Another wet and miserable Sunday. After having spent the best part of Saturday outdoors watching rugby, I drew the short straw and spent a full day from 8am to 6pm warming my usual seat at the aquatic centre watching my daughter compete at a swim meet. I needed to pack a healthy and nutritious lunch and include an energy dense treat she could graze on through the day. This moist and delicious Sticky Date and Banana Loaf ticked all the boxes.
An added bonus? It served double duty as a lazy Sunday brunch option for the troops at home. Toasted with home-made plum jam and a generous smear of fresh ricotta.
Sticky Date and Banana Loaf
1 cup (155g) pitted dates, chopped
1/3 cup (85 ml) hot water
125g butter, softened and cubed
3/4 cup (175g) brown sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup (125ml) milk
1 3/4 cups (225g) plain flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon mixed spice
2 medium ripe bananas
PREHEAT oven to 180 C. Prepare a loaf tin by lining the bottom with baking paper and greasing the sides.
PLACE dates and hot water in a saucepan. Simmer on a very low heat until soft and pulpy, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and mash with a fork. Set aside to cool.
SIFT together the flour, mixed spice and baking powder. Set aside.
MASH the bananas in bowl and add cooled dates. Mix well to combine. Set aside.
IN A SEPARATE bowl cream together butter and sugar until light and fluffy.
Beat in the eggs one at a time (it’s better if they are room temperature to prevent curdling of the mixture).
ADD the mashed banana and date mixture. Stir well to combine. Then add the flour and milk in two batches. Beat until just combined being careful not to over mix.
POUR batter into the prepared loaf tin. Bake in centre of 180 C oven for an hour to an hour and a half until a skewer inserted into the middle of the cake comes out clean.