As already mentioned in our article about Rarotonga, the main island of the Cook Islands, we spent the last few days of our honeymoon there. Unlike Alex, I’m not a fan of seafood (in case you saw the first seasons of Death in Paradise, you know what I am talking about: it has eyes…), so I had problems finding something to eat at the Cook Islands. My solution was to have a lot of banana bread for breakfast!
Back home, we tried to bake banana bread on our own, so that I could share it with my colleagues at work, as we often do there. Since we had decided this rather last minute, we simply took the bananas we had bought the day before. The result was altogether tasty and the cake was nice and fluffy, but, unfortunately, the taste of banana did not come through.
So the basic rule for banana bread is really to use tasty and ripe bananas, otherwise you get a tasty cake but no real banana bread. The bananas do not necessarily have to be black yet, but they should already have brown spots and, most importantly, not be green anymore. While the taste of the bananas unfortunately depends on what you can buy at your local store, you can influence the degree of ripeness a little. We will explain how to do this in another article.
We also found the (German-language) blog post on schlaraffenwelt.de very helpful, which compares different variations with each other: brown sugar or white, butter or oil, which nuts to use, etc.
But now: Here comes the recipe!
Ingredients for a loaf of banana bread:
- flour: 280 g = 1 3/4 cup
- brown sugar: 170 g = 3/4 cup
- butter: 60 g = 1/4 cup
- water: 285 ml = 1/4 cup
- eggs: 2
- ripe bananas: 3
- baking powder: 1 tsp
- baking soda: 1/2 tsp
- salt: 1/2 tsp
- depending on your taste: nuts of your choice
- depending on your taste: chocolate icing or sugar icing (icing sugar mixed with lemon juice or orange juice)
As already mentioned, the bananas must be ripe, depending on preference they can also be overripe. The butter should be at room temperature, so remember to take it out of the fridge early enough.
As to the baking tin, best suited is a cake tin.
Preheat the oven to 175 °C = 340 °F.
First crush the bananas a little, otherwise it will be difficult to mix them with the other ingredients later. However, do not crush them entirely, but leave a few pieces intact, as they will make the cake even tastier when you eat it.
Mix sugar and butter in a larger bowl until it becomes a soft, creamy mixture, this can take a few minutes. Now add the eggs, water and crushed bananas bit by bit and keep on mixing until you get a uniform batter.
Take a separate bowl and sift flour into it. Mix this with the other dry ingredients, i.e. baking soda, baking powder, and salt.
Carefully add the mixture of the dry ingredients to the egg-cream-banana batter and mix it with the dough scraper. If you wish to use nuts as well, you can add them now.
Grease your baking tin with some oil or butter and fill the batter into the tin. Bake this for about 50 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven on the middle shelf. You can tell that the banana bread is ready by the fact that it is golden brown and baked firm. However, it must not be too crispy at the top, otherwise it will also be too hard on the inside. You can then let it cool down a bit still in the tin for another quarter of an hour before you take it out of the tin and place it on a rack to cool down completely.
Once the banana bread is cold, you can cover it with icing or chocolate, depending on your taste.
Does the banana taste okay? Did you leave the banana bread undiluted or covered with icing or something?