Banana loaf (with orange and lemon!)

In my house, only my dad and I like banana loaf, so I had never made it before. But we had two brown-looking bananas and I’d wanted to make it ever since I tasted my friend’s amazing version at uni, so I dug out the trusty Delia’s ‘Complete Cookery Course’ and got to work! Although the original recipe called for four bananas, it worked OK with two, and her addition of citrus zest was a nice touch, and made it different to any I’ve had before. It was a really easy recipe, too – practically an all-in-one! Because this is a fairly old recipe, the weights are in ounces first, with grams after, so I used the imperial weights but I’ve given both below.

Ingredients

3 oz (75g) butter or margarine

4 oz (110g) caster sugar

1 egg, beaten

8 oz (225g) plain flour

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 ripe bananas (but I only used 2 and it was fine)

Zest of 1 orange and 1 lemon

Optionally, 2 oz (50g) walnuts (but I left these out)

– Preheat the oven to 180c; grease a 1lb loaf tin (3.5 x 7.5 inch base / 9 x 19 cm) and line the base.

– Place the margarine, sugar and eggs in a mixing bowl, then sift over the flour and baking powder. Mix with an electric whisk until well-combined – the mixture was quite dry but it didn’t matter.

– In a separate bowl, mash the bananas with a fork.

– Add the mashed banana, orange and lemon zest and walnuts (if using) to the mixing bowl and whisk again thoroughly.

– Transfer the mixture to the loaf tin and bake for 50-55 minutes until it is golden and well risen.

– Slice and eat. My dad has it with butter but I just eat it plain!

Chocolate orange loaf cake!

I came across this in Nigella Lawson’s ‘Kitchen’ a week or so ago and I knew it had to be made as chocolate and orange is one of my favourite combinations. I don’t exactly have the best track record with loaf cakes, though: I have tried, twice, to bake a chocolate loaf cake, and never managed to persuade it to cook through – the first time was a major disaster, partly because the tin was too small (oops!) and we ended up eating it as chocolate pudding instead! The second time was a lot better but still more than a little gooey inside. It was third time lucky though, as this one came out well, with just enough gooey-ness to be nice. It’s not quite as rich as most of Nigella’s recipes tend to be, probably because it uses cocoa rather than actual chocolate, and the sweet toffee-ness of the muscovado sugar and the syrup really comes through – if I make it again I might experiment with using some real chocolate (and maybe replacing some of the muscovado sugar with something a little lighter), but this was yummy nonetheless, and also kept really well.

Ingredients:

150g soft butter or margarine

2 tablespoons golden syrup

175g dark muscovado sugar

150g plain flour

Half a teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

25g cocoa powder

2 eggs

Zest of 2 oranges and juice of one

– Preheat the oven to 170c and line and grease a 2 lb loaf tin (this is 18.5 x 11.5 x 9 cms).

– Cream the butter, sugar and syrup. This takes a while as the muscovado sugar tends to be lumpy, and even when I was done there were still a few small lumps.

– Mix the flour, bicarb and cocoa together, and sift them (or sift them as you add them). Add a tablespoon of the flour mix to the creamed mix and beat in.

– Add one egg, then a couple more spoonfuls of the flour, then the other egg, beating after each. Gradually beat in the rest of the flour.

– Finally, beat in the orange zest and then gradually add the juice.

– Pour into the tin and bake for around 45 minutes, until it is just coming away from the edges of the tin but still a little gooey inside.