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Wednesday, 3 March 2021

Over ripe Bananas

Normally I buy 5 bananas a week and my youngest eats one banana every day at break when at school. I know that it became a bit of a joke during Lockdown 1 that everyone was making sourdough and banana bread, but I just stopped buying bananas and we didn't have any over ripe bananas to worry about. However, in Lockdown 3, my daughter decided to make herself elaborate breakfasts of chopped fruit in natural yoghurt, flavoured with vanilla extract and maple syrup. As such, I bought different combinations of fruit each week, including blueberries, nectarines, grapes, melon and bananas.

My husband likes a banana too... occasionally. Mostly he doesn't eat bananas and then suddenly he will fancy one - particularly if the bananas in the fruit bowl are the perfect ripeness for his tastes. This, as you might imagine, is hard to cater for. When I only buy 5 bananas during school times, he knows that if he eats one our daughter will go without at break time. However, if I buy extra, especially for him, he may not fancy one at all during the time that they are in the fruit bowl.

One week recently, I bought five bananas and he decided he fancied eating bananas again, so that week we had eaten all the bananas before the end of the week. As such, the following week I decided to buy 10 bananas... but that week he didn't really fancy any and then they went overly brown and he definitely doesn't like an overripe banana - or banana bread for that matter.

As you can imagine, it has been very hard to buy the correct number of bananas during Lockdown 3 and as such I have had over ripe bananas to deal with on numerous occasions. Yeah, I have a banana bread recipe but I don't make that very often because I have other recipes I prefer - banana and fudge yoghurt cake, banana and carrot cake, banana and maple muffins, chocolate banana loaf cake, and so on. Usefully the muffins and the yoghurt cake freeze particularly well so I can make them before the bananas go completely to mush and freeze them for another day regardless of what we already have in the cake tin.

In fact, in the middle of last week, my daughter made a chocolate banana loaf cake using three over ripe bananas, leaving 2 in the fruit bowl, demanding attention. As we already had the chocolate cake to be eating, I figured I would make a banana and mincemeat loaf cake at the weekend and stick it in the freezer until the chocolate cake was finished. 

It seemed a particularly useful recipe because it would also get the half a jar of mincemeat off the work surface that had been knocking around since Christmas. So that's what I did, except I forgot to freeze it and two days later we had finished the chocolate cake anyway so we went straight on to eating the mincemeat one. Probably just as well, as I still have 24 muffins and a loaf cake in the freezer anyway!

Banana & Mincemeat Loaf Cake

150g unsalted butter, softened
90g caster sugar
2 eggs, beaten
150g self-raising flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp mixed spice
Pinch of salt
2 over ripe bananas, mashed
150g mincemeat

Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 2lb loaf tin. Cream together the butter and sugar then add the eggs, one at a time. Put in the dry ingredients, then the bananas and the mincemeat then give it a thorough stir until well combined. Spoon into the tin and bake for 1 hour. Test with a skewer and leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Chocolate Banana Loaf Cake

3 over ripe bananas
3 eggs
100ml sunflower oil
175g caster sugar
175g self-raising flour
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
Pinch of salt
4 tbsp cocoa powder
100g dark chocolate chips

40g softened butter
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 160°C and line a 2lb loaf tin. Put the mashed bananas, eggs and oil into a large bowl. Add 1 whole egg and 2 egg yolks to the mixture in the bowl. In a small bowl, whisk the two egg whites until stiff. Add the dry ingredients to the mixture in the large bowl and combine until just mixed. Fold in the egg whites. Spoon into the loaf tin and backe for 1 hour 10 minutes. Cool in the tin for a few minutes then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. In the meantime, make the butter icing with the butter, remaining cocoa powder and vanilla extract. Once the cake is cool, thinly ice the top of the cake with the butter icing. 

Carrot & Banana Cake

150g sunflower oil
150g light muscovado sugar
2 eggs
225g self-raising flour
2 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt
50g sultanas
2 over ripe bananas, mashed
100g carrots, grated

Preheat the oven to 180°C and lightly grease and line the bottom of a 20cm square tin. Add all the ingredients in the order listed, stirring where appropriate. Once completely combined, spoon the batter into the tin and bake for 50-60 minutes.

Banana & Fudge Yoghurt Cake

2 pots of self-raising flour
1/2 pot of light muscovado sugar
1/2 pot of sunflower oil
1 pot of natural yoghurt
2 eggs
4 tsp maple syrup
1 over ripe banana
50g vanilla fudge, cut into small pieces

For this recipe you will need a 120g pot of natural yoghurt and then you will need to use the yoghurt pot as the measure. Preheat the oven to 180°C and line a 2lb loaf tin. Put all the ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined. Spoon the batter into a loaf tin and bake for 45 to 60 minutes.

Banana & Maple Muffins (makes 12)

115g softened butter
115g caster sugar
2 eggs
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 over ripe bananas, mashed
225g plain flour
3 tsp baking powder
Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 190°C and put paper cases into a muffin tin. Cream together the butter and sugar then add the eggs, one at a time, followed by the syrup. Stir in the bananas. Add the dry ingredients and stir until just combined. Spoon into paper muffin cases and bake for 15 minutes. Cool on a wire rack.

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