Spelt Banana + Cardamon Bread

This banana bread is very cake-y as opposed to bread-y. It is surprisingly delicate and soft considering the spelt flour. The dark sugar and roasted almonds make the whole thing feel very wintery (if that can be used to describe food) with a subtle banana and cardamom flavour.

 

Spelt Banana + Cardamon Bread

125g butter, softened (plus extra to serve)

125g light brown sugar

3 large, ripe bananas (plus 1 extra for on top if using)

2 large eggs

2 tbsp. milk

250g spelt wholemeal flour

2 tsp. baking powder

2 tsp. ground cardamom

½ tsp. salt

75g whole almonds

 

Preheat oven to 180 Celsius. Grease and line a large loaf tin. I’m generally too lazy to cut baking paper to size, and true to form on this occasion I just scrunched a piece into the tin and dealt with the very minor crease marks it made on the side of the loaf.

First up, toast your almonds in a dry pan over a medium heat for a few minutes until they start to smell good and toasty. Leave to cool then chop roughly. I like to leave quite large chunks in the batter. I really notice the difference between using raw and toasted almonds in this recipe – you may not – but for me it makes the almond-y flavour really stand out and I find its well worth the little bit of extra effort.

Then, in a mixer, or with hand beaters, or with elbow grease, in a large bowl, cream butter and sugar until it’s light and fluffy. Add eggs one at a time, beating well between each one. Set this aside.

In a small bowl mash 3 bananas together with a fork until they’re very sloppy and all the banana lumps are gone. Fold banana mix into the creamed butter and sugar, then add almonds and fold through.

In a medium sized bowl mix spelt flour, baking powder, cardamom and salt together. Then add the dry mix to the wet mix in two batches, adding milk with the first batch to help loosen the mix a little.

When everything is nicely folded together pour into the loaf tin and smooth the top. If you’re using the extra banana, cut it lengthways and arrange it on top of the batter, poking it down into the mix so half the banana is submerged.

Bake for 60-65 minutes until a knife comes out clean. At the 45 minute mark I covered mine in foil as if you’ve ever read one of my blog posts, my oven was doing its expert job at cooking the hell out of the bottom of the banana bread, whilst not touching the top of it.

If you use the whole banana on top of the bread, the fruit will make the area just around it pretty moist while it cooks, so you really do need to make sure the bread is nice and dark golden brown and cooked through – including the top.

Cool completely in the tin on a wire rack, then tip it out, slice it up and serve with large amounts of butter. The banana bread keeps well in the pantry, just make sure it’s well wrapped in cling film.