Spelt banana bread with dates and nuts

This one bowl cake takes all of 10 minutes to prepare and leaves minimal washing up.

Don’t forget the key to a good banana bread is over ripe bananas, the spottier the better. I tried making this with bananas that weren’t ready and despite baking them first to blacken the skin, the finished loaf was stodgy and didn’t taste great.

I’ve tried this recipe with white spelt and with a white/ wholegrain spelt mixture. Both work nicely, though the flavour and texture becomes more rustic when adding wholegrain. You can experiment a bit with the ratio, perhaps start with 50/50, see how you like that and then adjust accordingly next time. Alternatively, using just white spelt will produce a lighter, softer, cakier loaf. See if you can see which is which in the photos…

Spelt banana bread with dates and nuts

SERVES

1 loaf (about 8 slices)

INGREDIENTS

4 very ripe bananas (3 for the batter, 1 for the topping)
3 eggs
40ml cold pressed rapeseed oil or olive oil
230g light spelt flour/ or a mix with wholegrain spelt (see note above)
60g coconut palm sugar
50g dates
50g nuts (pecans and walnuts work best)
2 tsp. vanilla essence
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. lemon juice or apple cider vinegar

METHOD

Pre-heat your oven to 170oC (fan oven)

Blend together 3 of the bananas with the eggs and the oil until smooth.

Add the flour and the sugar and blend again.

Pour the mixture into a mixing bowl.

Roughly chop the dates and nuts and add them to the mixture, then add the vanilla and salt, stirring with a wooden spoon to combine.

Add the baking powder and soda and then add the lemon juice and stir. You should hear a bit of a fizz from the reaction that will help the bread rise.

Pour the mixture into a lined loaf tin then lightly drop the tin onto a kitchen surface a couple of times to help any air bubbles be released.

Slice the remaining banana lengthways and place gently on top of the mixture in the tin.

Sprinkle with a bit more coconut sugar and put in the oven for 35-40 minutes until the top has gone golden and a cake tester comes out nearly clean. Bear in mind that the banana at the top will keep the top of the loaf very moist so the cake tester shouldn’t come out completely dry.

Store in an airtight container or in the fridge and eat within a few days.

Best eaten fresh from the oven. Nice warm with vanilla yoghurt or toasted and topped with nut butter and a drizzle of honey.

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