I made this classic beauty on Tuesday to celebrate the final of The Great British Bake off (I already miss it and it's not 8pm on Tuesday yet!). Whilst I'm on topic, what did everyone think of the final? I was so elated with the outcome and I think all three gentlemen did amazingly well. As James said, it didn't feel as though there were any losers or runners up.
This is essentially Mary Berry's banana loaf recipe (which can be found in her Baking Bible), but I made a few tweaks to be more tailored to my taste buds. I have made the loaf around three times, sticking strictly to Mary's instructions – I can't argue with her now can I? She is a legend and just such a lovely lady. She would be my number one dinner party guest or afternoon tea partner – I think she'd be fascinating.
I added one more banana than the recipe states and around 100g of dates as I believed they could evoke a lovely, toffee like edge in the cake. It tasted as I'd hoped and gave it a different texture, richness and depth. I was ridiculously pleased that the dates baked consistently throughout the cake and didn't sink. I embraced the classic technique of rolling them in flour first and it must really work. This method was truly a baking myth for me, as it had never worked in the past with some fruits, but worked beautifully in this instance.
I added a honey glaze and walnuts to the top of the loaf, as although the cake isn't dry in any way, I simply wanted more decadence. Additionally, I know that dates and walnuts work in harmony just like mascara enhances our eyelashes for example.
I made the glaze with around 4-5 tablespoons of Acacia honey and 60g of butter. All you have to do is melt the two together and it soon becomes thick and cloudy. Once you visibly see this sticky matter changing like this, take it off the heat and leave it set for about two minutes and drizzle accordingly. Add as many walnuts as you like, I think the nuttier the better!
I could have easily devoured this all by myself, but I took most of it to work to share with my friends. It received excellent reviews and certainly perked them all up at 3pm!