I am not the most relaxed of bakers. I like order and recipes, and baking for me is a quiet time-out where logic applies and I know roughly what to expect. However, I am trying to move out of this comfort zone and to relax, to trust my instincts. Also, I am experimenting with baking with less sugar and butter. No giving up cake for the New Year! Just tweaking ratios a bit, like this banana bread.
It was inspired by Italian Breakfast Banana Bread at PonPeKo last summer: does that not look delicious? She says it is a Nigella recipe, from Nigellisima, and that “…. it is important to follow Nigella’s advise, let the banana bread stand for a day after baking!” I cut the sugar and oil by a third, added a dollop of sourdough starter (rather than mashing more banana) and it was very nice indeed.
Espresso banana bread
3 very ripe bananas (mine were about 270 grammes peeled weight)
30 grammes sourdough starter (optional)
100 ml sunflower oil
Pinch of salt
100 grammes white sugar
160 grammes plain flour
1/2 tsp baking soda
5.4 grammes instant espresso powder (three hotel sachets, 3-4 tsp)
Preheat oven to 170 °C. Line a medium loaf tin with baking paper.
Mash bananas with a fork, beat in oil, sugar, eggs, sourdough and a pinch of salt. Stir in flour and baking soda. Finally, stir in your instant espresso. Pour batter into tin, bake in the middle of the oven. Mine took 60-70 minutes baking time until the cake tester came out clean, a bit longer than expected.
Notes: This was delicious freshly baked, but the banana flavour definitely gets stronger and the cake is even better the next day. It is a great lunch box cake, it travels well. I really liked the slighly bitter espresso accent, and might try it again with even less sugar. As you can see, there are still plenty of bananas in need of attention………