Banana bread. One of the cheapest, easiest, most singularly satisfying things that you can make in your oven.
For me, banana bread brings with it memories Australia, of inhaling a slice of banana bread and a flat white on the Manly ferry after a Saturday of trying to surf. I’d shove the whole lot in my mouth while trying to keep my eyes open – usually followed by a nap on the ferry and a nap in the back yard hammock before heading out that evening. Even the smell of banana bread cooking makes my paddling muscles ache these days. I miss those Saturday afternoons on the beach.
A couple of fresh slices of this delicious cake bring a little of that Sydney sun to the ever-ripening autumn of Edinburgh.
If you’ve a few more bananas than you need, or a fruit bowl full of quickly-blackening nanas that need to be eaten, there’s no better way to use them up. They bring a moistness to this recipe that means the oil content is relatively low, and their full flavour is nicely contrasted to the freshness of the cardamom. I put cardamom in almost everything, but it works especially perfectly here.
Make this for your friends, for your kids, for your husband or just for yourself. Fill your kitchen with memories of Sydney and you won’t regret it.
(makes 1 loaf)
2 cups plain flour
1 cup brown sugar
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1 teaspoon vanilla essence
6 cardamom pods, shelled and ground
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
2/3 cup coconut oil
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius (350 F) and grease a loaf pan or line it with baking paper
Sift together the flour and sugar, then stir in the baking powder, cardamom, baking soda and salt
In a smaller bowl, stir (or blend) together the coconut oil, vanilla essence and mashed banana
Add the wet ingredients to the dry and stir until just combined
Pour the mixture into the loaf pan and drop it onto the counter top a few times to even it out and get rid of bubbles
Bake for 50 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Do NOT bring it out of the oven until a skewer right in the centre comes out clean. The mixture needs time to cook through, and depending on where you are in the world and the state of the oven, this might be longer than 50 minutes
Turn out onto a cooling rack and leave it until it’s properly cooled
Slice and serve with vegan spread, jam or just a good cup of tea and a friend