When I started writing this blog, I made it my intention to only post recipes that I truly loved, the keepers, the ones which are 100% worth making again. For those who read my blog regularly, you’ll know I’ve not been cooking or baking much lately, and the few things I have managed to squeeze in really haven’t been worth reporting back about. I could tell you about the cake I made today, though, which was so full of sugar all I wanted to do after my average-sized-slice-that-I-couldn’t-even-finish was lie down down in a dark room clenching my stomach and moaning and desperately wishing that sugar-rush induced dizziness would soon be over. Also, this cake is HUGE! I have absolutely no idea what I am going to do with the rest of this ginormous cake, which, to eat, almost verges on a mild form of self torture…it’s thoroughly depressing.
I’ve tried countless banana cakes, the last few of which have been nothing more than mediocre, causing me to forget how much I really do love banana cake.
But sampling my first slice of this cake was a full blown ‘yes’ moment, a full blown ‘yes, I just made a banana loaf and it’s absolutely fantastic’ moment. It made me happy. I treasure recipes that make me happy like that.
Now this banana loaf has a fair amount going on. I started with a Nigella recipe for a cherry and coconut banana loaf, yet instantly felt one ingredient was missing, one ingredient that I feel is the perfect partner for cherries, and coconut, and banana, and, well, cake…and that was chocolate…So in to the mix went one delicious (I know this because I ate a considerable amount in the process of chopping it) bar of dark chocolate.
It was a thoroughly well judged move. Chocolate is very much at home in this cake. I was less sure about the idea of dried cherries, but they work, swelling up in the cake to provide bursts of slightly sour squidgyness.
I found this loaf to be slightly better on the second day, once things had settled a little, allowing the flavour and texture of the coconut to shine through more. The cake did dry out a little faster than most banana loaves I’ve made, which I’m putting down to the desiccated coconut. But that’s just a good excuse to eat a second slice to make sure none goes to waste, right?
Chocolate, cherry and coconut banana loaf
(recipe adapted from Kitchen by Nigella Lawson)
- 125g unsalted butter, melted and cooled
- 4 medium bananas, peeled and mashed
- 150g caster sugar
- 2 eggs
- 175g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 100g dried cherries
- 100g desiccated coconut
- 100g dark chocolate, roughly chopped
- Preheat the oven to 170°C. Grease a 900g loaf tin and line the base with baking paper.
- In a large bowl, beat the sugar with the melted butter, then add the mashed bananas and eggs and beat together well.
- Sift over the flour, baking powder and bicarb and gently fold in using a large metal spoon until just incorporated.
- Add the cherries, coconut and chocolate and gently fold into the mix.
- Transfer the mix to the prepared loaf tin, smooth the top and bake in the oven for about 50 minutes until deeply golden, springy to the touch and a skewer, when inserted into the cake, comes out clean.
- Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool completely.