You may not know this, but café culture is a big deal in Australia. I would even go so far as to say that a lot of Aussies are coffee snobs. When travelling overseas, many will constantly complain that the coffee doesn’t compare to that at home. When Starbucks launched the Flat White in the US earlier this month, Australian media decried that there was no chance they would get it right. And from what I’ve read, they didn’t.
I don’t like coffee, so I’m not a coffee snob and I don’t spend a lot of time in cafés, but when I do visit one, it’s not the drinks that lure me in. It’s the food. Café food is addictive. Especially the independent cafés that bake all their tasty treats on site or are stocked by a local bakery.
One of my favourite foods to order from a café is banana bread. It’s always so crunchy on top yet so moist and something about them toasting and slathering butter on it makes it taste so freaking good. I’ve never really liked bananas as they are, but chuck them in a dense loaf cake and I’m all over it!
When I was back in Sydney over Christmas, I had THE banana bread to end all banana breads. And it wasn’t so much the banana bread itself as the toppings they put on it. A thick, generous layer of ricotta cheese and a good squeeze of honey. It was so simple, but man, was it good. I knew I had to come home and recreate it myself.
This Café-Style Banana Bread recipe is super easy and has the crunchy, sky-high top that I love so much. It’s moist on the inside and not overly sweet. Cut it up into thick slices, toast it under the griller, spread with ricotta cheese and honey, and you’ve got a perfect breakfast, morning tea, afternoon tea or dessert. I’m sure that someone special would be very excited to wake up to this on Valentine’s Day morning.
Café-Style Banana Bread
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cooking Time: 45 minutes
2 cups self-raising flour
1 tsp ground cinnamon
½ cup tightly packed brown sugar
500-550g ripe bananas (about 4 medium bananas), mashed
2 eggs, lightly beaten
¼ cup milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
Ricotta cheese and honey, to serve (optional)
- Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F/Gas Mark 6. Grease and line a 21cm x 11cm loaf pan. Melt butter in a microwave-safe bowl or in a small saucepan on the stove. Set aside to cool.
- In a large bowl, sift self-raising flour and cinnamon. Add brown sugar and mix well.
- In a medium bowl, combine melted butter, mashed banana, beaten eggs, milk and vanilla extract. Gradually add banana mixture to flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to mix until just combined.
- Pour mixture into prepared pan, smooth top and bake for 45-50 minutes, until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean. Allow to cool in pan for 5 minutes, then cool completely on a wire rack.
- To serve, cut into 2.5cm slices, toast each slice under the griller (broiler) for 2-3 minutes each side and spread with a generous serving of ricotta cheese and honey.
Recipe adapted from Ninemsn.