Thursday, May 21, 2020

Classic Banana Bread | 香蕉蛋糕

The first thing I ever baked was a banana bread. That goes to show that making banana bread is about as easy as baking can get - so long as you have bananas that are so ripe and freckled they would have otherwise ended up in the reject pile at the supermarket.
While some people make banana bread only as a way to use up forgotten bananas, others like me routinely stake out at the quick sale corner hunting precisely for these often orphaned, blemished, and (heavily discounted) overripe bananas - for none other than to bake the most impossibly scrumptious and moist homemade banana bread. After all, banana bread is half the reason why bananas exist, right?

Over the years I have carried banana bread to the office at my first desk job; brought a slice or two to my hairdresser and bribed a security guard; shared with my fellow chirpy flight attendants during boot camp training as a new recruit; and on countless occasions served it at housewarmings, game nights, or simply as an afternoon treat. Over time, friends, neighbors, co-workers have fallen in love with this banana bread. Some even declared it a favorite.

Banana bread can be something rather ordinary, a usual suspect at coffee shops everywhere; it is so basic and so ubiquitous yet so universally loved it's almost uncanny. Abundant as they are, however, some banana bread may turn out dry, overly sweet or, worse yet, taste of artificial flavoring. What makes homemade ones extraordinary and sets it apart from commercial ones is its texture, the moist and soft crumb, the incredibly rich color and buttery aroma, and the unmistakable natural sweetness from ripe bananas.

Year after year I swear by this simple recipe, deviating only in experimentation with different combinations of sugars. I tend to gravitate towards using brown or even black sugar to imbue the cake with a rich, caramelly flavor and moisture, but also mixing in white sugar just to provide enough sweetness without overpowering the banana flavor. Using white sugar alone will produce a paler banana bread with a more single-noted flavor. The sugar amount is flexible. Most recipes call for one full cup of sugar, but I find 3/4 cup to be just perfect - or even less if you are using very, very ripe bananas or upping banana count to four.

As far as baking goes, banana bread is by far the most beginner-friendly. It is the simplest and most forgiving, especially for someone like me who detests precise measurements and flinch at the thought of baking an angel food cake. There may be plenty of ways to fancy up a good old banana bread; you can add walnuts, pecans, chocolate chips, dark rum, all of which I've tried - but some of my best bakes are the ones that were kept simple and classic. Sometimes simplicity is best (I am a bit of a purist when it comes to banana bread).

Ordinary as it may be, banana bread is surely well loved by all and oddly so it is also one of my most requested recipes from friends. This is my go-to favorite recipe for banana bread, one that I have written out on a loose piece of junk paper and which I have cherished over the years. Calling this the "best-ever" banana bread may be a bold statement, but I am here to admit it might just be the best banana bread you've ever had. It will surely make you go bananas!

1 1/2 cup (195 g) plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3 large overripe bananas
1/2 cup (115 g) unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon vanilla essence


Preheat oven at 350F/180C. Cream together the butter and sugar. Crush bananas with a fork or a masher. Add eggs and vanilla essence and combine well with the butter and sugar mixture.

Sift together flour, baking soda, and salt. Fold into creamed mixture. Pour into greased loaf pan. Bake for 50-60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Do you like your banana bread plain or with nuts?
Share with me or leave a comment below! Tag #alvinspenthousekitchen.
Find me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and follow my Facebook Fan Page!

 【 香蕉蛋糕 】

中筋麵粉               195 克
蘇打粉                   1 茶匙
幼鹽                        1/2 茶匙
無鹽牛油               115 克
紅糖                        110 克
砂糖                        50 克
熟透香蕉               3 條(大)
雞蛋                        2 隻
雲呢拿香油          1/2 茶匙

1. 預熱焗爐至 350F/180C。
2. 牛油放於室溫軟化,加入糖用攪拌器攪拌至均勻幼滑。
3. 香蕉放在碗裡用叉子壓成泥狀,可以保留一點顆粒口感。
4. 加入雞蛋和雲尼拿香油拌勻,然後跟牛油和糖拌勻。
5. 加入過篩後的麵粉、鹽和蘇打粉,輕輕攪拌均勻。
6. 把粉漿倒入已掃油的糕盤內,放入焗爐焗約 50-60 分鐘至金黃熟透即可。

Do you like your banana bread plain or with nuts?
Share with me or leave a comment below! Tag #alvinspenthousekitchen.
Find me on Instagram @alvinckl and @alvin.penthousekitchen and follow my Facebook Fan Page!

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