Friday, 13 July 2012
Banana chocolate bread
Well it's been one of those weeks. Work interfering with life way too much. In general, I tend to enjoy my job quite a bit, apart from a bit of a slump lately. But this week, I've been sitting around in meetings most of the week, essentially getting no work done. Admittedly meetings can be very important too, but three days in a row is a bit too much. And then there is the added horror of meeting food. I still can't believe I've survived three days on sandwiches, the most vile of foods. Empty calories with carbs, mayo and other disgusting things. My body is back in full sugar craving mode, and I decided that for one more day, I will allow myself something horribly unhealthy and from tomorrow it's back on track again.
I have never been a big fan of banana bread. I didn't use to think banana went very well with cakes or bread, I preferred to have it on it's own. However, for some strange reason, I have been having a massive banana bread craving for quite a while. I was very worried that I'm low on potassium or B6, so of course I have to give my body what it is craving. And then I ran into the idea of chocolate banana bread on Pinterest. And the rest is history. I browsed through all chocolate banana bread recipes I could get my hands on. Most of them required milk or soured cream, and I wanted to make something right there and then without having to go to the grocery store, so I settled on this recipe from Evil Shenanigans (a blog with the motto "sometimes it's good to be bad" has to be amazing, right?). I liked it because it only required ingredients I have at home, as well as the fact that it was based on oil instead of butter. Not that I mind using butter (as you should have discovered by now), but after making my orange-olive oil cake, I have started to enjoy the moistness that oil brings to a cake. Not that this is cake, of course, this is bread. Doesn't that make it sound much healthier? Oh and by the way, did you know that people with latex allergies can have an allergic reaction to bananas? I didn't either before today. At least that's what it said on the Interwebs. And we all know everything on the webs is true.
I only had two bananas, so I ended up rescaling the original recipe a bit, as well as adding in cardamom, which wasn't part of the original recipe. I just love cardamom in everything, and I think it goes very well with banana.
Banana chocolate bread (makes one loaf):
200 g brown sugar (I used 60g light brown muscovado, and 140g dark Muscovado)
75 ml oil (I used rapeseed oil)
2 over ripe bananas, mashed
170g white flour
1/3 cup (about 30 g) cocoa powder (I used my trusty Green & Black's organic)
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp cardamom
1/2 tsp salt
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup strong coffee (I used about 1.5 tbsp instant coffee)
Preheat oven to 175 degrees C. Mix together oil and sugar. Add eggs and beat until slightly fluffy. Add bananas, and the rest of the ingredients and give a quick mix. Pour into a bread tin or smaller baking tins, or a cake tin, or any other container you like. For a loaf, bake 45-55 minutes. Depending on your preferences, if you like a bit of goo in the centre of the loaf, make sure not to overbake. Let cool in the tin for half an hour, and then transfer onto a wire rack.
Then for the bad news... 1/8 of the recipe (about 2 slices of a loaf) contains 300 kcal, 12 g fat, 48 g carbs and 5 g protein. It certainly is no health food, but the good thing is it doesn't taste like health food either.
My craving for banana bread is most certainly satisfied. I've had way too many slices, and it was especially delish with a bit of butter on top. It could also work rather well with lemon icing on top, although that might be a bit too sweet maybe. The flavours blend together wonderfully, and for some reason, although you can't taste the coffee really, it does bring out the chocolate flavour very nicely. However, note how I didn't downscale the amount of cocoa from the original recipe. And yes, I know baking is an exact science, and you should always scale all ingredients of a recipe. Otherwise you will change the ratios of ingredients, and the result might not turn out as it should. Call me a rebel. I rescaled several things in the recipe. And it did turn out yummy nonetheless. The cake is incredibly soft and moist.
I especially love the flavour of the dark muscovado, that lovely rounded flavour of molasses. Next time I think I'll use only dark sugar. And another thing to try could be using a nut oil instead of rapeseed. Maybe macadamia oil. Or maye even throw in some chopped pecans or walnuts. And if you want to be really really bad, why not throw in some chocolate chips as well. Not that this cake (yes, there is no way of getting around it, it is a cake, not bread) isn't sweet enough as it is, there is quite a lot of sugar in it. For me, that is perfect. For someone with a somewhat more normal carbotolerance, it could border on the line of being too sweet.
One thing to notice is the baking time could have been a bit longer. This might be a result of rescaling some of the ingredients from the original recipe, but as I was making my way to the middle of the loaf (yes, I fully admit to now having eaten half a loaf of banana bread. I'm disgusting. But I did run 12 k this morning, so I kind of pre-burned off some of it) I realised it's a bit undercooked in the middle. Not that I minded, it's like mud pie but with banana. It's great! But you might want to cook your bread a tad longer than than the 40 minutes I did. Unless you enjoy chocolate-y goo. If you don't, what's wrong with you???