Monday, November 2, 2009

Black & White Banana Loaf

I've been thinking about how and why did I start this blog. For one, I've always loved baking, loved food, love making bentos. But lately, my love for the latter has dwindled. Not that it has disappeared, it hasn't. But it has somehow evolved in purpose. Bentos are great for sharing. I always thought it was lovely to make for someone else, cos of the effort that goes into it - the cooking, the layout, the decoration. It's always a joy to put in effort making something that others will enjoy. For months, I haven't made any bentos. Cos there seems to be no reason to make them anymore. My "bento mate", an ex-colleague, has left the company and someone dear to me ceased to be dear. Hence I'm now able to put my energy into this blog, which I've been preparing to start for some time. Now that I'm neglecting my bento interest, I can finally start this blog and spend my time on this hobby of mine :).

Been so busy the past week that I haven't had enough sleep. There seems to be so many things to do, so little time. But nevertheless, making my own breakfast is a must for me. Nothing beats homemade goodies to start off my day. Looking at the various bloggers that've made this loaf before, the batter does look a little tricky to manage - the most common grouse was that it's too runny. I've cut down on the amount of milk as recommended cos I like my bread soft, moist, yet not too oily. This turned out to be lovely combination of my two favourite flavours - banana and chocolate, with a slight whiff of citrusness...delicious...

This loaf bakes beautifully, though it does take a pretty long time - 1 hour and 15 minutes. And since this is my very first marbled loaf, it still left much to be desired...haha...I've gotta work on my marbling skills!

Black & White Banana Loaf
adapted from Baking from my home to yours by Dorie Greenspan

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 large bananas, mashed
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of ½ a lemon
3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 tablespoons (10 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature
2/3 cup light brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 cup whole milk

1. Preheat the oven to 160 degrees C. Butter an 8' by 4' loaf pan, dust the inside with flour. Place the pan on an insulated baking sheet or on two regular baking sheets stacked on top of the other.

2. Whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt.

3. In a small bowl, mixed the mashed banana with the lemon juice and zest.

4. Melt the chocolate and 2 tablespoons of the butter together in a microwave oven or in a heatproof bowl set over a saucepan of gently simmering water.

5. Working with a stand mixer, beat the remaining stick (8 tablespoons) of butter at medium speed until creamy, about 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for another 2 to 3 minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in the vanilla. The batter will look curdled, and it will continue to look curdled as you add ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk, and when it is blended, add the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed bananas. The batter will look even lumpier.

6. Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with the melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into the prepared pan, then, using a table knife, swirl the batters together, taking care not to overdo it.

7. Bake for 1 hour and 15 to 25 minutes, or until a skewer inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes and if the cake starts to brown too much, cover it loosely with a foil tent. Transfer the cake to a cooling rack and let it rest for about 15 minutes before unmolding, then cool the cake to room temperature right side up on the rack.

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