banana breadWhen there are overripe bananas left over in my house, I actually feel happy rather than sad because it means that I can bake banana bread.  Admittedly, I usually turn to Dorie Greenspan’s banana bundt cake recipe but recently, I decided to try Nigella Lawson’s recipe from her How to be a Domestic Goddess cookbook.  To make things even more sinful than Nigella’s recipes always are, I pulled out a Ziploc bag of salted butter caramel frosting from my freezer and spread a thick, rustic layer on top.  AMAZING.. I hereby vow to never make banana cake without salted butter caramel ever again.  It’s the perfect combination – and one I really should have identified earlier – because is there anything that salted butter caramel doesn’t go with?!!

INGREDIENTS
100 g sultanas
75 ml bourbon or dark rum
175 g plain flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp salt
125 g unsalted butter, melted
150 g sugar
2 large eggs
4 small, very ripe bananas (about 300 g weighed without skin), mashed
60 g chopped walnuts
1 tsp vanilla extract
(23 x 13 x 7 cm loaf tin, buttered and floured or with a paper insert)

DIRECTIONS
Put the sultanas and rum or bourbon in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil.sultanas and rumRemove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour if you can, or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid, then drain.drained

Preheat the oven to 170C / gas mark 3 and get started on the rest.  Put the flour, baking powder, bicarb & salt in a medium-sized bowl and, using your hands or a wooden spoon, combine well.flour mixture

In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended.sugar and butter

Beat in the eggs one at a time, then the mashed bananas.add eggs

add mashed banana

Then, with your wooden spoon, stir in the walnuts, drained sultanas and vanilla extract.walnuts sultanas vanilla extract

Add the flour mixture, a third at a time, stirring well after each bit.add flour mixture

mixture

Scrape well into the loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1-1.25 hours.  ready to bake

When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out cleanish.  Leave in the tin on a rack to cool, and eat thickly or thinly sliced as you prefer.out of the ovenMakes 8-10 slices.

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I don’t think I’m alone when I confess that I’m a tad obsessed with freshly baked banana bread.  First of all, the house always smells so warm and inviting when there’s a fresh loaf baking in the oven.  Secondly, the cake itself is always so golden and crispy on top due to the sugar content of the loaf and the need to bake it for an hour or more…  Thirdly, if cooked correctly, it’s exactly as this one was and gorgeously tender within.  And finally, it’s not just fantastic on the day, it’s also delectable for a few days afterwards (if your family & friends can restrain themselves from devouring it as soon as it is removed from the oven).out of the tin

Anyway, in order to make it even more special for my little nephew who was visiting with my mother, I frosted it with salted butter caramel frosting.salted butter caramel frosting

And I even sprinkled it with some icing sugar.dusted with icing sugar

It served as the perfect afternoon tea when our lovely guests arrived.banana bread

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