Chocolate, olive oil banana loaf.

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This recipe was originally written for Town & Country.

I always feel lucky when I find a bunch of forgotten bananas, spotty skinned and ripe and ready for banana bread. There are few smells as inviting as the smell of a banana loaf rising in the oven and as cakes go its certainly one of the more virtuous ones.

I like to keep mine on the wholesome side, adding no sugar and using a good quality dark chocolate 70% or higher. I like Guittard or Valrhona best. I use olive oil here over butter not so much as a ‘healthier option’ but rather because the combination of olive oil and chocolate is delicious! Go for a light olive oil (save your best cold pressed for dressings). You’re after a subtle flavour not a peppery one and more than anything the olive oil adds a wonderful moistness to the cake. In my books the best banana breads are slightly squidgy centred. This one certainly is.

Ingredients

  • 230g spelt flour (plain or gf work too)

  • 200g dark chocolate (70% min), roughly chopped

  • 1.5 tsp mixed spice or cinnamon

  • 1 tsp baking powder

  • 1/4 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda

  • pinch of salt

  • 5 ripe mashed ripe bananas

  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten

  • 110g light olive oil

  • 1 tsp organic vanilla extract

Method

  • Preheat your oven to 180C/Fan. Line a 2lb loaf pan with baking parchment. 

  • In a large mixing bowl whisk together your flour, chopped chocolate, mixed spice/cinnamon, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt.

  • In a separate mediums sized bowl combine your mashed bananas, eggs, olive oil and vanilla extract.

  • Pour wet ingredients into dry and fold just until combined. Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and bake for 70-85 minutes. If your cake begins to over brown just place a small piece of foil on the top to keep it from over browning.

  • To check when ready insert a toothpick. It should come out with just a few dry crumbs and some melted chocolate. (It can be tricky guessing whether you’ve hit chocolate or wet mix but good gauge is how the cake feels when you pierce it. If its spongey it’s ready. It it feels slow and sticky it needs a little longer.)

  • Allow the cake to cool until cool enough to handle then slice up and enjoy slightly warm or allow to cool completely.

Alexandra Dudley