A couple on months back, we had a banana cake-off at work: me and a colleague, Lesley, agreed to make banana cakes for our colleagues, who would then judge the winner.

At the time I was really keen on making cupcakes, so I decided to make banana flavoured variety (with real banana though, not artificial flavourings!). I stumbled upon a recipe on the internet and produced 2 dozen tiny cakes. They were not my best. I usually ad-lib a bit on recipes as I’ll usually see more than 1 recipe for the same thing & somehow combine them. But sadly, on this occasion, I stuck to the recipe and the results were not the best. I iced them with a banana & cream cheese icing (which I ended up making far to much of!). However, I lost the cake-off to Lesley – she made a wonderful banana & date loaf, which everybody enjoyed, except for my good friend Freyja, who is Coeliac so couldn’t have any of them due to their gluten content. I left work a little bit disappointed, as I knew I could do better.

At home, I still had excess banana icing, and I still had some super-ripe bananas, so I decided to have another go to try & redeem myself! I felt a little guilty that Freyja had not been able to enjoy any of the cakes due to their gluten content, so I resolved to make a gluten free banana loaf.

I came across a few recipes online and combined a couple of them, although they weren’t gluten free. If you’ve ever tried gluten free baking before, you’ll know that it can be tricky. The flour is of a different consistency and is usually more powdery once baked. There are many varieties of gluten free flour, I used Doves Farm plain white flour blend.

To combat the powdery texture I used glycerin with the bananas and substituted some of the caster sugar for golden syrup. I also used xanthan gum (also from Doves Farm) as an alternative binding ingredient, as gluten generated by wheat flour is the element that holds everything together. As another little ad-lib, I added cherries (mainly because I had a punnet in front of me and they were delicious!).

I popped it in the oven and, once cool, used up the leftover icing. The downside to making a loaf is that you don’t get to try it before you unleash it on the world (or my colleagues). Thankfully, it all worked out and everyone enjoyed it.in fact, some people preferred it to Lesley’s. It is my gluten free greatest success to date. And I don’t remember the recipe!

So today, I am hoping to recreate the amazing banana & cherry loaf. I have the super-ripe bananas & am picking up some cherries at the shops – Tesco have some on special buy for £1! I feel like the gluten free variety of this loaf really worked and added a lightness, not usually found in a loaf.

I plan to document my every ingredient, sieve and blend. Hopefully I will then be able to share with you a recipe for a gluten free banana (& cherry) loaf that works.

I’m just about to heat up a portion of our homemade soup that’s stashed in the freezer. Yum!

For other ways to alter recipes, see Living Shalom’s blog post here:

Simple Adaptations.

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