I always have a great time with BFF. Today was no different, but what’s special is that today we… yes, WE, were baking!
But since BFF is a beginner and she wants something easy and doable, I gave her an easy, versatile recipe for a basic loaf base that can be made into several kinds. For today it was banana chocolate chip loaf and carrot walnut loaf.
The recipe for the base –
1 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup neutral cooking oil or melted butter
1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
First, preheat the oven to 325F. Grease, line and re-grease a loaf pan (1 8×4 or 2 mini loaf pans – we used the 8×4 for the carrot walnut loaf and the 2 smaller loaf pans for the banana choco chip loaf). Get everything ready – tools, bowls, ingredients…
We tackled 2 ways of mixing the batter – one bowl, dump style and creaming.
For the one bowl, dump style – Mix all the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Make a well in the center and add the liquid ingredients. Mix until just combined. The batter will look like cookie dough.
For the creaming method – Stir the dry ingredients (except sugar) together; set aside. Beat the oil/butter with the sugar for a couple of minutes. Add the egg and vanilla; mix well.
Then add your main components –
for banana choco chip cake, mix in 2 to 3 mashed, over-ripe bananas. Fold in 1/3 to 1/2 cup chocolate chips (we overdid it with the chips… it was a tad too much. 1/3 cup is reasonable. 1/2 cup is pushing it… but the 2/3 cup we used – well, it was abusive!!! *smile*)
for carrot walnut loaf, mix in 1 cup shredded carrot. Fold in 1/3 to 1/2 cup chopped (toasted) walnuts. (sorry I forgot to take a picture!!!)
Bake the larger loaf about 45 to 55 minutes or until a tester comes out clean. Rotate the pan midway; cover with foil if the top gets too browned. Bake the smaller loaves about 30 minutes or so.
Leave in the pan for about 10 to 15 minutes before unmolding and letting it cool on a rack completely.
(a bit of a lesson here… for some crazy reason I decided not to use greaseproof paper to line the pan – maybe because my smaller loaf pans were non-stick? bad idea. though! It is really easier and more convenient with greaseproof paper!!! our banana cake got a bit stuck and we had a crazy time trying to get it out.)
Anyway… for other variations –
butter loaf – use butter instead of oil. Add 1/2 cup milk. Increase vanilla to 1/2 tablespoon. Optional but recommended – add 1/2 teaspoon lemon or orange extract.
chocolate loaf – Add 6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa (sifted) to the dry ingredients, and 1/2 cup milk to the wet ingredients. Optional but delicious – add 1/3 cup chocolate chips or chopped chocolate.
cocomia loaf – use coconut oil, if desired (but optional), Add 1/2 cup coconut cream (coconut milk is ok too), and 1/2 cup desiccated coconut. Fold in 1/3 cup coarsely chopped macadamias (lightly toasted) or sprinkle the macadamias on top of the batter (press lightly).
We had a great time (of course we chatted all the while…) but what I am happy about is that BFF did everything… I only offered guidance!
My proud moment? I was going to show BFF how to fold the choco chips into the batter when B volunteered to demonstrate. B folded the chips into the batter perfectly!!! wooo hooooo! I am ssoooooo happy that not only was she paying attention when we baked together, she actually remembered to do it right! (super proud momma here!)
PS – she also made macaroons but more on that in the next post…