Background: After my viewers voted Nigella Lawson to be the gastronomic superstar you wanted to see me make/bake & review a pudding from, and after some perusing I decided to make a recipe from Nigellissima- a 16 page pull out section from You magazine. My mother debated that perhaps this cannot be classed as a pudding, as it is a breakfast bread.. However, I personally eat this as a cake, and cake=pudding to me. So I am going to politely ignore her
What: Italian Breakfast Banana Bread
How Much?: Free! Well it isn’t but I managed to make the loafy cakeness all from bananas and store cupboard ingredients my own domestic goddess (mum) had in her larder.
- 150ml/3/4s pint flavourless vegetable oil, plus some for greasing (I hope Crisp’n’Dry- rapeseed oil counts )
- 3 medium bananas, very ripe indeed (approx 400g/14oz total with skin on, 300g/11oz without)
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- pinch salt
- 2 large organic eggs
- 150g/5oz caster sugar
- 175g/6oz plain flour
- 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
- 4 teaspoons of instant espresso powder (ashamed to admit I used instant coffee powder.. sorry Nigella)
- 1 x 450g/1lb deep loaf tin OR
- 1 X 12-bun muffin tin
- Slip a baking sheet into the oven, and preheat to 170C/gas mark 3. Get out a loaf tin, and line it with baking paper or a loaf tin liner, or lightly oil it. I find that the bananas create a non-stick bouncy surface, though, rather like prunes do on baking, so don’t fret if you don’t have a liner
- Mash the bananas with the vanilla extract and salt and then beat in the oil.
- Now, beat in the eggs one by one, followed by the sugar
- Mix the flour with the bicarb and espresso powder (/instant coffee granules), and beat these dry ingredients into the runny batter
- Pour the batter into your prepared loaf tin, pop it in the oven, on the baking sheet, and then bake for 50-60minutes, or until slightly coming away at the sides and bulgingly risen: a cake tester (or skewer) should come out clean, barring the odd crumb. I urge you to exercise restraint and wait for a day or at least half a day before slicing into it. If I can do that so can you.
Lawson, N (2012) Nigellissima: 6 Fabulous Italian Recipes- Part 2. IN: YOU Magazine 16th September 2012. Daily Mail: Associated Newspapers Ltd.
What was Good: The texture was beautiful! Even after Nigella’s advice, my family and I still couldn’t resist eating a slice just an hour or two after decanting from it’s tin, and the texture change from then until I had let it rest and sleep over night was unbelievable! Fresh from the oven it was crispy on the outside and cakey, very sponge-like in the centre, with just a subtle taste of banana. However, the next day it had developed it’s unique banana bread texture, dense yet light, quite unusual. It is spongy yet resistant, and bounces back in a very pleasant way. And the flavour had developed much more, and the taste of banana was much more evident. The colour was lovely, a deep rich golden brown, and when sliced was speckled and even in colour. One of my favourite things about the cake was that it was so moist and soft! It was a very pleasant experience, quite unlike eating a traditional sponge cake.
What was Bad: I think I made the mistake of adding in instant coffee granules. They did not combine well into the mixture and actually when cooked, were left as partially dissolved grains throughout the cake. This made it so that occasionally when eating you get a bitter tang, which detracts from the beautiful flavour of the rest of the cake. But other than that, banana bread, and now namely Nigella’s banana bread, will become a firm family favourite!
(Don’t worry the bananas I used were far less fresh, but they did not look as pretty lol)