Sticky Honey Nut Banana Loaf

You know those days when you want to eat delicious, indulgent food and find any excuse to convince yourself that it was a healthy, nutritious choice? If you're having one of those days, this recipe is for you.

It's cake, but it's made with wholesome, nutrient-rich ingredients aplenty: honey, bananas, oats, walnuts. You can't deny it - it's a more nutritious choice than a Newcastle Brown Ale Chocolate Fudge Cake.

It's a great excuse to use up any of those bananas that are becoming unacceptably brown, and the other ingredients can be easily salvaged around the house if you've ever made a cake once or twice before. You should really be able to make this without having to leave the house for ingredients - you can stay in your pyjamas actually.

Here is what you'll need to fish from your cupboards:

+ 2 very ripe bananas
+ 4 tablespoons of honey 
+ 1 cup/mug-full of walnuts
+ 4 tablespoons of rolled oats
+ 170g of plain flour
+ 120g softened butter
+ 120g of brown sugar
+ 2 eggs
+ 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
+ 1 level teaspoon of nutmeg
+ 1 teaspoon of baking powder
+ 1/4 teaspoon of sodium bicarbonate

Icing (optional):
+ 1 teaspoon of honey
+ 2 tablespoons icing sugar

Now here is how you put it together:

1) Preheat your oven to 180C/350F.

Grease a loaf tin with some oil. Cut a small rectangle of greaseproof paper to rest at the base of the tin, and then grease over that. It'll make life easier for you down the line!

2) Peel your bananas.

 Make sure they're starting to brown, at least! If they still have skin as clear as an Elle cover model, then they won't have developed their flavour and they won't add much depth or aroma to the cake. If they're incredibly ripe like mine, the smell will be very strong and banana-ry!

 I love the smell of bananas at this stage!

Once peeled, tear your bananas into chunks and add them to a deep mixing bowl.

Mash with a fork until you have a sticky gloop. Don't worry if you still have lumps, it'll add a charming texture to your cake!

3) Add in the majority of the ingredients, starting with the butter...

Mix the butter in as best as you can. Don't worry if it seems like the butter isn't combining with the banana. It will remain grainy-looking until you add the flour later on.

Then add your honey...

...and add your eggs...

...your sugar and vanilla...

...your nutmeg...

...and finally the baking powder and sodium bicarbonate. Mix it all until it's combined into a thick, sticky liquid.

4) Sieve in your flour and fold it all gently into your goo until you make a smooth batter. Add your oats now too. You should notice the grainy flecks of butter begin to magically disappear!

Now tip your oats in and mix it all together into a lumpy batter.

5) You may have bought your walnuts already chopped - if so, well done! I was silly and bought walnut pieces, which were rather large. Incidentally, if your walnuts aren't already chopped, just crush them with the ball of your hand into a knobbly rubble.

Next, you want to heat up a dry pan to a medium-level heat.

Once hot, throw in your nuts and let them toast. Give the pan a jiggle every now and then. Make sure they don't burn.

Toasting your walnuts will awaken the flavour and give them a head-start as soon as they hit your cake batter!

Speaking of which, add your toasted walnuts into your cake batter and mix evenly throughout. Keep a few walnuts back for sprinkling later.

6) Once evenly mixed, add your cake batter to your loaf tin.

Once settled, top the cake batter with your kept-aside walnuts. They'll add a rustic, rocky lid to your loaf.

7) Pop your loaf in the oven for 40-50 minutes until it's springy and dry in the middle.

Impale it with a skewer or a knife. It should come back out clean and batter-free. If the signs are good, remove it from the oven and let it cool till it's warm.

The Honey Icing

This honey icing will perfectly complement the flowery sweetness of your cake. You will have that pleasant surprise of licking your lips afterwards and discovering some leftover sweetness to enjoy!

1) Add your icing sugar to a small bowl.

2) Drizzle a teaspoon of honey onto your snowy dune of icing sugar.

3) Add a teaspoon of water to your icing mixture. Mix until it is smooth. Add very small amounts of water until you have a runny icing that is the same consistency as pouring cream.

4) Pour this nectar-sweet frosting over your cake. Smear it evenly over your cake to make sure the whole thing is covered in a wet, sugary shimmer. Leave to dry.

5) Once your icing has dried into a sweet, icy slush, you may finally remove your loaf from the tin.

Cut into slices and serve it to people that you like. This cake is too sweet to share with haters!

*May I suggest you have it for breakfast with a smudge of peanut butter?*

I hope you enjoy this recipe! If you try it and like it, let me know how it turns out for you. I'd be interested to know any variations you would try with it!

Thanks for reading!

Anthony :)



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