Although I wish it wasn’t so, I live very far away from my Mom. For Mother’s Day this year I wanted to send her something I baked because I think it’s a bit more personal and thoughtful. I chose a banana bread recipe because I needed something that would ship well and something that she would love. As I’ve mentioned before, my Mom is from South Africa, so nothing with chocolate chips in it would do. (Although, if you prefer, you can easily substitute the raisins for chocolate chips, just don’t try offering a piece to my Mom with her afternoon tea). Of course I wish I could be there to share this warm and comforting cake with her, it still makes me happy to know she’ll be enjoying it on Mother’s Day.
This recipe is adapted from Nigella Lawson’s “How to Be a Domestic Goddess”. She describes the cake as a perfect recipe for anyone who is just starting out learning to bake because it’s really simple to make and really difficult to mess up. The recipe says to coat the raisins in rum before using them and the effect is really unique. They become much softer and sweeter as the alcohol melts away. Banana bread is also an ideal way to use up old bananas. When I have any that have gone too brown to eat I just throw them in the freezer and then use them for this banana bread. I highly recommend surprising your own mom with this wonderful bread sometime soon.
1/3 cup raisins (or chocolate chips)
6 tblsp. (3 ounces) rum (omit if using chocolate chips)
1 cup and 2 tblsp. flour
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter (melted)
1/2 cup sugar
4 small very ripe bananas (this is an approximate measurement, the cake would survive without any bananas at all, of course then again it wouldn’t be banana bread but don’t get too worried about the size of your bananas)
1/4 cup chopped walnuts
1 tsp. vanilla
Best to Bake in a greased 9x5 inch. loaf pan
In a small pan bring the rum and raisins to a boil. Then take the pan off the heat, cover and leave for 30 minutes to an hour. (If using chocolate chips just skip the rum and this step)
Preheat the oven to 325F.
Mix together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a small bowl. In a separate large bowl melt the unsalted butter in the microwave (about 30 seconds should do it.). Then add the sugar and mix together well. Add the eggs one at a time and mix together well. Mash the bananas up and add them in. Add the walnuts, the raisins (drained from any excess rum) and the vanilla. To this mixture in the large bowl add in the flour mixture slowly, incorporating large spoonfuls at a time.
Spray your loaf pan with cooking spray or use butter to grease it. Pour the mixture in and place in the center of the oven.
Bake at 325F for about 1 hour to an 1 hour and 15 minutes. The top will brown before it’s done, make sure it’s read by sticking a tooth pick in the center and seeing that it comes out clean.