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Banana loaf is done! I had a couple of bananas that were on there way out, perfect excuse for some baking methinks! I have used cherries in this recipe too and managed to snap up a small punnet for just £1 at my local Asda! See my previous post here for details of the banana loaf I’m attempting to recreate.

I struggled to find the recipes that I’d used the last time I made the gluten free banana and cherry loaf, so I adapted one I found at this link.

I made the following alterations to the ingredients:

250g gluten free plain flour (I used Doves Farm plain white flour blend)
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
1 1/4 teaspoon xanthan gum
1 teaspoon glycerine
pinch salt
115g butter (can be subbed for sunflower oil for the dairy free lot – about 80ml or 1/3 cup should do)
115g dark brown soft sugar
2 eggs, beaten
500g mashed over-ripe bananas
10-12 fresh cherries – optional
50-100g chopped nuts or a couple of handfuls whole nuts (I used a mix of hazelnuts, almonds and pecans, chopped in food processor) – also optional
2 tablespoons natural yogurt (dairy free variety is okay)

I blended all the wet ingredients (butter, banana, glycerine & eggs) and gradually added the sugar. I then sieved the flour, bicarbonate of soda and xanthan gum into a large bowl and gradually added the wet mixture, folding it in. The mixture was a little stiff & doughy so I added the yogurt to loosen it off. At this stage it should be thick but it should move if you tilt the bowl, a bit like cement! I then added the nuts to add a bit of texture. I used the blade attachment on my food processor (pictured) to chop the nuts, about 4-5 pulses was enough, be careful not to chop them too much or they’ll start to form a paste. I then added the cherries, tearing each one into several pieces and disposing of the stone.

Spoon the mixture into a loaf tin, either lined with greaseproof paper or greased well with butter. Pop the tin in a preheated oven at 150 degrees for a fan oven or a little higher for a conventional oven and bake for about an hour and 15 mins or until a skewer inserted into the middle of the loaf comes out clean.

This was not my most successful loaf but I think that’s because I had the temperature up too high (I used the temp recommended on the recipe I referenced but I think for gluten free it should be a bit lower. I also have a fan oven so think that may have played a part!) The top of my loaf is a little crispy (burnt) but the middle is gooey and just dense enough.

I made a light glaze with 1 and 1/2 tablespoons yoghurt and about 50-75g icing sugar (so its still a bit runny) and brushed it on the top. Alternatively you can make a cream cheese and icing sugar mix. Start with a small amount of cream cheese (add a slice of banana if you want to add some extra flavour) and add the icing sugar, the consistency should be thick like a paste. Sprinkle some icing sugar on the top to finish.

I’ll remake this again soon so may update it again if I can improve on anything.

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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.