A few weeks back an interesting email dropped into my inbox asking me to create a festive banana recipe. Now I enjoy a good banana cake as much as the next person but never would I consider banana as a festive ingredient. I mentioned it to a few work colleagues and I was met with the same response “Banana? At Christmas?” I tend to associate Christmas baking with chocolate, spices, and most of all indulgence. When I make banana bread it’s usually frugal baking to use up the last bit of fruit in the bowl as I loathe wasting food.
I started thinking about what festive ingredients work well with banana and initially I didn’t want to use chocolate , I wanted something different but I soon realised – if it’s not broke why fix it? Banana and chocolate are a match made in heaven but for this to be a festive bake it needed to be a lot more indulgent and luxurious.
Pregnancy also has me constantly knackered at the moment (hello third trimester!) so I wanted to bake something that wouldn’t have me in the kitchen for hours. Also when it comes to Christmas you don’t want to be in the kitchen for hours either; you want to be curled up on the sofa with your loved ones with a glass of something in one hand and a slice of something indulgent in the other.
I had a look over this Mary Berry recipe that I had made before and knew instantly how I would glam it up without devoting too much time to the kitchen. I swapped the sugar for soft dark brown sugar which resulted in a rich and decadent sponge. Instead of an icing glaze chocolate ganache was the order of the day and for that extra bit of indulgence a few generous tablespoons of caramel where added on top. Sprinkled with a generous helping of chocolate chips, fudge pieces and gold sprinkles the humble banana cake was transformed to something wonderful that would not look out of place served as pudding on Christmas Day.
Festive Banana Loaf
150g dark chocolate
150ml double cream
2 ripe bananas
2 tbsp milk
150g plain flour
150g soft dark brown sugar
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
80g dark chocolate chips
- Preheat the oven 160C (fan).
- Grease and line a standard loaf tin
- Heat the cream until warm, stir in the chocolate until melted and leave aside to cool.
- Whisk all the ingredients together (except for the banana and chocolate chips) until smooth.
- In a separate bowl break the banana up with a fork.
- Gently fold the banana into the mixture.
- Stir in the chocolate chips and spoon the mixture into the prepared loaf tin.
- Bake for 45-50 minutes until a skewer inserted comes out clean.
- Leave in the tin for 10minutes then remove and place on a wire rack to cool.
A few tablespoon of caramel
Handful of chocolate chips, fudge pieces and gold sprinkes
- Spread a generous amount of chocolate ganache over the top of the cake setting aside a little to serve with the cake
- Spread the caramel on top
- Tumble over the chocolate chips, fudge pieces and gold sprinkles
*Post in collaboration with Banana Moon*