Gluten-free banana & zucchini bread

When you feel like baking but also don’t want to go out shopping for any specific ingredients, then you search the fridge and pantry and get a bit experimental. Today it was an excess of zucchinis, a soft banana, and half a packet of coconut flour that provided inspiration!

I do love making banana bread, for so many reasons: it’s easy, it’s delicious, it’s toddler-friendly, and it is great to slice and freeze to have on hand for snacks or a quick breakfast. What I don’t really love is the feeling I get when I’ve been eating a lot a wheat, like I have lately. Bit yuck. So being able to make this wheat-free was definitely a bonus. Note that this recipe uses coconut flour, which behaves in a very different way to regular flour or even standard GF flour, so if you want to substitute anything else it will require different quantities and a rebalance of the other ingredients.

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1 banana, mashed
1 medium zucchini, finely grated
3 eggs
1/2 cup buttermilk (or regular milk with some lemon juice)
50g butter, melted
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
3 tablespoons golden syrup
2 tablespoons chia seeds
3/4 cup coconut flour
1/2 cup ground flaxseed
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon allspice
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon bi-carb soda

Preheat the oven to 180C and grease and line a loaf tin. Mix together the banana, zucchini and eggs. Add the milk, butter, sugar, golden syrup and chia seeds and mix well. Sift in the coconut flour, spices, baking powder and bi-carb soda, and add the flaxseed. Mix well then pour into the loaf tin. Bake for about 50 minutes, cool in tin about 10 minutes, and turn onto a wire rack to cool.

Can be eaten as it is, fresh and warm from the oven, or spread with butter, peanut butter or even cream cheese! Will keep a couple of days in an airtight container, or it can be sliced and frozen.

Banana Bread

Cleaning out the fridge over the weekend, I found some eggs and buttermilk that were just about at their use by date, and some squishy bananas. Banana bread time!!

This makes one of those loaves of banana bread that you can slice and it looks like those things that you pay a fortune for in fancy cafes with your takeaway coffee in the morning. Save yourself a few dollars each day and make this instead.

2 mashed bananas
1 cup brown sugar
½ cup buttermilk
2 eggs
2 tablespoons melted butter
¼ cup honey or golden syrup
1 ½ cups plain flour
1 cup self raising flour
2 teaspoons mixed spice
1 teaspoon bicarb soda

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease and line a loaf pan, leave the baking paper hanging over the long edges of the pan. Mix the banana, sugar, buttermilk, eggs, butter and honey in a large bowl. Sift in the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Pour into the loaf pan. Bake for about 55 minutes, stand in tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

It’s good fresh and warm from the oven, or with butter, or toasted. (I would have included a photo of a slice of this, slathered in butter, but I ate it before I could take a picture, sorry)

Dairy Free Banana Cake

I was given a bunch of soft bananas by a colleague who knows I love to bake, and thought I could possibly make something tasty from them (thanks Clayton!). Instead of a banana bread style recipe, I opted for more of a traditional cake. This wasn’t originally intended to be a dairy free cake, it just so happened that way based on the ingredients I had in the fridge. (I’ve made this twice in the last 2 weeks, but unfortunately was not able to get very good photos on either occasion – it disappeared too quickly!)

Sliced up and ready to share!

 

The cake itself is very easy – I made the whole thing in my KitchenAid mixer, but if you don’t have one it would still be a simple one-bowl process using electric beaters.

125g Nuttelex (soft butter or butter substitute)
1 ½ cups caster sugar
3 mashed overripe bananas
2 eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
100ml almond milk (or regular milk)
1 ½ cups self-raising flour
 ½ tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preheat oven to 180C. Grease a 20cm round cake tin, and line the base with baking paper. Place butter, sugar, banana, eggs, and vanilla in a bowl and beat for a couple of minutes. Add the milk and beat again. Add the flour and bicarb soda and beat again until combined. Pour into cake tin, bake for 1 hour. Cool in tin for about 10 minutes, then turn onto wire rack to cool.

I then iced this with lemon cream cheese icing, slightly defeating the purpose of making the cake dairy free to start with! It was delicious though.

To make my cream cheese icing I beat 1 block of softened Philadelphia cream cheese with a couple of tablespoons of soft butter. Then I add icing sugar while beating, until it’s the right consistency and taste, and I add some fresh lemon juice at the same time until it tastes how I want it. This makes quite a lot of icing, but it’s super yummy!

Random Pantry Ingredient Muffins

It was a Sunday afternoon. I was bored. I was hungry. I was a little tipsy on cider.

I decided to make muffins, the catch was that I could only use the ingredients already available to me in the house, and I hadn’t been grocery shopping in nearly 2 weeks. Interesting challenge…

I went with this basic recipe, but varied it slightly out of necessity!

2 cups flour – I only had 1 cup plain flour and 1 cup plain gluten-free flour left, so I mixed them together and then added ¼ cup oat bran for a bit of something extra
¼ cup sugar 
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 egg, beaten
1 cup milk – no milk in the house, but I did have an unopened carton of almond milk, so I used that.
 ¼ cup oil or melted butter, cooled to room temperature – no butter, I used vegetable oil.

I also added 1 mashed ladyfinger banana that I had acquired that morning at the Mother’s Day Classic fun run, a handful of sunflower seeds, a handful of desiccated coconut, and a handful of dried cranberries (a very generous handful of those!). Followed the usual muffin instructions of mixing the dry ingredients separately to the others, then mixing them all together very briefly before spooning into the muffin pan and baking at 200C for nearly 30 minutes.

They actually turned out ok!! And not a massively sugar/fat laden snack either, they went well with another bottle of raspberry and apple cider!!

Wheat, Gluten, and Dairy Free Carrot and Banana Cake

Next up in the gluten-free, dairy-free experimentation: a cake made from scratch instead of a packet mix! I picked this recipe because it was dairy-free to start with (apart from the original cream cheese icing) so there wasn’t as much modification required. I found these two wheat and gluten-free flours the other day in my shopping expedition so I simply replaced the regular flours in the recipe with these. I was particularly impressed with the plain flour – the texture was pretty much identical to regular flour. The self-raising flour was very fine – it looked and felt more like cornflour.

It’s another AWW recipe that I’ve slightly altered to suit. I’ve never come across a carrot and banana cake recipe before, and I love both separately so I thought I’d probably love the combination too! Also I had a heap of soft bananas and a whole bag of carrots in the fridge… It turned out surprisingly well, not dry but not too dense, with a light and springy texture all the way through. It actually reminded me of the texture of the carrot cakes that my Nanna used to make when I was a child. It’s not a ‘pretty’ cake, not is it super sweet, but it is an easy, tasty and wholesome cake and I’ll definitely be making it again.

1  ¼ cups GF plain flour
½ cup GF self-raising flour
1 teaspoon bicarb soda
1 teaspoon mixed spice
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 cup brown sugar
3 eggs
2 cups finely grated carrot
1 cup mashed banana
1 cup vegetable oil 

Preheat oven to 170C. Grease a 23cm springform tin and line the base with baking paper. Sift all the dry ingredients into a large bowl. Stir in the eggs, carrot, banana and oil. Pour into the tin and bake for about 1 ¼ hours, cool in tin.

When the cake was cool enough I turned it out onto a wire rack and then drizzled it with a icing glaze that I made from almond milk, icing sugar and cinnamon.

It was ugly but delicious! I think it would keep pretty well in an airtight container but there wasn’t any left over for me to find out!