We sometimes turn our cupcake flavours into loaves, and this has been one of our most successful. It’s hard to resist the combination of caramel and banana in any form. A homemade loaf cake always makes a nice teatime treat and it’s also good as a picnic snack or a thank-you gift when you are invited for a meal.
- 190g plain flour
- 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 95g unsalted butter, softened
- 190g golden caster sugar
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 ripe bananas, mashed
- For the salted caramel sauce:
- 55g granulated sugar
- 1 1/2 tbsp water
- 62.5ml double cream
- 1/2 tsp fleur de sel
- For the salted caramel buttercream
- 75g unsalted butter, softened
- 75g salted caramel sauce
- 150g icing sugar
- banana chips. to decorate
Preheat the oven to 180°C /160°C (fan) /350°F /gas mark 4. Lightly grease a 900g loaf tin and line with parchment paper or a loaf tin liner.
Start by making the salted caramel sauce. Pour the sugar amd water into a clean, medium pan over a medium heat. Do not stir the mixture as this will cause the sugar syrup to crystallise. Swirl the pan occassionally and gently until all the sugar has dissolved.
Turn up the heat to high amd let the syrup boil until it turns a lovely golden colour.
While the sugar syrup is boiling, pour the cream into a seperate pan over a medium heat amd add the fleur de sel. Heat until it starts 'smoking' (about 80°C, if using a sugar thermometer). Turn the heat down to medium-low and stir occassionally to prevent a skin from forming on top of the cream. Do not let it boil.
Once the sugar syrup is ready, remove it from the heat and immediately add a small portion of the hot cream. Stir quickly with a wodden spoon to prevent it from sticking to the bottom of the pan. Be careful when adding the cream, as it will bubble up and rise very quickly, letting off a lot of hot steam, and may splutter.
Gradually add the remainder of the cream in small amounts. Keep stirring while the cream is being added.
Pour the sauce into a hearproof bowl and set it aside to cool.
While the sauce is cooling, make the cake. Combine the flour and baking powder in a bowl and set aside.
In a separate bowl, cream the butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, using an electric hand mixer. Add the eggs one at a time, making sure the first one is well incorporated before adding the second. Add the vanilla extract with the second egg. Add the mashed bananas and mix until they are well incorporated (the riper the banana the better the end result).
Finally, add the flour mixture and beat until well incorporated and you have a smooth batter.
Pour the batter into the lined loaf tin and bake for 45–60 minutes, or until the loaf is golden brown and an inserted skewer comes out clean. Allow the loaf to cool in its tin before turning it out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
While the loaf is cooling, make the salted caramel icing. In a bowl, beat the butter and caramel sauce together until smooth, using an electric hand mixer. Add the icing sugar and beat on a low speed until fully incorporated, then beat for a further 30–60 seconds on a medium speed until the mixture is smooth and lump-free.
Ice the top of the cooled loaf with the salted caramel buttercream icing and decorate with a line of dried banana chips along the centre.
Keep any uneaten loaf in an airtight container at room temperature for 3–4 days.