You really can't beat a good banana bread. Sliced thickly and eaten on its own in two large mouthfuls. Or warmed up and served with a dollop of Greek yoghurt for those who are slightly more civilised and / or have some self-restraint to wait long enough for the banana bread to warm up.
This recipe sees the merging of classic banana bread with a delicious cinnamon pecan roll filling, because:
(a) I love banana bread
(b) I love cinnamon rolls
(c) Banana bread is easier and quicker to make than cinnamon rolls and I'm impatient when it comes to food
Ta da! Say hello to Cinnamon Banana Pecan Bread. This recipe is so easy yet delicious to make that I included it in my home-baked Christmas hampers that I gifted to family and friends (I'll make a separate post on the hampers when I have finished spending my time eating all of the Christmas leftovers). It also works well gluten-free, though doesn't rise quite as much as gluten-containing cake. Enjoy!
Specialist Utensils: 2lb / 900g loaf tin, loaf tin liner (or non-stick baking paper), electric hand or stand mixer.
Top Tip: If you don't have any soft light brown sugar for the cinnamon pecan filling / topping, soft dark brown sugar or white granulated sugar also work well. I trialled all three in the run up to Christmas and achieved the best finish using soft light brown sugar but all three sugars taste great! If using soft dark brown sugar or white granulated sugar, you may need to cover the cake with foil half way through baking to ensure the top doesn't burn. I didn't seem to need to do this when using soft light brown sugar, but I would always recommend checking the bake halfway through anyway to check how quickly it is browning, as your oven might produce a different result to mine!
100g unsalted butter, softened
175g caster sugar
2 large eggs
2 medium-large ripe / over-ripe bananas
2 tablespoons whole or semi-skimmed milk
225g self-raising flour (normal or gluten-free)
1 teaspoon baking powder (ensure gluten-free if required)
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
Cinnamon Pecan Filling / Topping
65g soft light brown sugar (or soft dark brown or white granulated sugar)
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
50g pecans, chopped
1 handful dried banana chips, chopped / crushed into smaller pieces
1. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (160°C fan). Lightly grease the loaf tin and line it with a loaf tin liner or non-stick baking paper. Light grease the liner / baking paper as well.
2. Whisk the butter and sugar together using an electric hand or stand mixer (you can beat them together by hand using a wooden spoon but it'll take a little longer) until light and fluffy. Then whisk in the two eggs, one by one until fully incorporated.
3. Peel and mash the bananas using a fork and then beat into the wet mix. Then add the milk, self-raising flour, baking powder, vanilla extract and ginger to the mix and beat for about 2 minutes until everything is fully incorporated.
4. In a separate small bowl, mix together the dark soft brown sugar, cinnamon and chopped pecans.
5. Pour half of the banana bread mixture into the prepared loaf tin, then sprinkle half of the cinnamon pecan mixture over the top. Pour the rest of the banana bread mixture over the top and then sprinkle the remaining cinnamon pecan mixture on the top. Use a knife or a cake skewer to lightly swirl the mixture together (but not too much) . Finally, sprinkle the chopped / crushed banana chips evenly over the top of the mixture.
6. Bake for about 1 hour, until well risen and golden brown. A skewer inserted into the middle of the cake should come out clean of crumbs (though some cinnamon pecan filling might stick to the skewer). Check the cake halfway through baking to ensure it is not browning too quickly. If needed, cover with foil for the rest of the baking time.
7. Leave the cake to cool in the tin until the tin is cool enough to handle. Then turn the cake out of the tin and place on a cooling rack. Remove the baking paper if using. Leave the loaf liner on for easy storage and slicing / crumb control, or take it off (whichever you prefer).
8. Slice thickly to serve. Lovely by itself but also tasty slightly warmed up with a dollop of Greek yoghurt.
Storage: If you somehow manage to make this cake last more than a day, store it in an airtight container in a cool place for up to 5 days. If there's any left after this, wrap tightly in tin foil and freeze whole or in thick slices for up to 3 months. When you want to defrost the cake, remove from the freezer and allow to thaw to room temperature before eating. Wrap in foil and warm in the oven for a delicious smell and a toasty treat.