Banana Loaf with ChocolatePosted: May 7, 2012 Filed under: Budget, Cakes, Deja Food, Traditional 15 Comments
It’s a two-fer this week, with two versions of the same recipe that’s sure to be a hit whichever one you try.
Banana loaf is awesome, because the very best tasting versions actually depend on you being a little slack in the housekeeping department. Banana loaves made with firm, bright yellow bananas, whose stems crack as you bend them and whose skin comes away with the almost-crunch of pert freshness….. are a complete miss.
Blotched and blackening bananas whose stems actually fall off as you try to pick them up are absolute gold for making rich, moist, indulgent banana cake. Black gold, I call them – ignoring my husband’s look of horror at what appears to be the makings of a compost heap in the fruit bowl.
As the bananas ripen, their natural sugars develop and deepen, so the riper and darker a banana is, the softer and sweeter and more rounded the depth of flavour. Banana loaf made with ‘ripe’ bananas isn’t very banana-y, but made with bananas when the skin is virtually black, are rich in both flavour and taste and are incredibly moist.
I love this recipe in particular because it used a LOT of bananas, so the flavour and moistness is outstanding. Only got one over-ripe banana? Not to worry, throw it in the freezer – skin and all – until you’ve stock-piled enough for a batch of banana bread.
As if this recipe for banana loaf weren’t already amazing, just a slight tweak can tip it over into Awesomeness – make it a chocolate banana loaf. This gives me an opportunity to pass on a fast and dirty Baking Top Tip for turning something chocolate-y. Got a favourite cake mix, or crisp biscuit, or scone? Don’t waste time searching for a delicious chocolate equivalent, simply chocolatise (is that a word?) your tried and tested recipe and get stuck in!
Baking Top Tip: You can adapt a recipe into a chocolate version by simply replacing some of the flour content with an equal amount of cocoa powder.
For this recipe, I usually substitute 3-4 heaped tablespoons of flour with cocoa for an intense chocolatey-ness that stands up well to the banana. The density of the loaf, in combination with the richness of the banana makes this seem incredibly indulgent. The moisture from the bananas means that it can also be enjoyed much longer than a sponge cake – great for the week’s packed lunches. Unfortunately, it tastes so amazing, it’s rarely around long enough to demonstrate it’s excellent keeping qualities.
Using cocoa powder as opposed to chocolate or chocolate chips also means it’s lower in fat and by using blackened bananas, their incredible sweetness means less sugar is needed. Which all in all, makes it practically a health food in my book!
Enough blabber. On with the recipe!
300g plain flour – for chocolate version, take out 3-4 heaped tablespoons and replace with cocoa powder.
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
113g unsalted butter
150g dark muscovado sugar 
2 large eggs
4-5 mashed blackening/black bananas – about 500ml by volume
- Preheat oven to 175°C, 150°C Fan.
- Lightly grease and line a large loaf pan (24cm x 13cm) with parchment paper.
- Sift together flour, bicarbonate of soda and salt.
- In separate bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
- Add eggs one by one, mixing well in-between.
- Stir in mashed bananas.
- Fold in flour mixture until combined. Don’t over-mix.
- Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf pan and bake for between 50 minutes and 1 hour until the sides of the cake have visibly drawn away from the sides of the tin, and a toothpick/cake tester/skewer comes out clean of wet cake mix.
- Allow to cool in the tin for 10 minutes to firm up, then remove from the tin and cool on a wire rack.
- When cooled, wrap in parchment/foil to store.
UPDATE: You can bake this mixture in cupcake cases (NOT muffin cases) for Banana Buns and Chocolate Banana Buns. A full batch makes 24 buns. Bake for 15 minutes.
 I prefer dark muscovado for the softness in texture, which makes it easy to cream with the butter, and the caramel flavour, which really compliments the bananas. Don’t get obsessive about it though – any brown sugar will do, or even white. Go with what you like/have.
What a fab post Mary Anne. I love the idea of dark muscavado – I took Nigel Slater’s black banana recipe and added nutella to it, as well as the chunks of dark, oozing chocolate it also has. So it’s rather decadent! Love that you used much more banana too – might add in another ‘nana next time I bake 🙂
The chocolate version looks delicious, I think I have found a purpose for the bananas lurking in my freezer 🙂
Love banana bread – really must try this chocolate version.
113g of butter? That’s very precise! Sounds like a great recipe, i have a standby chocolate chip and banana loaf which always turns out well, but i always have to make a special trip to the shops for choc chips so next time i will make your version.
In ‘old’ weights and measures, its 4oz, but I made a conscious decision for the blog to be metric. Let me know what you think of the recipe when you try it! 😀
I love banana bread (loaf), I always keep choc chips on hand, and usually add chopped walnuts too. Agree with the ‘black gold’, frozen black gold barely even need mashing once defrosted. My recipe also adds 1/2 cup (sorry for US terms, I’ve lived here way too long to be able to convert back to UK) soured cream, which adds yet another layer of moist. Oh yum my poor waistline 🙂 Have to bake, have to bake…..
Oh and can’t wait to try your version Mary Ann… I have a freezer full of ‘nanas, so this weekend for sure.
Hi Mary Ann, I’ve spent the week telling my boys not to eat the bananas in order to make this (amid confused mutterings from them about how wrong it is of me to deprive them of fresh fruit !) Anyway, harmony has been restored when they saw this coming from the oven this afternoon – ’tis a thing of beauty! I made the chocolate version as despite making numerous banana loaves over the years I’ve never added cocoa, and having just tasted it, I may never make the plain version again. Utterly delicious with a perfect texture (sometimes they can be ‘bouncy’ if that makes sense) I gilded the lily somewhat and added 100g of plain chocolate chunks too, but what kind of life would it be without chocolate chunks?!!!! I’m off to Twitter now to follow you – apologies for not doing so sooner but I’m a newbie to the Twits…….
Wotchers Judi! So glad you liked the choccy version. I’ve known about the ‘chocolatising’ of recipes for years (for cakes and biscuits), but it only recently occurred to me to try it with banana bread. I’m delighted with the results also! 😀
My ultimate addition to banana bread is Reeses Peanut Butter Chips from t’internet. It adds that bit of salty peanutiness but isn’t too much!!!! Although occasionally I do shove a dirty great dollop of peanut butter icing on top.
A huge favorite in our house – I have made a chocolate version in individual loaf cake moulds for lunch boxes for as long as I can remember – it makes 8 “normal” sized loafs, or six “gannet” sized. They are so successful that one son manages to auction off half his cake to the highest bidder…..
Slices of this loaf were excellent bases for a layer of apple puree made with the first useable windfalls – the most tart apples of the season, a stiff puree with the consistency of jam. The combination was further improved by adding hot custard the second night. A sprinkling of demerara sugar before baking gave the top a nice crunch. By the time we had finished the apples, the rest of the loaf was begging for chopped walnuts – this may happen if I get the walnuts this year, but if the squirrels bag them again, the loaf will have to put up with chopped dried apricot.
Turns out that you can use banana loaf to use up your date surplus (if you are tempted by the fat, juicy dates in the shops for the end of Ramadan): keep the loaf in the fridge, butter a slice, cover with chopped dates. Perfect combination. PS: I got six walnuts.
I made the chocolate banana cake into cupcakes… And they are GORGEOUS. Very moist and just yum. I might add some dark choc chips to the mix next time to add extra choc oomph. But I’m keeping this recipe! Brilliant. Thank you!
Wotchers Katie! And Huzzah! for another success! M-A 😀