Sometimes I just need cake. Nothing fancy made with exotic or expensive ingredients (there’s a time and a place for that kind of cake and well, this is not that time). I like my cake buttery, studded with fruit and containing a decent amount of nuts. A cup of strong tea on the side is always welcome and icing isn’t mandatory but BOY can it be good.
I remember as a kid I’d devour Green’s cinnamon tea cake for afternoon tea and have a permanent coating of cinnamon sugar on my school homework. A chocolate pudding phase followed (self-saucing thank you) and soon after, lemon pudding became the star. Plain old fashioned vanilla butter cake made an appearance, and then I discovered carrot cake with cream cheese icing. After a brief flirtation with orange and almond cake, banana bread became a quick favourite. As I grew more confident as a teenager I let loose in the kitchen. I began to experiment with different flours, ingredient combinations and how many times I could put apple into a cake (46,543 times in case you’re wondering – turns out that 6 month old jar of apple purée was good for something other than Christmas lunch). Recently I enjoyed using up a bumper crop of zucchini to make a cake with walnuts, mixed spice and zesty lemon icing. My friendly neighbour liked it so much that his “extra” zucchini’s now become mine in a rather obvious attempt to bake him cake.
This is one of my favourite recipes and it makes a hearty loaf of banana cake, thick with dates, pecans and the feeling of soaking into a hot bath. It’s simple, keeps well and often tastes better as the days pass. It also makes for a tasty dinner option if you’re sick of being an adult who has to cook proper meals all the time (what?).
This recipe is adapted from Sarah and Romy’s banana bread recipe on Melbourne-based food blog trotski-ash.com .
Banana, date and yoghurt bread with maple syrup glaze
1 1/3 cups of self-raising flour
1/2 teaspoon of bicarbonate soda
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2/3 cup of dark brown sugar
1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
1 cup of very ripe banana, mashed (two very large bananas or three regular sized)
2 free-range eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup of plain Greek yoghurt
2/3 cup of dates, chopped
1/2 cup of pecans, chopped
Maple syrup glaze
2 1/2 tablespoons of pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon of hot water
1. Pre-heat oven to 180 degrees C.
2. Sift dry ingredients.
3. In a separate bowl cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
4. Add mashed banana and vanilla extract, stirring well. Then add eggs and Greek yoghurt.
5. Gently fold in dry ingredients, and stir through dates and pecans.
6. Pour into a greased loaf tin lined with baking paper and bake for one hour. Once a skewer comes out of the middle clean, rest in the tin for 10 minutes before letting cool on a wire rack. Once cool, whisk maple syrup and hot water together and brush over the top of your cake.