Food

Banana Sweetness

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A late night with the tiny tot and a very early 5.30am wake up call from the toddler, combined with a house full of snotty noses meant that this week called for a sweet treat challenge. Whilst emptying the dishwasher I noticed that the majority of our bananas were looking a little worse for wear. Remembering that my husband loves banana bread I thought I would attempt to bake some as a treat as well as a ‘healthyish’ snack for him to take to work. However, my husband decided this was not enough of a challenge and asked me to also bake banana cupcakes. But he didn’t want just any banana cupcake, he wanted a gooey chocolate centred banana cupcake!

It turns out banana bread recipes are very easy to come by. Surprisingly, banana cupcakes with a chocolate centre not so much. So for my first week of challenges I was going to have to improvise.

For the banana bread I followed a very simple Classic Banana Bread recipe from Yummly http://www.yummly.co.uk/recipe/Classic-Banana-Bread-1320472?columns=3&position=4%2F72 The recipe was fairly straight forward to follow. I personally chose to use unsalted butter and unrefined light brown sugar, knowing these were a slightly healthier option. Initially all seemed well, I had all the ingredients measured and began the first step- creaming the butter and sugar together. At this point I remembered I don’t tend to think ahead and hadn’t left the butter out for quite long enough. The butter was not quite at the desired room temperature, resulting in the kitchen being covered in sugar whilst I attempted to mix with the electric whisk. An emergency butter removal was required,(very difficult to do when each piece is covered in sugar!) once removed the butter was popped in the microwave for a few seconds and all was well again.

For the banana cupcakes I used a recipe from a cupcake recipe book I have at home. It is a very simple recipe-

  • 100g lightly salted butter, softened
  • 100g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 125g self-raising flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 75g sultanas

Preheat the oven to 180C, Gas Mark 4. Place paper cake cases in a 12-section bun tray. Mix all the ingredients and divide the mixture between the cake cases. Bake for 20 mins or until risen and just firm.

I decided to challenge myself slightly by removing the caster sugar and replacing it with honey to provide a slightly healthier and more natural sweetener to the cupcakes. This made the mixture just a tad runny so I added more flour- rightly or wrongly I couldn’t tell you. I also removed the sultanas knowing these would not receive a warm welcome from either my husband or toddler. Then came the scary part- the chocolate centre. Google advised me to place a piece of chocolate in the centre of each cupcake prior to baking. I was ridiculously nervous about how this would effect the bake and whether the end result would be just a horrid mess of squishy banana and chocolate or a delightful marrying of light sponge and gooey chocolate.

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I am delighted with how both my banana treats turned out, even though the bread was slightly burnt and the cupcakes deflated a little once removed from the oven. But sometimes its the getting there rather than the end result which is the game changer and most importantly my family have definitely enjoyed having a little yummy treat. I am proud of myself for being able to wing it when usually I would feel the uncontrollable need to follow each instruction exactly. And even when the tiny tot needed feeding and the toddler wanted to have a boogie I didn’t panic, I just stopped for a few moments and enjoyed the time with my children, then went back to my baking when they were settled. Just one challenge in and I am already feeling like I have accomplished something and am moving in the right direction on my journey. Next week I am really going to push my boundaries- especially when it comes to organisation and timing and I cannot wait.

I hope you enjoyed hearing about my first baking challenge of 2016 and I will see you in my next post.

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