Banana bread for adults – how I learned to tinker
I made some banoffee muffins recently which were nice but a bit sweet for my taste. I’ve been searching for ages for a banana cake recipe which is a bit more grown-up and stumbled upon Chez Pim’s Morning-after banana bread which immediately got me interested. Now when I find a new recipe I usually follow it to the letter the first time to give it a chance, then if I like it enough to make it again I might tweak it a bit. However, I NEVER do this for cakes – this is hallowed ground for me and tremble at the thought of what adding or taking away would do to the proportions. Pim described the way she had tweaked the recipe inherited via a trail of lovely blog sites from a friend’s mum – adding sour cream for sharpness, whiskey for depth – and suddenly the penny dropped. I brazenly took the recipe and made it my own. My husband has won a certain annual golf tournament three years in a row (bear with me) and due to its sponsor we have a rather excessive amount of Jack Daniel’s in our house. I like it with ginger ale and a good squeeze of fresh lime juice but not enough to get through our stash. I thought the vanilla, caramel notes of it would really match the sweet banana. I was on a roll with deep, sultry flavours so used light brown sugar instead of granulated and added a tiny pinch of mixed spice to enhance but not overwhelm. I didn’t have the espresso required so used Nescafe Alta Rica granules. I hope you like my tinkering – I did and ate three warm slices straight away. This would make a great pudding served warm with creme fraiche or baked in bite-sized (well, several bites) muffins.
Tennessee Banana Bread
3-4 very ripe bananas (350g of banana, if you want to be exact)
1 egg, beaten
1 tablespoon sour cream or yogurt
75g (1/3 cup) melted butter
a scant 1 tablespoon of strong instant granules such as espresso (I used Nescafe Alta Rica)
2 tablespoons Jack Daniel’s whiskey or other bourbon
150g (3/4 cup) soft, light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder (soda)
1/4 teaspoon of mixed spice
1 teaspoon salt
175g 1 1/2 cup plain (all-purpose) flour
Preheat the oven to 175C (350F)
In a large bowl, mash the ripe bananas until creamy. Add the egg and sour cream, whisk to blend. Next add the melted butter, coffee granules and whiskey. Stir to mix.
Then add the sugar, baking powder, mixed spice and salt, and again stir vigorously until completely incorporated. Sift the flour into the bowl, stir, gently this time, until the flour is incorporated and you can no longer see spots of white flour in the batter. Butter and flour a 9” loaf tin (about 22 cm) or line it with a piece of baking parchment. Pour the cake mixture into the tin. Knock the tin on the counter once or twice to let the mixture fill it nicely and get rid of any air pockets. Bake on a baking tray for 1 hour, or until a wooden skewer inserted in the middle comes out clean.