Banana and raspberry bread

Banana and raspberry loaf As much as I love trying out new recipes, there are always times when I prefer to bake some of my old favourites. Especially if I’ve offered to bring dessert or cakes/baked goods to an event or a friends house. I want to know that I am making something that works and tastes great. This has seen me revisit a lot of my old favourites over the past few weeks including my citrus coconut cupcakes, chocolate and raspberry fudge brownies and raspberry crumble slice, meaning I haven’t had much new to blog about.

However, my freezer was starting to fill up with overripe bananas again. Never throw out an overripe banana. Place them straight in the freezer and they will be ready to use later in baking. They go black on the outside when frozen but inside they are still great to use for baking once defrosted. That way you always have very ripe bananas, perfect for baking, ready whenever you want to use them.

With that in mind, I was browsing through some Coles magazines on my iPad and noticed this recipe for banana, raspberry and macadamia bread. I’m loving having most of my cooking magazines on my new iPad. Most of them let me bookmark favourites to try and some like the Coles one (which is also free) let me email them to friends etc. The subscriptions are a lot cheaper than the print version and they don’t take up any space at home. I still much prefer to have actual hard copy cookbooks rather than digital versions on an ebook or tablet, but find the tablet perfect for magazines.

I was sure I had macadamias at home; however once I started the mix I discovered I didn’t so I just left them out (this is why I usually measure everything out before I start cooking, so I don’t get halfway through and discover a missing ingredient!). The result was still great, although the macadamias would add more texture. This is a really easy recipe to make and the end result is wonderfully moist, lightly spiced cake. A great breakfast or tea time treat! Click here for the recipe

Hummingbird cakes with coconut crust

I am a fan of pineapple as an ingredient in both sweet and savoury dishes. I’m not ashamed to admit that my favourite pizza topping is simply ham, cheese and pineapple, and any sweet and sour dish has to have pineapple in it for me.

So when I saw this recipe, I instantly wanted to try it. Added to that, my freezer is starting to fill up again with overripe bananas, so it was a great way to use up a few of those. The recipe also uses oil instead of butter, which I prefer as I find cakes cooked with oil are always moist without any buttery aftertaste.

I liked the idea of the coconut crust on top. However, it made the cakes a bit too sweet for me. Next time I think I will put only a very small amount on top to retain the texture element, but reduce the sweetness.  Although on tasting these again the next day, they tasted less sweet so it may have just been because they were a bit warm, and I prefered these the day after cooking. This is a very moist cake, due to the bananas, pineapple and oil, with a caramel sweetness from the brown sugar both in the cupcakes as well as on top and a hint of spice from the ginger and cinnamon. There wasn’t quite enough pineapple evident in the final cake for me, so I may add some pineapple pieces next time rather than just crushed pineapple.

Hummingbird cake with coconut crust

Click here for the recipe

Guilt free banana bread

It’s weekend baking time again. When I started this blog a few weeks back, I wanted to try to bake something new each weekend, as well as trying at least one new savoury dish a week. And so far I’m on track. But after my mid-week decadent brownies, I thought I’d better try something a bit lighter this weekend. It’s all about moderation and balance right?

I often have an overripe banana or two leftover in my fruit bowl. And whenever I do, I pop them in the freezer. The skin goes quite black but the fruit inside is fine and is great for cooking.  This weekend I had a collection of about nine bananas built up in the freezer, so it was time to use some of them up and what better way to use them up than by making some banana bread?  I usually bake banana bread using Nigella’s recipe from her book How to be a Domestic Goddess. However, that recipe is definitely not guilt free. A few weeks back though, one of the food blogs I follow Not Quite Nigella posted a fat free banana bread recipe using apple sauce instead of butter or oil that I wanted to try.

So recipe chosen, it was time to cook. After a few setbacks (we had a short thunderstorm and the power was off for an hour or two), I finally got to baking. I made a few tweaks to the original recipe, such as adding some cinnamon and ginger (a half and quarter teaspoon of each – I think I might add a bit more next time). I might try it with brown sugar as well too next time. I couldn’t find any apple sauce at my local grocery store, so I used some tinned pie apples which I blended up. The smells that filled the house while it was cooking were wonderful and it was difficult to wait until it was finished to try it. The end result was a lovely moist and dense bread, but without feeling heavy, with a hint of spice. Definitely one I will be trying again.  I’m looking forward to having a slice for breakfast tomorrow.

click here for the recipe