As with most children, I was a fan of cake. All kinds of cake, except coffee cake. That, to me, was a filthy abomination. I mean WHY would anyone put coffee in a cake, especially for children? I couldn’t understand it. Cake was a place for jam, cream, ice cream, lemon curd, chocolate, lots of things, but definitely not for coffee. (I get it now before you try to persuade me I should try it :)
When I heard that we would be making banana bread in school, I thought that we were progressing down a similar path. We had cooked mackerel, and I was starting to become suspicious that perhaps Home Economics would not be fun after all. Despite growing up almost on the Atlantic shore, as a child I hated fish. Or, at least I thought I did. So, mackerel, then banana bread, I was losing faith.
What does banana bread even mean anyway? It isn’t really a bread, there is no yeast or rising process, but then there isn’t for soda bread either. It is made with baking powder, sugar, eggs, bananas, flour. Doesn’t that sound like a cake? But it really isn’t one is it? It can be light or heavy, depending on personal preference, but it is sweet and fruity. I was converted immediately. For me, banana bread is a delicious confusion, and I think I have improved it a step here with my twist.
Stepping back a little bit again – I should explain that I have been travelling for over 24 hours and am writing my mini banana bread missive from Kyoto so forgive me when I inevitably ramble, as I am – banana bread was brought back to the forefront of my consciousness when I visited Vancouver. It was everywhere, and in many variations. They love it.
Then more recently, in the Caribbean, I started thinking about the versatility of banana as an ingredient, and I have quite a few new recipes for you now that I developed last week, although I will spread them out over the next few months for I have no desire for this to become a banana blog, that would be a different thing altogether. I could call it bananas for bananas or something similar, but I won’t.
Back to my banana bread. I love coconut as an ingredient too. Occasionally fresh when I have the patience, and maybe a hammer, more often I use coconut milk or coconut cream, and occasionally dessicated coconut. Coconut oil is a great cooking oil which I use a lot too, and it is a decent substitute for butter in baking when you are cooking for somebody that can’t eat it. I have a curd recipe which includes it, I really must blog it here. Lime goes especially well with it, as does banana. It was a no brainer really.
I used a punchy little wrinkly lime from my local Indian shop. It had such sweet strong perfume, if you are in London, seek them out. If you can’t get them, don’t worry, a normal lime will do, just be sure to get a good one, as you don’t want waxed rind in your lovely bread. Dessicated coconut gives extra coconut flavour and texture and also lightens the crumb.
I hope you like it as much as I do. It is nice and light and zingy. Dairy free too!
Recipe: Banana, Coconut & Lime Bread
400g ripe bananas (over ripe work very well too)
juice and zest of 1 lime
160ml coconut cream (the small tins not the solid block, alternatively use the thickest part of a tin of coconut milk that has been allowed to separate by not agitating it)
100g dessicated coconut
3 tsp baking powder
175g light brown sugar
generous pinch of sea salt
3 large eggs
loaf tin or cake tin (I used an 8 inch sandwich tin), buttered (or oiled)
Preheat the oven to 170 deg C.
Whisk the eggs and sugar until they increase in volume and get a little creamier and thicker.
Sift the flour and baking powder. Mash the banana and mix with the flour, baking powder, and all remaining ingredients.
Pour into your prepared tin and bake until a skewer or knife comes out dry when pierced through. This will depend on whether you bake a shallow or deep cake but will take 55 – 60 minutes.