Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Banana Chocolate and Orange Loaf

I may have mentioned once or twice that I’m not great at cooking with my kids. This evening, after school, Blue went off on an impromptu play date which left Pink and I home alone. Pink wanted to make cupcakes. My aunt had given her a little set with some cupcake cases, some measuring spoons and a little recipe book. I took a deep breath.

 And what a surprisingly fun and enjoyable time we had together. We made very basic lemon butterfly cakes, and even the lack of caster sugar (we used soft light brown instead) or enough icing sugar for the butter cream failed to ruin it. I realised though that one of the reasons I find baking with the kids so hard – it’s all about who gets to lick the bowl. Still, I managed to get over the sharing issue, and all in all we were well pleased with our handiwork.

 We had one cake each, and she decided that we should save 4 to take with us camping at the weekend (we’re going with another family, she wants them for the kids’ pudding on Friday night). Then Blue came home from his playdate and the Husband rang. Next thing I know there is one cake left. “And THAT’S for Daddy” Pink directed. Shame – they were rather good.

Last night, however, the bowl was all mine.

 We were out of cake, which is always a bad place to be as far as I’m concerned. Faced with 2 mushy bananas, I perused some of my old favourites (well, mainly Nigella), realised I didn’t have quite enough of anything to follow one recipe and came up with Banana, Chocolate and Orange loaf. The smell while this was baking was delicious. I managed not to scoff it down straight away, but I snuck a small slice while I was making the packed lunches this morning – lovely with my cup of tea... I was witness to Blue’s appreciation first hand, too – he had a hospital appointment at lunchtime, so I picked him up and he ate his lunch while I drove. “Mummy this is FANTASTIC cake!” Praise indeed.

In case you wish to be the recipient of similar accolades, here is the recipe:

Banana, Chocolate and Orange Loaf

100g sultanas

75ml Cointreau

175g plain flour

2 tsp baking powder
 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp salt
Zest of one orange

125g melted butter
150g light soft brown sugar

2 large eggs
300g (weighted without skin) very ripe bananas (actually it’s OK if it’s mostly mushy and some not quite so mushy) mashed

100g dark chocolate chips, 1 tsp vanilla extract
Pre-heat the oven to 1800 and line a loaf tin with greaseproof paper.

Bring the sultanas and cointreau to the boil in a small pan and then set the pan aside for an hour or so – drain if there is any liquid left in the pan (if you’re lucky .
Combine the flour, baking powder, bicarb, salt and orange zest in a bowl. Weigh the sugar into a large bowl, melt the butter then beat the butter and sugar together with a wooden spoon. Beat in the eggs one at a time then add the mashed bananas and beat again. Stir in the vanilla and the chocolate chips, then add the flour a spoonful at a time, stirring after each addition. Use a spatula to scrape the mixture into the lined loaf tin and bake for about an hour
At least there's plenty more in the tin...

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