Fat-Free Banana, Date & Maple Syrup Loaf

banana date and maple syrup loaf cake high fibre low fat and low sugar recipe

A couple of weeks ago, I saw a bunch of blackening bananas in the supermarket, reduced to just 10p. Knowing I had a free evening ahead – I hastily picked them up and started dreaming of banana recipes! (Thanks to my Dad for ingraining in me an inability to walk past a reduced section without stopping – unfortunately this does also extend to clothes, shoes, bakeware…!)

Back home I quickly found some banana bread recipes, and thought the maple syrup I’d brought back from a recent trip to the US would be a perfect complement. A quick rummage in the cupboard and I ended up with dates as well – to come up with a super-healthy loaf, with no added sugar or fat. (Maple syrup is a natural product, so that’s good for you too, right?) Definitely a good couple of your five a day! You can add more or less spices depending on your taste buds.

Ingredients
300g ripe / blackening bananas
100g chopped dates
50 ml maple syrup
250g plain flour – use wholemeal if you are being extra healthy, although it will make for a heavier loaf
75ml milk
4 medium eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons bicarbonate of soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
Pinch salt
1 tablespoon water

Method
– Put the chopped dates, maple syrup and water into a saucepan, heat slowly until gently bubbling. Allow to bubble for a couple of minutes, remove from the heat, and stir well. You should fine the dates have started to break down into a paste – if not heat for another minute or two. Set aside to cool. tur
– Mash the bananas, they don’t need to be too smooth (small lumps are fine), as they will melt down during cooking
– In a separate bowl, mix the dry ingredients together. Add the date mixture, bananas, milk and eggs. Mix together well, but don’t over beat.
– Pour into a greased, lined loaf tin. It is quite a liquid mixture so will level out easily by itself.
– Bake at 150 degrees for 1 hour. In my fan oven this was the perfect time – an inserted skewer came out clean first time – but for other oven types it’ll take longer. Give it extra time in increments, testing with a skewer each time that oven beeps!
– Leave to cool in the tin, wait until you’re ready to serve before slicing

banana date and maple syrup fat free loaf cake recipe healthy baking batter mix ready to bake

banana date and maple syrup fat free low sugar cake recipe easy loaf tin bake

It’s best eaten quickly, or keep in the fridge in tupperware and work through it over a few days. It won’t be difficult!

Enjoy in big slices. It definitely doesn’t taste healthy, but makes a brilliant guilt free snack! If you’re after something a little naughtier, it works just as well with a good smother of butter, a la malt loaf.

sliced banana date and maple syrup loaf cake from home recipe

banana date and maple syrup loaf sliced with butter healthy treat recipe

 

 

 

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Banana and Salted Caramel Birthday Cupcakes

salted caramel and banana cupcakes swirl buttercream orange and yellow flower toppers recipe

Happy Birthday to me! Well, yesterday actually, but who’s counting 😉

Continuing the brilliant tradition of taking cakes into the office for my birthday, these bad boys are my offering for 2014. Having just eaten one with compliments from colleagues ringing in my ears, I cannot help but rave about them. They are so good. And, made with real bananas, good for you as well. Wins all round.

They also make use of the final product from my Sugar and Crumbs trial pack. As much as I enjoyed using the Chocolate Cherry Cocoa Powder and Coffee Icing Sugar, this Salted Caramel Icing Sugar was always going to be my favourite, and it certainly didn’t disappoint.

At £2.99 for a 250g bag from Sugar and Crumbs, it is a fair price (if you use the whole pack for one batch like I did), so one to use for special occasions, of which my birthday is definitely one!

sugar and crumbs salted caramel natural flavoured icing sugar review and recipe

Ingredients (Makes 8-10 cupcakes)
90g butter
90g light brown sugar
1 large or 2 small eggs
Approx 180g banana (2 small or 1 large bananas)
1 tablespoon milk
120g self raising flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

To ice
75g butter
1 tablespoon milk
250g Salted Caramel icing sugar

Method
– Beat together the butter and sugar
– Add the mashed banana, and eggs, plus 1 tablespoon of flour, and beat until well combined
– Sieve in the remainder of the flour and baking powder, and fold in
– Spoon into cupcake cases, about 2/3 full, bake at 180 degrees for 15-18 minutes. The tops should be firm to the touch and golden brown. The cake will still feel a bit squishy, due to the banana, if unsure, insert a small skewer or cocktail stick to check it’s completely cooked.
– Once cool, beat together the butter, milk and icing sugar until light and airy but thick in texture. Spoon or pipe onto the top of the cupcakes.

cupcake buttercream perfect swirl star nozzle salted caramel and banana

The cupcakes come out light and beautifully moist, the banana flavour comes through perfectly. And combined with the sweet tang of the salted caramel buttercream – perfection!

banana cupcake recipe deconstructed method inside moist and fluffy

To top my cupcakes I embraced the first throes of spring with some orange and yellow flower toppers. Cut out of coloured flower paste, I finished them with a contrasting centre before sticking onto the buttercream with a little white icing.

homemade icing toppers yellow and orange flower paste spring bakes

salted caramel and banana cupcake recipe review and method easy how to

The cupcakes disappeared in mere seconds at work, with a few more left for a birthday dinner tonight, I can’t imagine they’ll be around for long!

banana and salted caramel birthday cupcakes with spring orange and yellow flowers recipe

banan cupcake with salted caramel buttercream swirl frosting and flower past fondant orange and yello

Banana and Caramel Cupcakes

I have a confession to make. These photos have been on my computer for nearly a month, and I very nearly forgot what was in the cupcakes! They were made for the same housewarming as my New Home Biscuits so in all fairness I had such a busy time of baking and decorating that it’s no surprise things got a little forgotten.

So I don’t have the recipe to share I’m afraid – it would have been a pretty basic sponge recipe, with a mashed banana added, and they were beautifully light and spongy.

What I most want to share with you is this hallowed beauty:

Tinned caramel. Dulce de leche. This was my first time of using it and my gosh! I could have eaten the whole tin by the spoonful! It’s basically just condensed milk and sugar, but it tastes like a whole lot more than this.

I would have liked to have made my own – in fact I also brought a tin of sweetened condensed milk in the supermarket at the same time – but honestly did not have a three hour period in which to boil it myself. Thankfully Carnation have cottoned well onto the fact that we’re a lazy bunch, so you can but this pre-made caramel which is useable straight out the can.
I hollowed out the centre of the cupcakes with a knife, filled with gooey caramel, then topped with whipped buttercream, a generous drizzle more caramel, and some gold star sugar sprinkles.

And that’s all I really have to tell you about these cupcakes – but enjoy the photos! And think of that gooey, caramel-y, dulce de leche…. yum 🙂

NB – I packed them into cupcake boxes (I get mine from Hobbycraft in packs of 3 – can’t find them online though). They just about survived the journey without getting too melted or smushed. The good thing about the caramel drizzles is that you can’t really tell if they smudge – and even if they do they mix beautifully into the buttercream!