I have forever had the 5 O’Clock hunger. PM of course! Always. Whether as a child when this was around the evening play time or now when its time to slow down in the day over a cup of tea or coffee.
Most of the times I reach for the usual almonds, fruits, rice crisps, chips, the works. but there are times when I crave Cake. For me though its never, ever, very very rarely about the creamed cakes. Its usually about a flavourful tea cake. Barely sweet and usually resounding with the season’s fruit.
And top among the list of loves is the banana bread. Almost fool proof and always perfuming the house with the most splendid aroma of cinnamon, banana and vanilla. Sometimes an added touch of coconut.
The more stale it goes, the crumblier it gets. I think I could say that its different in flavour when sliced through warm straight out of the oven, different if had cold with warm coffee or milk, very different when slightly toasted through with a dollop of butter as morning breakfast, great as a post work out energy slab (of cake of course, why else do we work out, to eventually indulge ourselves).
So here is the version that I make and it is basically to reduce all guilt, the flour is blended with whole wheat flour, the sugar is packed brown and very less making the most of the natural sweetness of the bananas. For this specific time I also made some cherry compote to go with it, probably because i wanted to just try out my new cherry pitter, or for want of a tart contrast the cake. If you have the cherry compote left over, use it on toast, pancakes, crepes etc. I finished mine on the cheese board, served with some crackers and Camembert.
125 gms butter
150 gms dark brown sugar (if you like yours sweeter make that 200gms)
6 mashed bananas
100 gms all purpose flour
155 gms whole wheat flour (atta)
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp Vanilla extract
100 ml thinned yoghurt (whisk a little water, about 20ml to 80ml yogurt)
150 gms dry coconut powder (optional)
250 gms pitted cherries
50 gms sugar
1 lime (zest and juice)
- Mash bananas. Thats simple, peal and use a fork to break the bananas. Line a 3 inch deep 10X3 inch loaf tin with parchment paper. and preheat the oven at 180 degrees centigrade.
- The wet ingredients first. Cream the butter and sugar, which is about a 2 minute whisk job. Add in the eggs one at a time and whisk again. Add the vanilla extract and the thinned yoghurt and whisk again.
- The dry ingredients. Run everything through a sieve. Both the flours, the baking powder and the baking soda along with the cinnamon.
- Combine the wet and dry ingredients. Do not whisk too much but ensure that you combine thoroughly. As we have added yoghurt to the cake batter, it will immediately activate the baking powder and backing soda. So we will have to work quickly without over working the mixture. Use a spatula and pour the mixture in the lined loaf tin.
- If you are using the coconut powder then sprinkle it on the top after you have evened the cake mix in the tin with the spatula. This coconut forms a heady aromatic flavourful crust on to of the cake.
- Bake for 45 to 50 minutes in a 180 degree centigrade oven. Ensure it is cooked through by checking if a knife passes through the cake and comes out clean with no ingredients sticking to it.
Enjoy the smells wafting in the house and take out your favourite tea and china for the afternoon treat if you will. And while you are at it
- Macerate the cherry. Add the sugar to the cherries and let it sit for an hour or so.
- Gently cook. In a heavy bottomed pan, tumble the sugared cherries. Add zest of the lime. Simmer. Cover. And allow the fruit to release its juices and bubble away. Cook for about 10 minutes or so and then add the juice of 1 lime and let it simmer for 2 more minutes. Turn off the heat but continue stirring till the pot starts to cool down. The compote is ready.
Once the cake is done. Let it rest and cool off slightly. Thats the toughest part though but don’t loose patience, you don’t want to break the cake so wait for 15 minutes.
Serve. There are many ways. But best thing, serve warm with butter and the cherry compote. Coconut cream works well too.