I am fully stocked with flour again – a box containing five large bags of organic plain flour from the Cotswold Flour Mill arrived on my doorstep a few days ago. I am not intentionally stockpiling, but they are struggling with the sheer volume of orders, so are currently only delivering if you buy the entire box. Hopefully it will last me until the shops return to normal, whenever that will be.
Last week, with the black bananas that inevitably end up in the fruit bowl, I made ‘sink hole’ banana muffins – you could have driven a horse and trap into the hole in each muffin, and the generous slice of banana that should have adorned the top of each one ended up in a not particularly appetising soggy lump at the bottom. I also made some cornmeal bread with masa harina (which I had bought from Amazon in desperation when there was no other flour to be found). It was utterly revolting – Robin admitted that it did taste slightly ‘unusual’, and even the gang of seagulls that endlessly circles our house in the hope of goodies looked at it twice before carrying it off. Last week was not my finest baking hour, must have been dodgy biorhythms or something.
This week, the rather delicious sticky end for the black bananas was a vegan banana bread. I wasn’t expecting it to turn out quite so well on first attempt, hence I wasn’t really planning to post it on the blog, so didn’t photograph it as I went along. However, the method is so completely simple, photos are not required. It’s basically a ‘measure, mix, chuck in the tin’ job.
The banana bread is delicious on its own for an afternoon pick-me-up or would make a fine breakfast. It would definitely be delicious toasted, though the walnuts would probably fall off into the toaster and set the kitchen on fire (especially the way things were going for me in the kitchen departmant last week), so probably toasting under a grill would work better!
A few pointers:
- If you don’t have oats, you could replace them with wholemeal flour or even just use all white flour, though the texture would be different. If you are using all white flour, reduce the oat milk to 2 tablespoons.
- I used those super-cheap smashed up porridge oats (75p for a kilo in Tesco – perfect for porridge too if you are not snobby about the appearance). Presumably these are the bits and pieces left over from processing the posh jumbo variety. The smashed up ones work better for baking – or you could use oatmeal. If you only have jumbo rolled oats, smash them up in a processor or a blender for a few seconds, otherwise your mixture will be too wet and you will end up with a giant sink hole in the centre of your cake.
- I didn’t add any nuts or fruit to the cake mixture, but you can add whatever you like. The candied walnut topping does make this cake super-yummy, but if you don’t have walnuts, just sprinkle the top of the cake generously with brown sugar before baking.
- Because the recipe does not contain eggs, the cake is entirely reliant on the raising agents – ensure your oven is hot and your tin prepared before you introduce the liquid to the flour mixture, otherwise the baking soda will lose its oomph before it even gets to the oven.
Vegan oatmeal banana bread with candied walnut topping
3 – 4 very ripe (black is fine) bananas – mine weighed just under 300g in total (after skinning)
125g Demerara or other light brown sugar, plus a little extra for sprinkling
75ml sunflower oil
50ml oat milk (or other milk of your choice)
125g plain flour
125g smashed-up oats or coarse oatmeal (see note above)
2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
40g walnuts, coarsely chopped
You will need a 900g loaf tin (approx 25cm x 15cm), lined with a paper liner or well greased
Pre-heat the oven to 170ºC (fan).
Mash the bananas in a bowl with the sugar, then whisk in the oil and milk (or put the whole lot into a blender or mini processor if you have one).
Put the flour and oats into a mixing bowl and stir in the nutmeg, baking powder and bicarbonate of soda. Make sure everything is well combined.
Ensuring that your oven is hot and your tin is prepared, pour the wet ingredients into the flour mix. Mix briefly just until you are sure there are no lumps of dry flour/oats. If you are adding any dried fruit, nuts or seeds, stir them in now.
The texture should be like very thick porridge – not quite pourable.
Scrape the mixture into the prepared tin, smooth the top and scatter over the chopped walnuts. Sprinkle generously with the extra sugar (1 – 2 tablespoons) and bake for approximately one hour, or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
Cool in the tin for 20 minutes then remove the cake, in its paper wrapper, from the tin and cool on a wire rack. Allow to cool completely before slicing – if you try to slice it while it is still warm, it will fall to pieces (though of course you could argue that makes it even easier to scarf down and you can pretend you don’t know how many pieces you’ve had).