Friday 20 January 2012

2 breads and a healthy cake

So I'm too lazy to check whether I've posted the bread recipes earlier, but I'm almost certain I haven't so here goes. 
I've been getting back to baking. I don't bake for months then suddenly the mania hits and I bake almost everyday and we end up distributing my efforts all over the complex. Not that people are dying to eat my creations (we have far better bakers and cooks around!) but hey, who says no to a piece of free cake? :)
Banana Bread
Banana bread is something that I make well. I like it because it's moist and makes a lovely snack for school. Plus its healthy! I got the recipe from a friend who asked me to replace some of the plain flour with wheat flour, and also to use oil+dahi instead of the unsalted butter that I was using. The 2 keys to getting this bread just right are:
a) To use over-ripe bananas, ones where the skin is turning black and brown. If I don't get such bananas, I buy the just-ripe ones, hide them and make sure no one eats them for several days until they ripen :)
b) To NOT over-mix the batter. It needs to be a bit lumpy and not too well-mixed. Just make sure the dry ingredients are moistened and the oven will do the rest.
2 large or 3 medium sized bananas (over-ripe)
1 large egg (or 2 small ones)
1 cup maida
1/2 cup atta
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla essence
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup thick yogurt or dahi
1/4 cup oil (I use sunflower or olive and haven't found any difference between the two)
Mash bananas in the mixer and mix well with yogurt and baking soda. Let the mixture rest for a while unti lyou do the rest of the prep. In another boil, whisk the eggs, vanilla essence, sugar and oil. In another bowl, mix with a wooden spoon all the dry ingredients (atta, maida, baking powder and salt).
Now mix the banana mixture and the egg mixture. Make a well in the flour mixture and pour the banana/egg mixture inside it slowly, in 2 instalments or 3. Here, you must fold the wet mixture into the dry and not just mix. Look at this link to see how to fold. Too much folding will result in a tough texture so do just enough to moisten the dry flour mixture. It's ok if the batter looks a little lumpy.
Bake at 180 degree C for 45-50 minutes. My LG microwave takes 40-45 minutes. I still like to occasionally bake the banana walnut bread from here. Not as healthy, but ooh so yummy!

Dried Fruit and Nut loaf
For this loaf, I blindly follow this recipe. However the amount of nuts and dried fruits they suggest is way too much. If I used the 6 cups that they suggested, not a soul in my family (myself included) would touch this bread. I use just 1 cup combined raisins, dates, almonds and walnuts. Remember to adjust the sugar levels if you have a lot of dates and raisins as they are so sweet in themselves. This recipe calls for brown sugar but I've often used the same amount of white powdered sugar with no appreciable difference. I haven't tinkered with the recipe to find a healthier version so if someone does have any tips, I'd be grateful if you passed it on :)

Healthy whole-wheat chocolate cake
This is a good one, suggested by a friend/neighbour. I baked this just an hour ago and my friend has substituted atta, oil and jaggery instead of maida, butter and sugar!! I was out of jaggery today and made it with sugar and will update this recipe once I am able to bake it with jaggery. 
1 cup atta
3/4 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup oil (sunflower was what I used today)
1 tsp vanilla essence
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp baking soda
1/4 tsp salt
2 large eggs
Mix the atta, sugar, baking powder, soda and salt. In another bowl, whisk the eggs and mix with vanilla extract and oil. Fold the wet ingredients into the dry and bake at 180 deg C for about 15 minutes. The cake mix was rather dry and I had to pat it down with my bare hands to fit it into my cake pan.It wasn't as soft as I'd like but it tasted good. I have a feeling I overbaked and that 10 minutes would have been enough, with an  additional 5 min cooling-off period in the pan. One lives and learns :)

Do let me know if you bake these, and how they turned out!


  1. Hey I love the banana bread too! I recently tried a slight variation - added a cup of old-styled oats to your recipe and the taste and texture of the bread was super awesome - plus the added health advantage.

    For the dried fruit and ut loaf, you could also put in dried/candied fruits available in the market - apricots, mangoes etc - they give a taste boost and add zero fat to the bread!

    The whole wheat chocolate cake looks to good to be true - need to try this one out!

    As for the oils - you know what I use only olive/canola oil for pretty much everything baking and cooking - except for the rare use of ghee/butter once in a blue moom - i am almost superstitious since mom had her angioplasty and the doctors asked her to stick to only these oils!

  2. By old-styled oats, do u mean the steel-rolled oats?
    The dried candied fruit sound great except that my kids will painstakingly pull out each and every one before eating the bread :( MOst times, I end up powdering the walnuts, almonds etc before adding them to the mix so that atleast they get ingested :)
    I know butter/ghee is bad - have to stop using them for myself tho I will continue to use them for my kids. Ads has stipulated a reasonable amount of healthy fat in his daily diet after learning about food groups in school :)
    Let me know how the choc cake came out. My neighbour's was nice and moist-er than mine. I think I overbaked.

  3. I mean the regular oats - not teh instant ones!

    actually ghee and butter is way healthier and better than sunflower/vegetable oil - they say - god alone knows what really happens in the complicated body!

  4. Heyyy I was looking forward to these, and added bonus of whole wheat chocolate cake too :). Thanks - they sound great. Will have to postpone to trying until next week as I'm in Chennai over the long weekend, but will pounce on them as soon as i'm back - esp. 1st and 3rd, no hope of anyone eating anything with nuts in our house :(.
    Choc cake is missing the quantity of chocolate I think.

    1. Wow! All of these sound so yummy. :)

      I don't do much baking at home, except for the occasional pizza or pasta. I should try out some cakes/bread sometime.

    2. Aparna: let me know how it turns out. The 3tbsp of cocoa was fine for us. Maybe more would be required if u like ur cakes to be more chocolate-y. MY friend also said to add 1 cup of curd OR 1/2 cup curd+1/2 cup milk. She apparently gets some powdered jaggery in a few stores.

    3. No no meant that the amount of cocoa was not mentioned in the recipe, not that it wasn't enough :)

  5. And forgot to ask - LG microwave model please? Do you bake everything in it, as in you don't have an OTG?
    I'm tired of the uneven results from my vague-branded OTG, want to change microwave and OTG for a single piece. Was lusting after the Samsung Quick Oven, but not sure if it's worth it. Have been hearing good things about LG :).


I would love to hear your thoughts :)