I love a sponge cake.
I love them crammed full with creamy buttery goodness, the outside slapped with a tonne of nausea inducing, sweet, thick icing. BUT, what tastes delicious isn't always good for us... Damn it!
Since beefing up my knowledge on how to obtain a better performing digestive system, I've spent hundreds of hours searching through Pinterest boards and food blogger sites to find unconventional baking recipes which contain natural, raw, unmodified ingredients. The recipes labelled for vegans, processed sugar avoiders and the food intolerant/allergic. You know... the ones that are simple to follow, have been thoroughly road tested and should therefore be pretty much guaranteed to come out looking good and tasting decent.
Baking and me don't really mix, I've had so many major culinary disasters over the years. Oh, the frustration of following a recipe to the letter, only for it to finish up looking like something the dog sicked up. Baking seems to be all about experimentation and failure is just an opportunity to make it better next time - apparently!
I've taken some elements from researched recipes and adapted the ingredients to suit my own taste, although some of what I've learned really works and so I've kept them in this Banana Bread recipe. After making my own, I think actually it's a cross between a bread and a cake and has almost a bread pudding consistency in its density about it.
I will say that this recipe was an experiment which I'm fairly happy with, but it is by no means perfect and I'll be making further adaptations to ingredients and measures in the future, no doubt. However, it is edible!
Ingredients (healthier alternatives in brackets):
4 ripe bananas
1 egg, beaten (you can omit this if you wish as banana is a great egg substitute)
75g of butter (or vegetable/seed fat such as this one)
100g soft brown unrefined sugar
100g coconut nectar (like this one)
170g of flour (Gluten free or Fork & Beans' combination of flours, which I used)
1 tbsp vanilla extract
1 tsp baking soda
1 pinch of sea salt
Preheat oven to 180 degrees C.
Mash up the bananas in a large bowl. Add and mix in the sugar, butter, egg and vanilla extract. Add the dry ingredients - baking soda, salt and flour and mix thoroughly.
Pour into a greased loaf tin (I used a round cake tin)
Bake in the oven for 1 hour.
Remove and leave to cool down, and eat while it's just warm.
I have an industrial oven so I took mine out of the oven after 50 minutes. I just about avoided the burn. I used coconut nectar as a great natural sugar alternative as I've been using this in smoothies and shakes and have really got a taste for it, although you could use a total of 200g of your normal sugar.
I'm really pleased with the end result although next time I might give the mixture a little whisk as I reckon it could have done with being a bit lighter and spongier when cooked.
If you decide to give the recipe a go, do let me know how you get on.
P.S. Fork & Beans is a brilliant website for anyone wanting to cook gluten and dairy free meals. Cara's site has plenty of recipes, which I haven't actually tried as yet but it's definitely worth reviewing and bookmarking as it's clear she has spent a lot of time experimenting with ingredients and she seems to know what she's talking about.