We've been facing a hard time as humanity coping with the global pandemic of COVID-19 and different people are looking for various ways to get by each day.
Most people in my country are making the best out of the situation by making memes out of it. I like that it's making dull moments brighter and replacing people's fears and anxiety with joy and laughter.
I, on the other hand, have decided to bake and one of my comfort snacks in this season which is bitting into a slice of sumptuous moist banana bread and I'd love to share this same experience with you. The beautiful thing is that you can enjoy good quality cake without leaving your house!
Bananas in Kenya are available all year round and I think it's one of the fruits that people will stock up on in this season. The making of this banana bread uses simple ingredients that can be easily found in most household or whose ingredients can easily be substituted.
To give my banana bread a nice banana punch, I add a small amount of nutmeg or clove. This gives the cake such an amazing aroma and a nice taste. Don't over do the spices as both nutmeg and clove can be a bit over powering if used in excess. You can go safer and add 1/2 a teaspoon of cinnamon instead. I have tried using all three spices (nutmeg, clove and cinnamon) in small quantities and my cake was alright, though it drove out the banana from the banana bread and made it a spicy cake. Just remember that a bit goes a long way and use spice in moderation. I'd recommend that you stick to one spice at a time till you find the spice combination that works best for your banana bread preference.
I know of people who use margarine in place of butter while baking. I prefer using butter because of its rich taste but this being a recipe I am recommending for a Kenyan household, I'd advice that you feel free to replace butter with margarine in equal quantities.
You can get baking soda in any kiosk under the name Bicarbonate Soda. It's the same thing :-)
As for yoghurt, I usually use what I've got available in the house. Vanilla and strawberry flavour go very well with the banana bread. The whole purpose of the yoghurt is to ensure that the bread is as moist (not to moist) as possible. Too much yoghurt and you'll get banana bread with an ugali-like consistency (dense), while too little yoghurt will give you a dry (imagine a stale kiosk cupcake) bread.
If you over combine the dry ingredients (the flour etc) with the wet ingredients (butter/sugar etc), you'll also end up with a dense cake. This is because the over combining starts activating the gluten in the flour. Just combine enough. It's hard to share how much a combined batter should look like, but what I can tell you to look out for is dry flour; ensure that your batter doesn't have dry patches.
I use parchment paper to line my baking dishes (it makes cleanup easier) and you can find it in any supermarket. But in light of our current predicament in moving around, you could substitute it by applying a generous amount of butter/margerine/cooking fat into your baking tin (or sufuria), then pouring flour (all purpose flour) to cover the protective layer of fat to protect your cake/bread from sticking to the bottom of your baking tin/sufuria.
For those without an over, you can read all about oven alternatives from this blog post here.
For those without a mixer, you can use a whisk, though you'll take double the amount of time a mixer would take, BUT, it would be a good arms workout :-D!
As you've probably noticed by now, I am alternating using banana bread with banana cake. It's one and the same thing. For the purpose of this blog post, you can use the recipe and ice the cake and call it a banana cake or you can choose not to ice it and remain with your banana bread (that's as sweet as cake).
Share your baking experience and what you and your family are doing to make your days brighter in this season.
Bon Apetit and stay safe!