cool in the tin for 10-15minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to continue cooling.
Cut into slices and enjoy – you can freeze the cake at this point. I individually wrap each slice in cling film (sorry environment) and place these in the freezer, you could freeze on a tray as slices and then transfer to one freezer bag once solid instead – just don’t freeze them in one go as slices, you’ll struggle to get separate them.
Whenever I want a slice, I take it out the freezer and let it defrost at room temperature or if I’m too impatient to wait, I pop it in the microwave for 30 seconds until the entire slice is warm.