This recipe is as vegan as a cake can be that has honey in it. I don’t actually know any vegans who eat honey, but I’ve heard they exist. But don’t worry – honey could easily be swapped out in favour of agave nectar, or possibly even golden syrup, though I would be inclined to reduce the amount for that. There’s no dairy or egg to worry about, and in a pinch, you could probably just use sugar.
I must confess that this is not the recipe for the cake I currently have cooking in the oven. You see, I started making this based on a recipe from Less Meat, More Veg, but didn’t have enough bananas, so I replaced two bananas with 200g frozen raspberries, which I think will be lovely, but less unified in its flavour than the recipe below. The combination of coconut milk, sweet spices and banana makes me want to play with the Indian theme some more – not that I know anything about Indian cooking! Still, if I had mango puree or a really mild mango chutney I’d be tempted to swap out a banana for 100g of it, and if not, I’d be tempted to replace the chocolate with dried mango. Or pawpaw. Or maybe add some lime juice somewhere. Or go a bit Carribean with rum-soaked raisins, allspice, nutmeg and maybe a hint of chilli, just to be daring. Think of this, in fact, as a template for a lovely, nearly-vegan, banana bread with a tropical twist, and have a ball!
Your Shopping List3 overripe bananas (or 1 banana and 200g raspberries) 75g raw sugar 75g honey 240g light coconut milk 250g plain flour 1/2 tsp bicarb of soda 1/2 tsp cinnamon pinch of salt 1/2 tsp cardamom seeds, pounded in a mortar and pestle 1/2 tsp ginger (freshly grated, or dried and powdered) 100g dark, dark chocolate, chopped
Now what will you do with it?
Preheat the oven to 180°C, and line a loaf tin with paper.
Mash the banana. Add the sugar, honey and coconut milk, and stir together well.
Mix together all the dry ingredients except the chocolate and raspberries, if using. If you are a conscientious type, you could even sift them, but I wouldn’t go that far, myself. This is why I will never be a Country Women’s Association cake champion.
Anyway, stir it all together, fold in the chocolate and then the raspberries, pour into the tin and bake for about an hour – it might be a bit longer; do the skewer test and see what happens, ignoring the melted chocolate that will undoubtedly stick to your skewer. Cool in the tin for a five minutes before turning out onto a rack. That’s it, you’re done.
Basically, if you take out the chocolate you have 150g of random bits to play with – nuts, dried mango or pawpaw or pineapple, and so forth. Each banana can be swapped out for 100g of another fruit – raspberries, blueberries, mango puree, rum-soaked raisins, etc. Spices can be swapped in or out or omitted entirely. If you want to abandon the tropical theme, by all means use soy milk. Honey, as mentioned above, can be exchanged for any liquid sweetener – maple syrup would be nice, though not with coconut milk, I think. You can use a wholemeal flour or a gluten-free flour (in fact, I think the three-banana version of this recipe would be very forgiving of gluten-free flour, though it might be a little heavy – add another 1/4 tsp of bicarb if you’re worried). This recipe is a blank canvass – go and paint on it, and see what pictures you can make!