Banana Bread

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This is the easiest, most reliable banana bread recipe you will ever come across. I can’t remember how many times I’ve made it but I know it is always received well. For this cake, I greedily eye off the bananas in our fruit bowl, willing them to blacken, it’s that good. I prefer to make it without walnuts, but those who enjoy them tell me it is a lovely addition. This is Nigella Lawson’s Domestic Goddess recipe but I always add cinnamon and nutmeg to it so that they’ve become part of my regular recipe; it’s never the same without it.

Ingredients:

  • 100g sultanas
  • 75ml bourbon/dark rum/port
  • 175g plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 125g unsalted butter, melted
  • 150g sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300g weighed without skin), mashed
  • 60g chopped walnuts
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 170° and line a 23 x 13 x 7cm loaf tin.
Usually, I would put the sultanas and alcohol in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil to start with. On this occasion, I didn’t have any in the pantry (unusual for me) but I went ahead and made it anyway. Anyway, if you do use sultanas, remove from the heat once they come to the boil, cover and leave while you put the batter together.

Next, put the flour, baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt in a medium-sized bowl and combine well. Mash the bananas in a separate bowl.

In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas.

Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the walnuts, drained sultanas and vanilla extract.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit.

Scrape into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 to 1&1/4 hours. When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish. Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, serve warm or cold, un-iced. Perfect to take to afternoon tea with friends or to a cake stall, to be snapped up hungrily in either situation.

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