‘Muffin’ has become something of a generic word for small cakes. Once it was used only for those light, fluffy small cakes that contain a lot of air but now it’s more or less used for any individual cake cooked in a muffin-sized tin – larger than a fairy cake but definitely for a single serving. I gave the basic banana bread recipe here on the blog a couple of years ago, so apologies for the repetition but sometimes a recipe deserves a second outing, especially when presented in a different way. I used to make the ‘bread’ version a lot when my kids were small; a healthier kind of cake to greet hungry children home from school.
I rarely make it now but when I saw a few overripe bananas, already browning, in a bowl the thought of homemade banana bread was irresistible. But with a busy day ahead and being uncertain I could fit in a hour or more’s wait for a whole bread to cook, I decided to make small ones. They’re incredibly quick and easy to make. I followed on old Katie Stewart recipe as I’ve always done, but replaced her pecans with the walnuts I had handy.
I put all the dry ingredients in a large bowl: 225g spelt flour (ordinary plain will do but I always buy spelt now, not just for health but its nuttier taste), 2 teaspoons baking powder, 100g soft butter, 100g light muscovado sugar, 50g walnut pieces (break up if too big) and 50g sultanas (or raisins). Weigh out 450g bananas with skins on; skin then mash. Add them to the dry ingredients with 2 eggs.
Now use a hand mixer to beat everything together until smooth.
Grease a 12-muffin tin and lightly dust with flour to stop them sticking (or use muffin liners if you have some). Spoon the mixture into the tin. I had half a banana left over after weighing them, so I lay thinnish slices on top of each muffin and dusted the banana with a little golden caster sugar.
Put into a 180C/160 Fan oven for 30-35 minutes until they’re risen and are nicely browned. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for about 5 minutes before carefully lifting out and laying on a cooling rack.
Banana bread benefits from a day’s ageing – if you can possibly wait that long! The smell is just too irresistible. I gave some away when I went out for a work meeting and left some at Jonathan and Lyndsey’s when I went to walk Zeph, their little Yorkie. But by the time I got home it was teatime. I can be very English about tea at 4.00!
I rarely drink tea of what we tend to call in UK, ‘builder’s tea’: tea with milk. I drink coffee and quite a lot of herbal – mint, etc. – teas during the day. But what better for an afternoon treat than some ‘real’ tea and a fresh homemade cake?