One of my favourite cakes growing up was banana cake. My mum’s banana cake, to be precise.
It seemed to hold magical powers to soothe stresses, and was always the request of friends after a tough day at nursery aged 4, to those teenage years when life was just “so unfair”. It worked, and the smell of it cooking kept us on tenterhooks with mouth-watering anticipation as to when it would be cool enough to slice into.
I can’t make a banana cake now without these nostalgic memories… nor can l stop after one slice.
A friend recently asked for some recipe recommendations on a banana based vegan treat. My mum’s banana cake was all I could think of, but with butter and eggs, this wasn’t going to tick the vegan box, so I set about researching into alternative recipes. Flicking through Anna Jones A Modern Way to Cook, the title ‘Banana and Pecan Breakfast Loaf’ stood out. Free from dairy, refined sugar and gluten-free, this was perfect.
Bananas make an excellent substitute for eggs in baking, so the four used in this recipe, when combined with baking powder provide a slight rise and an incredibly moist loaf at the end.
Anna’s recipe calls for some ingredients I’m not a huge fan of, including Caraway seeds, so I exclude those along with the dark chocolate, which I don’t think is necessary anyway.
The beauty of this loaf is that is full of protein-filling goodness, light and nutty, sweet enough to taste naughty, but not overly sweet for an alternative breakfast option. I tend to pack myself a slice for a post workout boost now, and knowing it’s to follow a gruelling HIIT session, makes me push myself just that bit harder.
My mum’s banana cake will always be my favourite, but this recipe comes a very close second, and if Anna says I can have it for breakfast, then why not?
Makes 1 900g loaf
75ml coconut oil – melted
200g pecans or walnuts
200g gluten-free rolled oats
4 large ripe bananas
100g coconut sugar
100ml maple syrup
100ml unsweetened almond milk
2 tsps baking powder
Optional – however I don’t think these are necessary
a pinch of caraway seeds
75g dark chocolate
Preheat the oven to 170°C/150°C fan. Grease a 900g loaf tin with coconut oil.
While the oven comes up to temperature, roast the pecans (or walnuts) for 10 minutes, then roughly chop and set aside. Meanwhile blitz the oats in a food processor to a flour consistency, then set aside.
Blitz the coconut oil, bananas, coconut sugar, maple syrup and almond milk together in a food processor. Add the oat flour along with the baking powder, then stir in the chopped nuts.
Pour the batter into the loaf tin and bake for 1 hour 10 minutes, or until a skewer comes out clean.
Leave to cool on a wire rack, before slicing.