Banana bread or cake? What do you call it? I have never been able to understand the mystery behind this confusion. I tried to find some help on the internet, but it seems this mystery is unresolved there too.
When you think about bread, first thing that comes to your mind is, bread has yeast in it. But then there are many breads in the world that don’t have yeast and just use raising agents. And then there is another genre of enriched sweet breads that may or may not use yeast. Let’s talk about cakes now. A basic batter for a cake uses raising agents, eggs, flour and butter, quite similar to an enriched bread without yeast. Here is a mind twister now, a carrot cake or a courgette cake is a cake but a banana in a cake makes it a banana bread? Any idea why it’s not carrot bread or courgette bread or a blueberry bread?
I know, that’s why I have decided to call it a cake as it tastes like a cake. Keep it simple! Now, there is no shortage of recipes when it comes to banana cakes, but majority of them have either cinnamon or chocolate in it. What makes this cake stand out for me is nutmeg and honey. There is no chocolate or cinnamon or vanilla in it. I also struggle to understand when some recipes call for using two or more spices or flavourings because what ends up happening is the stronger flavour masks the others used making it pointless to use it in the first place.
I found this gem in Mary Berry’s book ‘100 Cakes and Bakes’. I have made this cake now at least 5 or 6 times and what I am sharing today are the tweaks that I made. It’s a brilliant pairing for afternoon tea and those elevenses cravings. This cake is a nice change from the regular cinnamon /chocolate/vanilla flavours. Make this cake and tag me @simpleandsustainable on Facebook, Instagram or Pinterest or leave a comment here. Excited to see your bakes!
Preparation time: 15 -20 minutes includes 5 minutes for preheating the oven
Baking time: 1 hour 15 minutes approx. + 10-15 minutes for cooling
(may vary depending on the oven type)
Makes 1 loaf cake
Recipe inspired from the book 'My kitchen table: 100 cakes and bakes by Mary Berry'
1 teaspoon = 5 ml
225 g self-raising wholemeal flour or (225 g wholemeal flour + 12 g of baking powder)
1/2 teaspoon of freshly grated nutmeg
80 grams unsalted butter cut into cubes
70 grams of raw cane sugar
Zest of 1 unwaxed lemon
3 over ripened bananas, peeled and mashed
2 large eggs at room temperature
6 tablespoons of runny honey (if crystallised warm it in the microwave)
50 grams walnuts or pecans, chopped into small pieces and slightly roasted
For the topping:
Runny honey to drizzle on top
30 g walnuts or pecans, chopped and lightly toasted
A 900 grams or 2 lb loaf tin
A large mixing bowl and a spatula
Foil to cover the top of cake while baking
A skewer to test the cake
A bowl or a small pan to warm the honey
Preheat the oven to 175 degree Celsius and line the loaf tin with the baking paper.
Sieve the flour and nutmeg together and then add the butter and mix it with your hands until the mixture begins to look like breadcrumbs. You can also use a food processor to do that but I find doing by hands quite therapeutic!
Mix in lemon zest and sugar. Fold in the bananas and eggs and mix everything until well combined.
Pour the mixture into the lined tin and level the mixture with a spatula.
Bake for 1 hour 15 minutes in the centre of preheated oven at 175 degree Celsius. Check the cake after 45 minutes, if its browning too much cover the top with the foil. Cake is baked when a skewer inserted comes out clean. Once it’s done, let it cool in the tin for 10-15 minutes. Take it out from the tin and let it cool on the wire rack.
For the topping, warm the honey in a small pan or microwave it for 10 or 20 seconds in a bowl and mix in the walnuts or pecans whichever you are using. Drizzle this on top of the loaf cake and enjoy it with your cuppa!
I have also used a mix of wholemeal spelt and white spelt flour for this cake and it came out pretty well.
Maple syrup works well too and gives a distinct taste to the cake.
Always check your oven for the best baking temperatures especially if its a new oven.
Its stays good for 2-3 days outside.
Use freshly grated nutmeg instead of nutmeg powder as its more flavourful when freshly grated.