The ‘what if we never sleep again?’ Seeded Coconut Banana Cake

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Banana bread is an excellent way to use up over ripe bananas. I stash mine ready peeled in the freezer until I have enough to bake with or to make instant ice cream (!)

I haven’t had a chance to bake as much since our little one arrived but now I’ve got a ring sling to wear him in I’m baking as much as possible! This recipe is quick, actually kind of healthy as its full of fruit, nuts and seeds and makes 2 cakes so what’s not to love??

I wanted to bake something to fuel us through the long sleepless nights and experimented with my best ever banana bread recipe to create a tasty and nutritious seeded coconut banana cake and my my it is delicious, especially warm from the oven.

I’ve replaced the butter with coconut oil which works really well and adds a further coconut dimension to the cake. I love the nuttiness wholemeal flour brings to this bake too along with the sunflower and pumpkin seeds for an additional energy boost. They also look pretty baked into the top of the cake providing little green and golden flecks.

It’s flavour deepens over time and the bananas ensure the cake retains it’s moisture so it’s good for at least a week in an airtight container. (If you can savour it for that long.)

I split this cake into 2 cake tins which means I can stash one in the freezer for a rainy day or unexpected guests. Just wrap it in tin foil and it will keep in the freezer for a month or two.

Things I used to make my Seeded Coconut Banana Cake

¤ 125g caster sugar
¤ 250g coconut oil (solid)
¤ 2 eggs
¤ 3 over ripe bananas (defrost them a bit first if they’re frozen)
¤ 170g plain flour
¤ 40g wholemeal flour
¤ 40g coconut flour
¤ 3tsp baking powder
¤ 2tsp vanilla extract
¤ 40g of chopped/diced pre soaked prunes or other dried fruit. (Make sure the fruit is plump by soaking in hot tea/fruit juice/booze for a few minutes or overnight if you have the time first)
¤ 40g mixed seeds (or chopped nuts) sunflower, pumpkin, chia and sesame seeds; and walnuts, flaked almonds work well.
¤ 1 tsp cinnamon
¤ 1 tsp vanilla extract

☆ 2 x 8 inch round cake tins greased and lined
☆ 20g flaked almonds, dessicated coconut and mixed seeds for the topping
☆ Runny honey to drizzle over after baking

1. Beat the sugar and coconut oil together until smooth

2. Beat the eggs into the oil until it forms a smooth paste

3. Mash the bananas first. Or if using a stand mixer throw them straight into the mixture and beat. Mix the bananas into the oil until combined.

4. Fold in the flour, baking powder, cinnamon and vanilla.

5. Fold in the dried fruit

6. Pour the batter into the greased and lined cake tins. Smooth the top of the cakes with a spatula.

7. Sprinkle the tops of the cakes with a generous handful of mixed seeds and nuts.

8. Bake the cakes in the middle of the oven for 30-35 minutes and 160 degrees c. (Fan assisted) until golden brown and a skewer comes out clean.

9. Whilst the cakes are hot drizzle runny honey over the tops of the cakes and allow it to seep into the sponge.

10. Cut yourself a massive slice whilst still warm and shove it into your face whilst basking in the glow of baking yourself 2 cakes in one go. It’s even better washed down with a lovely cup of tea.

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The Best Banana Bread I’ve ever made

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My Bestest Banana Bread

I’m going to let you into a secret. I’ve been experimenting in the kitchen, trying new combinations of flours and flavours to make some tasty, healthy (ish) cakes using up food that would otherwise go to waste. And what did I conjure up? My bestest banana bread recipe, with coconut, pistachio and rye. Additional bonuses include an extra cake! This recipe is enough for 2 cakes, so you can freeze one for later or give it to a friend who needs a nutritious energy boost. It’s also low in sugar and gluten. (You could choose gluten free flour if you prefer.)

Bonus Banana Bread

Bonus Banana Bread

When my bananas are on the turn and almost ready for the bin I throw them in the freezer in their blacken skins to save for a later date.  (Yes you can freeze bananas. Feel free to peel them first and pop them in a tupperware container first if you want to use them from frozen for smoothies or milkshakes, then you don’t even need to add ice cream for a chilled drink).

Once I have 3 black bananas stockpiled I whip up my Banana Bread. Leave your bananas to defrost for an hour or so before you peel them to make your banana bread, as if they’re too cold it will make your butter solidify and could give you denser cake and an uneven bake.

This is really quick to make. Basically beat the butter and sugar together until fluffy. Followed by your bananas, vanilla and eggs, then the combination of flours and baking powder. Finally beat in a handful of sultanas and chopped walnuts. This takes about 15 minutes with an electric mixer.

I use two 6 inch round tins to bake this recipe, or you could bake one large banana bread loaf if you prefer. Liberally sprinkle the cakes with chopped nuts (whatever you have to hand is fine). I use pistachios which gives you gorgeous green flecks singing out in between the flaked almonds and hazelnuts.

As the cake bakes the batter rises up and supports the nuts, holding them in place for the final cake. It’s also the perfect way to disguise any uneven finishes on your cake, if like me you have an unpredictably hot oven.

My initial experiments involved using 100% coconut flour, but this ended in disaster. I think coconut flour needs to be balanced against other nuttier flours (I like using rye flour but spelt or wholemeal would work well too) to absorb some of the natural oils and sugars and avoid the quick to burn, blackened mess that I made.

In less than an hour (50 minutes at 150 degrees c to be precise) you will produce two beautifully moist banana cakes, that are perfect accompanied by a large mug of strong tea, perhaps after a bracing stroll by the coast. I’m drooling just thinking of that sweet sponge and nutty crunch of a cake. Wonder how many bananas I have lurking in my freezer today…

Perfect Cake spot: A blustry day by Alnwick Castle

Perfect Cake spot: A blustery day by Alnwick Castle

 Things I used to make my Bestest Banana Bread

  • 125g margarine (or butter)
  • 250g caster sugar
  • 3 over ripe bananas
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla paste
  • 100g coconut flour (or finely ground dessicated coconut if you can’t find the flour)
  • 90g Rye Flour (or spelt or wholemeal) -NB: Spelt and Rye flours are not gluten free but may be more suitable to those who have a wheat intolerance. Use a wholemeal gluten free flour if you want to avoid gluten in this recipe.
  • 60g plain flour (feel free to use gluten free flour)
  • 3 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1tsp ground cassia (or cinnamon or mace)
  • Handful of chopped sultanas
  • Handful of chopped walnuts
  • * Topping: (2 handful of chopped/flaked nuts: almonds, pistachio, walnuts, hazelnuts
  1. Beat together sugar and butter until fluffy
  2. Beat in bananas
  3. Beat in eggs one by one
  4. Beat in vanilla paste
  5. Beat in coconut, plain, rye flours and baking powder and spice
  6. Beat in sultanas and walnuts
  7. Pour into 2 greased 6 inch round tins (or one large loaf tin)
  8. Cover the top of each cake entirely with a layer of chopped nuts
  9. Bake for 50  mins at 150 degrees c (or until a skewer comes out clean)

My other banana based recipes are Fanny and Otto’s Fijian Banana Cake