Alright, I have a confession to make. I bake a lot. Every week, I bake several somethings and it’s a habit I can’t seem to break. I think the best thing about baking is that when you whip up something amazing, you get to enjoy the praise that other people bestow upon you once they bite into it. When their eyes light up and they make loud orgasmic sounds or jump up and down excitedly, you know you’ve done your job.
One of the true benefits of constant baking is how efficient you become at it. Gather the ingredients, preheat the oven, mix this, cream that, melt this, beat that, combine this, fold that, bake. I become a whirlwind of productivity in the kitchen when I bake. And in between it all, I try to find perfect opportunities to take perfect pictures with my camera so I can visually let you into my world.
A few days ago, I was hit by a staggering wave of creativity both baking-wise and photography-wise. I’ve been dreaming up tasteful recipes, taking my camera for walks, using up all the ingredients in my pantry (damn, I’m out of brown sugar), looking for inspiration all over the place. Sometimes, you don’t have to look very hard. Looking at the simplest of things in a different light can turn the most boring ideas into spectacular masterpieces.
Brown sugar. Cream cheese. Banana bread. Three simple pleasures, when combined, form the most fragrant, moist and mouth-watering loaf of quickbread you could ever imagine. The resulting brown sugar-crusted cream cheese-infused banana loaf is, believe it or not, banana bread with a whole load of attitude. I’ve made plenty of loaves of banana bread over the years and this one takes the cake. The cream cheese is the star here. It transforms the cake into a soft, moist and almost creamy golden-brown pillow. Say goodbye to tough, dry, ultra bland banana bread and hello to heaven.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 cup almond meal
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup butter, melted
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Additional brown sugar, for sprinkling
- Preheat oven to 175°C and generously grease a 9″ x 4″ loaf pan.
- In a large bowl, combine flours, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Set aside.
- In a medium bowl, mix mashed bananas and softened cream cheese with a fork until thoroughly combined. The mixture will be lumpy, but that’s fine.
- Add melted butter and brown sugar to the banana mixture and mix well.
- Add eggs and vanilla and stir until all ingredients are well incorporated.
- Fold the wet mixture into the flour mixture, taking care not to over mix (leaving a few streaks of flour in the batter is fine).
- Pour batter into loaf pan and sprinkle the top with a generous amount of brown sugar for your crunchy top coat.
- Bake for about 45-50 minutes, or until a skewer inserted in the middle of the loaf comes out clean.
- Remove from oven and let stand in pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.