Recently I made Figgy Banana Bread from Jamie Oliver’s Everyday Super Food. I love it because it’s got nuts and seeds, and I’m mad on both. Plus the banana, figs and apple in the recipe give it a beautiful natural sweetness. It tastes great and feels healthy.
I decided to make banana bread using the principle of the Jamie recipe with a few changes. I changed the figs for dates for a start as I wanted the kind of caramel flavor that dates bring. And I made it as a cake, or rather 2 small cakes, one round, one square. I iced the little cakes with luscious salted caramel buttercream icing. The “healthy” benefits may have been put to one side, but hay, you don’t have to be good all the time!
So here is the recipe. The quantities make one one medium size cake or two small cakes. You could even make this cake in a loaf tin and forgo the icing and you will have nice banana and date bread…
170g pitted dates
75ml vegetable oil
125g natural yoghurt
1 tbs vanilla extract
4 ripe bananas
2 large free-range eggs
150g wholemeal self-raising flour
1 heaped tsp baking powder
100g ground almonds
1 tbs sesame seeds
1tsp ground ginger
100g softened butter
200g icing sugar
1 tbs salted caramel sauce (you can make your own – recipe below, or simply use dulce de leche or any caramel sauce with a little salt added)
Preheat the oven to 180 degrees C. Grease one round baking tin or two small tins or bake the mixture in a large loaf tin for the more conventional banana bread look.
Place the dates in a food processor and blitz till the dates are really finely chopped. The add the oil, yoghurt, vanilla extract, peeled and roughly chopped bananas and eggs, and blitz until smooth.
Add the flour, baking powder, ground almonds, sesame seeds and ground ginger and pulse until only just combined.
Spoon the mixture into the prepared tin(s) and spread out evenly. Bake for 35 to 40 minutes for the large cake or 25 t0 30 minutes for the small cakes or until until a skewer inserted into the cake(s) comes out clean. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.
When cool, remove from the tin(s) and ice generously with the salted caramel icing. I also drizzled the cakes with extra caramel sauce.
Cream the butter and sugar in an electric mixer or you can even use a food processor When light, fluffy and creamy stir in the salted caramel.
Salted Caramel Sauce
200g white sugar
90g salted butter, in small pieces
1 tsp salt
Heat the sugar in a heavy bottomed saucepan over medium heat, stirring constantly with a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, until the sugar turns into a tea coloured liquid as you continue to stir. At this stage the toffee/caramel flavour is achieved. If you take the liquid to a slightly darker brown colour, you will achieve that “burnt’ flavour – but beware it is really easy to actually burn the caramel!
Now add the butter very carefully – the caramel will bubble up. Stir the caramel until the butter is completely melted.
Pour in the cream while continuing to stir. The mixture will bubble when cream is added. Allow the mixture to boil for about a minute. Remove from the heat and stir in the salt.
Allow to cool before using. The caramel will thicken on cooling and thicken even more in the fridge. To ensure the caramel sauce is pour-able for the pavlovas, VERY carefully microwave to warm up on low heat. Or you could sit the container in a bowl of hot water to warm up.