Crater banana bread

crater banana bread

Domestic crises chez Nicky meant a hiatus for Taste & Create last month, and I’m pleased it’s back this month, thanks to Min, while Nicky takes a much-needed break.

My partner was a new one to me: Allison of Fridgg. First impression when I landed on her blog: “Wow, those photos are amazing!” Second impression: “Spam musubi?? Help! I don’t like spam and I don’t like sushi!” It’s all very well going out of your comfort zone, but this was a step too far 🙂

But undaunted, I continued searching, and my persistence was rewarded. Back in August, Allison had made a yummy-looking crater banana bread, and glancing at the fruit bowl I saw a ripe banana just waiting to be used. I’ve actually never made banana bread, so this was a first for me. I still felt at liberty to change it though. I’m not a fan of chocolate chips, in fact I don’t really go for chocolatey desserts unless they are made of large quantities of the best bitter chocolate. Or they are the milk chocolate soufflĂ© at LapĂ©rouse in Paris — I thought I’d died and gone to heaven when I ate that. Bananas say “rum” to me, so I substituted some rum-soaked jumbo sultanas for the chocolate chips.

It smelled fabulous while it was cooking, and I could barely wait for it to cool down before I tried some. I had wondered why it was called “crater” banana bread, but the crackled top did look like solidifying lava when I took it out of the oven. As for the end result, well, now I know what to do with over-ripe bananas. The inside was quite moist and the sultana layer had sunk to the bottom, making a gorgeously gooey, caramelised mess, but the edges and top were crunchy and caramelised, making a lovely contrast with the crumb. It’s so rich, more like cake than bread, that it’s probably most appropriate as a dessert, slightly warm, with ice cream or yoghurt. “I don’t like banana bread,” said Steve, and then had second helpings.

My metric version follows: this time I did stick to the quantity of sugar specified, even though it looked a lot, and double-checked all my conversions. Mine is also for a smaller cake than Allison’s.

As for the photos, well, it just wasn’t a good day, but don’t let them put you off!

150 g soft butter
300 g golden caster sugar
2 small eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 ripe bananas
220 g flour
1 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
150 ml yoghurt or sour cream
1 tsp cinnamon
120 g soft brown sugar
handful of sultanas
2 tbs rum or orange juice

Preheat the oven to 170C. Warm the sultanas and rum or orange juice in a small pan or the microwave and set aside while you prepare the batter.

Cream together butter and sugar, then gradually add the eggs, beating thoroughly. Mash the bananas (I whizzed them in the liquidiser) and add with the vanilla extract, mixing till smooth. Sift the flour, baking powder, and bicarb and beat in, alternating with the yoghurt and finishing with the dry ingredients. Mix together the brown sugar and cinnamon in a bowl.

Lightly grease a 20cm x 15cm baking tin. Pour in half the batter, then sprinkle over half the brown sugar and all the sultanas, adding any remaining soaking liquid. Top with the rest of the batter and sprinkle with the remaining brown sugar (Allison had chocolate chips on top too, but sultanas would burn if you put them on top, so I didn’t). Bake for 45-50 minutes, until springy to the touch.

banana bread

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