I’m a bit gob-smacked (and only ever so slightly miffed) to find that that cookery websites this week are awash with banana bread. It’s like we’re all tied into some hive mind. There is a good reason for this synchronised recipe writing though.
When everyone is busy cooking for Easter, a banana cake is easy to throw together and is generally well-liked by both adults and children. It’s as good for breakfast as it is with a cup of tea or coffee, and because it’s moist, it keeps well.
My version combines bananas and pecan nuts, which I prefer to the usual walnuts. The cake recipe is based on one from Jamie Oliver and the streusel topping on one from Deborah Madison.
You will need a 2lb loaf tin, either with a paper liner or greased, then base-lined with a piece of greaseproof paper (grease that too).
Banana and Pecan Loaf Cake
100g pecan nuts (plus more for the streusel, see below)
Approx 450g very ripe bananas, weight before peeling (4-5 fruits)
125g butter, room temperature
125g soft light brown sugar
2 large eggs
200g plain flour
2 level tsp baking powder
1 level tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 level tsp powdered cinnamon
Pinch of salt
For the streusel:
1 1/2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 1/2 tbsp marzipan, chopped
75g demerara sugar
Pre-heat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas Mark 3.
Make the streusel first: chop the nuts finely and work together with the remaining ingredients, with your fingers or in a food processor, to make a crumbly paste. Cover and set aside.
Chop the pecans until you have a mixture of small crumbs and some larger bits. Place in a bowl. Peel and mash the bananas.
Cream together the butter and sugar, either in a food processor or by hand, until pale and smooth. Break in the eggs one at a time, mixing between additions and scraping down the sides of the bowl so everything is incorporated.
Add the mashed bananas and nuts, then sieve in the flour, baking powder, bicarb, cinnamon and salt. Mix to a smooth batter.
Spoon into your prepared loaf tin, smooth the top and sprinkle with the streusel. Rap the tin on the worktop a couple of times to settle the mixture. Bake for one hour, or until a skewer poked into the centre comes out clean.
Once done, remove from the oven and cool in the tin for five minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.