Banana and Walnut Bread

Banana Bread2

I feel like banana bread is half the reasons bananas exist. It makes you feel like it’s healthy enough to eat for breakfast because of all that fruit, when we all know deep down it’s more of a dessert but hey, points for trying right? It gives you the perfect reason to use those sad, possibly overripe bananas and turn them into a moist, delicious loaf (made even more delicious when slathered with lashings of butter). Plus, it’s so easy to make that you can get it all together and in the oven within 15 minutes and just sit back and relax while the beautiful banana aromas waft through the house.

This recipe isn’t overly sweet – so if you want to add another ½ cup of sugar be my guest. Also, the addition of walnuts isn’t obligatory, I just added them because I like the texture and crunch it gives the bread but you can replace them with chocolate chips or just omit them entirely. Enjoy 🙂

Banana Bread3

Banana Bread

Makes 8 to 10 slices

Ingredients:

  • 250g (2 cups) plain flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 125g unsalted butter, softened
  • 250g (1 cup) caster sugar
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • ½ teaspoon allspice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
  • 2 eggs
  • Seeds from ½ vanilla pod
  • 1 cup walnuts, chopped

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F/Gas 4).
  2. Cream the butter and sugar until pale and fluffy. Beat in eggs, banana, spices and vanilla.
  3. Sift dry ingredients and add to wet mixture along with walnuts, being careful not to over mix (over mixing results in a tough cake).
  4. Pour the batter into a non-stick, or lightly greased and floured, 19 x 11cm loaf tin and bake for 1 hour 15 minutes, or until the bread is cooked when tested with a skewer.
  5. Leave to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool. Serve in thick slices with butter.

Simple Carrot Cake

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Carrot cake is a perennial favourite. It’s super moist, full of nutty goodness and topped with cream cheese icing…the world’s best type of icing! And the fact that it’s full of carrots makes you feel like you’re being vaguely healthy, right? My grandma used to make this when we my sister and I were little, and although her baking repertoire was not broad (she only really ever baked me this and banana cake) her carrot cake was always a winner. I think this is one of those desserts where everyone has their own recipe that’s been passed down. I remember a while back, a male widower wrote into a newspaper asking if anyone had a good recipe for a carrot cake as his late wife would bake him one as long as he grated the carrots. The response to the article was so overwhelming that the paper decided to have a bake-off to select the best recipe. I remember thinking that it was a such a sweet idea, but it also made me realise that EVERYONE has their own carrot cake variation, so hopefully you will enjoy my version of this classic which does not include sultanas, for those who (like me) can’t stand them 🙂 Izzy

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Simple Carrot Cake

Serves 8

Ingredients:

Cake:

  • 2 cups finely grated carrot
  • ½ cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 ¾ cups self raising flour
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 heaped tsp ground cinnamon
  • Finely grated zest of 1 orange
  • 1 ½ tbs walnut oil
  • 6 tbs vegetable oil
  • 6 tbs sunflower oil
  • 3 eggs, lightly beaten

Icing:

  • ½ cup icing sugar
  • 250g cream cheese
  • 125g mascarpone
  • 60g softened unsalted butter
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Method: Preheat oven to 180C. Mix together flour, sugar and spices. Make a well in the centre and pour in the eggs and oils. Stir together until just combined and then add in the carrots and walnuts, stirring again until just combined. Pour the batter into a greased 18cm spring form tin and bake for about an hour. It might take a little less or a little more, so be sure to check it using a skewer to see if it comes out clean.

For the icing: beat all the ingredients in a food processor until combined. Ice cake with icing once cake is fully cooled.