Banana bread with ricotta & honey

Banana Cake with Ricotta & Honey
Banana Cake with Ricotta & Honey
Banana Cake with Ricotta & Honey

Admittedly this is a bit of an odd post from someone who dislikes bananas but I don’t just dislike them, I f**king hate them. I’ve spent my whole life, trying to avoid bananas (which really wasn’t difficult) but they’ve managed to ruin almost every fruit salad I’ve ever eaten.
But when I look back and try to identify the root of my banana problem, it seems to stem from monkey’s. Staring down at the bottom of the monkey cage at Whipsnade Zoo was not a pretty sight. Half eaten bananas strewn all over the floor and rolled in a mixture of mud and monkey turds. Not very appetising. That being said, this didn’t seem to put me off eating oranges, a common accompaniment to the monkey breakfast. Oranges are just nicer though aren’t they? Let’s move on.
A banana is just a fruit though for god’s sake, I need to stop being such a wimp. Full of potassium and very portable, the banana is the perfect snack so what is my problem? It isn’t like I haven’t tried, every couple of years I attempt to eat a banana, and every couple of years I fail miserably. It always starts off well, ‘this aint so bad’ I think to myself as I unzip the yellow skin but then get a wiff of that unpleasant banana smell. Okay, so just breath through your mouth, no problem, easy. Right, now bite the top, don’t even think about it, just do it. Shit, where’s that brown bit gone? Did I eat it? Why are there always brown bits on bananas? Oh god, it’s now turned to mush in my mouth, I try to swallow it but I can’t, I just can’t, so instead I retch, quick abort, ABORT!
I like my mum’s banana bread though so that’s weird. Enjoy her recipe!

Banana bread with ricotta & honey
Makes 1 loaf / Hands on time 15 mins / Total time 1 hr 5 mins + cooling time /
V Vn*
You’ll need: 9 inch loaf tin
150g wholemeal flour + extra for dusting
75g plain flour
1 tsp bicarbonate soda
1 tsp ginger
½ tsp cinnamon
Pinch of salt
175g demerara sugar
100ml rapeseed oil + extra for greasing
100ml semi-skimmed milk or unsweetened soya milk
½ tsp vanilla extract
2 large or 3 small over-ripe bananas, peeled and mashed
2 handfuls walnuts, roughly chopped
Vegetarian ricotta and runny honey to serve (optional)

*Make it vegan: This is actually my mums vegan banana bread recipe, I only used semi-skimmed milk and butter because that’s what I had in the fridge at the time. If you’re vegan, forgo serving with honey and ricotta and serve simply toasted with lashings of vegan alternative butter – that’s how my mum likes it.

TIP: If you have any bananas in your fruit bowl that have gone a bit brown, wait until they go completely brown and freeze them in their skins in a plastic bag. We have a lot of brown bananas in my house, so I tend to just keep adding them to the plastic bag in my freezer. When I’m ready to make banana bread, I simply defrost the bananas, slip them out of their skins and straight into my cake mix.

1. Preheat an oven to 180°C/160°C fan/ 350°F/gas mark 4. Grease a loaf tin with rapeseed oil and line the bottom with baking paper. Add a tbs of wholemeal flour and shake around the tin until the sides are evenly coated – I do this over a bin as it can be a bit messy. Put to one side.
2. Mix together the flour, bicarbonate of soda, ginger, cinnamon and salt in a medium sized bowl and put to one side.
3. In a larger bowl, peel and mash the bananas before adding the sugar, oil, milk and vanilla. Give it a good stir.
4. Once combined, add half the dry mix to the wet mixture and fold in with a wooden spoon. Fold in the chopped walnuts and the rest of the dry mixture until combined.
5. Spoon the cake mixture into the loaf tin and bake in an oven, on the middle shelf for 50 minutes. Using your fingers, gently press down on the top of the cake to see if it feels firm and springy. If it still feels a little wet and wobbly, cover it in a layer of foil and continue to cook for 10-15 more minutes or until the cake is firm to the touch. Once cooked, insert a clean knife into the centre of the cake, if it comes out clean the cake is cooked.
6. Leave to cool in the tin for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack. Leave the cake for 30 mins before wrapping up in foil whilst the cake is still a little warm and popping in the fridge – this helps to keep the cake moist.
7. This cake will last for 2-4 days wrapped well in cling film and stored in a tin at room temperature or up to a week in the fridge. To freeze, wrap in three layers of clingfilm and freeze for up to 3 months.

Banana Cake with Ricotta & Honey
Banana Cake with Ricotta & Honey

If you’ve had a go at making any of my recipes, I’d love to hear from you. Follow me now @corrieheale and tag your recipe pictures using #corriesrabbitfood.

V – Vegetarian     Vn – The cake can be made vegan (see recipe)
❄ – Suitable for home freezing once cooled. Wrap well in three layers of cling film and freeze. Consume within 3 months.