Chocolate banana brownie bread
I called this 'brownie bread'... as it's shaped like a loaf, but with a beautiful dense and chewy sponge, best described as a cross between banana bread and a chocolate brownie!
The easiest, healthiest, allergy friendly but totally indulgent cake you'll probably ever find!
Well this recipe was totally unplanned! Making recipes on holiday in Lanzarote in my hosts kitchen! I have been eating all my meals with them, it's so lovely to be cooked for, especially since they eat a plant based diet also... i'll admit I haven't even needed to leave their house!
Since I happened to mention I write a food blog, I was offered the opportunity to come up with a healthy cake or dessert using 'anything I could find' in the kitchen. Wow, what an opportunity... though I was also pretty nervous and apprehensive in case it didn't work out! It's one thing wasting your own ingredients but anything things when it's someone else's food! Plus, I didn't have all my up ingredients and kitchen tools to hand.
Of course I wanted it to be as low in sugar as possible, and ideally contain chocolate, since I hadn't had any all week and it was calling to me! I needed a foolproof recipe that I knew would stand the least chance of failure.... that's when my crazy chocolate courgette cake came to mind. That cake is loved by so many, uses simple ingredients and I knew it would be a winner. To change it up a little I swapped the courgette for banana. This was in large part so that I could get away from using refined sugars- in the courgette version I use dates and pure stevia, but since I had no stevia to hand, I used bananas (and a teensy bit of brown sugar just to be sure) to hit the sweet spot.
Flour was also another factor to work around. I usually use fine ground oats in the chocolate courgette cake recipe, but all I had to hand here were emmer grains (an ancient grain similar to spelt and einkorn). This is what my hosts mill to make their own bread, so we milled some for this recipe. It worked perfectly.... phew! I imagine any of the ancient grain flours (or even regular wholewheat) would make a good substitute, or use fine oatmeal as per my original recipe (I haven't tried with purely gluten free flours but buckwheat or a GF flour blend could be a good bet if you do experiment).
I also had to improvise with other ingredients too. Usually I use a combination of baking soda and baking power. But there was only soda to hand... a quick google gave me my solution. Baking soda needs an acid to react to, so I simply added lemon juice to the mix and it worked perfectly on its own.
The banana pieces on top were beautifully caramelised and chewy... feel free to add more or even mix some chunks into the mix to vary the texture and make more of a dessert bread, which would be amazing served warm with vegan cream or ice-cream.... or a slathering of drippy peanut butter! Oh yeah...
This basic recipe has been tried so many times now with little tweaks, it is virtually foolproof I promise! The verdict... they all loved it! Even two year old Shakti!
P.s You'll find plenty more of my 'loaf' style recipes HERE!
Recipe: Chocolate banana brownie bread
Makes 1 long shallow loaf (or equivalent of a large deep brownie pan)
3/4 cup chopped dates (packed quite tightly)
1/2 cup boiling water (may need to add a few tablespoons extra at the end)
1/4 cup coconut oil (or other mild oil of choice)
2 tbs chia seeds (or flax seed)
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
4 medium bananas (3 to be pureed and 1 chopped for the top)
2-3 tbs brown sugar (you could omit this or sub with syrup or a few drops of pure stevia)
2/3 cup cocoa
1 1/2 cup emmer flour (or ground porridge oats or other flours as noted above)
1 heaped tsp baking soda
Soak the dates in the 1/2 cup boiling water for a few minutes to soften ( I did this as I only had a small stick hand blender to use, soaking it optional for more robust blenders so you could just add water separately). Add the coconut oil to melt it. Add three rough chopped bananas, the chia/flax and the lemon juice to the date/oil mix and blend until very smooth. All the wet ingredients should now be mixed.
In a separate medium bowl, mix together the flour, cocoa and baking soda. Add the pureed mixture and stir through until fully combined. Taste and add the brown sugar (or sweetener of choice) to taste. I only needed to add two tablespoons.
The mixture should be a soft spoonable batter. Add a few extra tablespoons of water only if needed (I added a couple). Spoon the mix into a greased and lined cake tin/loaf tin of choice (or muffin cups). Smooth the top as much as possonle then press the chopped banana pieces on top to decorate.
Bake for approx. 35-40 minutes at 180C (this will depend on the depth on the cake pan and need less time for muffins). I loosely covered the top with foil after 20 minutes once the bananas were browned to prevent potential burning. Check the middle of a cake with a fork or skewer to see that it comes away clean.
Serve warm or cold as a healthy indulgent snack or dessert! One easy cake- two ways!
(P.s this cake freezes beautifully too!)