Jamaican Spiced Banana Bread

This time of  year is perfect for a culinary road trip, a way to pretend you’re in sunnier climes that the cold grey of February. Although to be fair it’s been pretty sunny this week, but not as sunny as the Caribbean where I’m taking you today (without leaving home).

We used to visit a small local farmers’ market when we lived in South London at which there was a family-run stall selling only home-made Jamaican loaves and breads. They were fabulous. I seem to remember one banana loaf being the perfect food after giving birth to my eldest. And they were vegan too – it was my first introduction to vegan cakes and how wonderful they can be. I’ve since searched and searched for a suitable recipe but not found one. The family in question stopped selling at this market, and we moved away from the area anyway. So here’s my take on a spiced banana bread… It’s really wholesome and tasty, with warm spices and tons of banana flavour, but still not quite like the one I remember. If you were that family who sold those spiced loaves at Abbeville Road farmer’ market, Clapham or know who they are, do get in touch. I’d happily travel to get hold of more!

The spicing in this recipe is quite mild so if you’re a spice fan I’d recommend doubling the spices for extra oomph! I particularly like the half banana on the top of the loaf, it certainly says what is in the tin, and a little crunchy sugar gives a nice contrast in texture, but both are totally optional and won’t alter the inherent spiced banana nature of the loaf.

Jamaican Spiced Banana Bread

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

 

makes 1 loaf

225g plain flour

2 heaped tsps baking powder

1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

100g muscovado sugar

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

1/3 cup sunflower oil

1 tsp vanilla

1/4 tsp allspice

1/2 tsp cinnamon

1/2 tsp ginger

pinch of salt

1 tbsp rum or oat milk

1 tbsp Demerara sugar

A banana sliced lengthwise for decoration (optional)

Pearl or Demerara sugar for extra crunch

  1. Preheat the oven to 200 degrees Centigrade/Gas mark 5. Line a loaf tin and set aside.
  2. Whisk together the mashed banana, sugar, oil and vanilla.
  3. Sieve in the flour, baking powder, bicarb, spices and salt.
  4. Mix to a dough, adding the rum/oat milk if it looks a bit dry.
  5. Pour into the loaf tin and sprinkle the top with the halved banana and some Demerara or pearl sugar
  6. Bake for 40-50 minutes until golden on top and a knife comes out clean.
  7. Cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack.
  8. To freeze, wrap well and freeze whole. Defrost at room temperature before unwrapping.

 

Blackberry and Banana Loaf Cake

dairy-free, egg-free banana and blackberry loaf

I think it’s going to be a bumper blackberry year – the bushes are already bowing down with the little back gems. I managed a fine harvest from just over the garden wall – goodness knows how many I could have got if I’d gone further afield! So you should be warned – blackberry recipes are a coming!

This is maybe an unusual combination, you would normally expect apple with blackberry, rather than banana, but it works really well. The blackberries add a delicate blackberry fragrance along with their pretty jewel pops of colour and the mellow sweetness of banana combines to form a winning combination. This loaf cake is the perfect start to autumn, a nod of the produce to come, whilst still being sunny and summery with its banana flavours.

Blackberry and Banana Loaf Cake

dairy-free blackberry cake

(dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

1 cup self-raising flour

1/2 cup caster sugar

Pinch of salt

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp vanilla

1 large banana, mashed or processed to a purée

2 large handfuls of blackberries

1/4 cup sunflower oil

1/2 cup water

1/2 tsp lemon juice

1/4 tsp cinnamon

2 tbsp sugar, for sprinkling on top

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees/Gas mark 4. Line a loaf tin.
  2. Mix together the mashed or puréed banana, oil, water, vanilla and lemon and set aside
  3. Combine the flour, salt, baking powder, cinnamon and sugar. Stir in the blackberries and make sure they are coated in the flour – this should prevent them from dropping to the bottom of the cake
  4. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and gently mix until well combined
  5. Pour into the lined loaf tin. Sprinkle with the remaining sugar and bake for 40-50 minutes until a knife comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack.

vegan blackberry and banana cake

Banana Flapjacks

IMG_7841

I haven’t made flapjacks for ages. But now we’re in our new house and I’m on a mission to fill the larder/freezer with healthy, tempting home cooked goodies, and flapjacks have to be one of the best bars to have hanging around for when an energy boost is needed in a hurry.

This flapjack variation packs a surprisingly ‘big’ banana flavour and the toffee-like brown sugar combines with it for a wonderful banoffee like finish. I had thought that by sneaking in one banana my girls wouldn’t notice, but the flavour shone through so much they immediately said ‘are they banana?’ No bad thing in my book!

Banana Flapjacks (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, maybe gluten-free [depending on oats used], vegetarian and vegan)

IMG_7840makes about 24

  • 200g dairy free spread
  • 200g soft brown sugar
  • 200g golden syrup
  • 400g oats
  • 1/2 tsp salt (preferably fleur de sel)
  • 1 banana, mashed

– Preheat oven to 180 degrees Centigrade

– Line a 30×20 cm (approx.) baking tray with foil

– Melt together the dairy free spread, sugar, syrup and salt

– When the sugar has dissolved mix into the oats and add the mashed banana

– Spread into the lined baking tray

– Bake for 15-20 mins until golden

– Cool well before cutting into bars/squares. Or freeze whole and cut when defrosted.

20140518-164307-60187310.jpg

 

Banana and Chocolate Cookies

I always try to make some homemade treat at the weekend so that the girls can have a tempting homemade goodie when they get home from school. Whilst they are incredibly lucky in being provided with fairly diverse safe lunch options at school – I know that they don’t eat much and are consequently starving on getting home!

Last week I bought a bumper bunch of bananas as they were reduced, so they had to feature, and what goes better with banana than chocolate? However, looking through cook books and online most banana cookies seem to be a variation on an oat cookie. Didn’t really fancy that, so here are my soft, slightly cakey banana and chocolate chip cookies.

Banana and Chocolate Chip Cookies (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, soya-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

IMG_4947

makes about 12

  • 1/3 cup dairy-free spread
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 cup mashed bananas (about 2)
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup plain flour
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1/4 cup dark chocolate, chopped

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 4

– Cream together the spread and sugar

– Stir in the vanilla and bananas

– Sift in the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt

– Bring together to a soft dough

– Stir in the chopped chocolate

– Drop tbsp amounts onto a lined cookie sheet, placing well apart

– Bake for 10 minutes until risen and turning golden

– Cool briefly on the cookie sheet before transferring to a wire rack

– These cookies do go soggy fast so eat ASAP!

IMG_4953

Choc Banana Cupcakes made with Passion

I know I said I wouldn’t make any cake for a while, but these cupcakes were made for D’s birthday. This idea came from having to use up some of the divine passionfruit cream from my passionfruit yoyos recipe. It’s a combination of chocolate chip and banana cupcakes with that delectable fruity cream on top, and it’s a total winner.

Banana and Chocolate Cupcakes (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 12 cupcakes

  • 2/3 cup pureed banana (about 2 small-medium bananas)
  • 11/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup oat milk (I used Oatly)
  • 2 tsps vanilla extract
  • 45g chopped dairy-free chocolate (optional)

– Preheat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade/Gas mark 4

– Line a muffin tray with cupcake cases.

– Sift together the flour, baking powder, bicarb and salt.

– In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, oat milk, pureed banana and vanilla.

– Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and fold gently.

– Sprinkle on the chopped chocolate (if using) and stir gently with the end of a spoon.

– 2/3 fill cupcake cases and bake for approx. 20 minutes until a knife comes out clean

– Transfer to a wire rack and cool.

Passionfruit Cream (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

  • 1/4 cup dairy-free spread
  • 1 tbsp vegetable fat
  • 2 1/2 cups icing sugar
  • 3 passionfruit, pulp sieved

– Whisk together the spread and vegetable fat until light and fluffy.

– Whisk in alternate amounts of icing sugar and passionfruit pulp until it is all incorporated.

Totally Tropical Cupcakes

The sun is shining (at last) and it seems like summer may be here, so what better cupcake to make for the last birthday party of the school year than one with a totally tropical vibe – banana and coconut sponge topped with either mango or lime icing.

The combination of banana and coconut transports you straight to Caribbean – a kind of tropical fruit punch in cake form! Chocolate icing would work well, but the addition of lime cordial/juice or mango juice to the icing sugar adds an extra little sunny kick. I think these might become our summer favourites!

Totally Tropical Cupcakes (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes 12

  • 2/3rds cup pureed/mashed banana
  • 1 1/4 cups plain flour
  • 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/3 cup sunflower oil
  • 1/2 cup oat milk
  • 3 tbsps desiccated coconut

– Preheat the oven to 180 Degrees Centigrade/Gas Mark 4

– Line a cupcake tray with pretty cases

– Sift together the flour, bicarb, baking powder and salt. Stir in the sugar and coconut.

– In a separate bowl, whisk together the banana puree, oil and oat milk.

– Whisk the wet ingredients into the dry, until well combined.

– 1/2 to 2/3rds fill the cupcake cases.

– Bake for 20 minutes, or until a knife comes out clean

– Cool on a wire rack.

Lime or Mango Icing (dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, sesame-free, soya-free, gluten-free, vegetarian and vegan)

makes enough to ice 6 of each fllavour

  • 8 tbsps icing sugar, sifted
  • lime cordial/juice
  • mango juice

– Put 4tbsps icing sugar in a small bowl, add a small amount of lime cordial/juice and stir until smooth and thick. If too thick, add more juice/cordial. If too thin, add more icing sugar.

– Repeat with the mango juice.

– Ice 6 cupcakes with each icing.

– Decorate as desired.