When I was little, my mum had a Winnie-the-Pooh cookbook, our first port of call for any baking attempt. It was full of the basics for an afternoon tea sort of affair, with recipes for breads, cakes, cookies and jam. The pages are dotted with snippets from AA Milne’s best loved poems and stories.
“‘Don’t forget the butter
for the royal slice of bread,’
‘You’d better tell
That many people nowadays
Like marmalade instead.’
–When We Were Very Young, AA Milne”
Of all the teatime treats contained in the pages of this little book, our absolute favourite was the Banana Bread. The recipe is ludicrously simple and produces the yummiest, fluffiest cake ever. That Banana Bread was, and is, so well loved that the book falls open on the recipe, the pages dotted with the remnants of sticky batter-covered fingers reaching to read the next ingredient.
It was always a huge treat whenever we were allowed to bake Banana Bread, made even more special by the fact that it calls for very overripe bananas, meaning that the window of opportunity is fairly small.
Butter and sugar is creamed together, eggs are cracked in, then two mashed bananas are added. For six-year-old me, it was always a case of trying to stick my finger in the butter/sugar combo to sneak a taste before the banana was added, because that always reminded me of baby food and kind of freaked me out. Of course, this also had to be done without Mum seeing. Tricky.
Even now, at age twenty-one, I am excited to bake and eat some Winnie banana bread! Normally, we would bake this in a loaf tin, playing up to its misnomer ‘bread,’ but I opted for muffins this time. The choice is entirely yours, but of course, muffins will cook a whole lot quicker!
the recipe uses cups, as it’s an American book, so I’ve included the metric measurements as well
1/2 cup/ 115g butter (1 stick)
1 cup/ 200g sugar
2 very ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups/ 250g plain flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons lemon juice
1/2 cup/ 120ml milk
Cream together the butter and sugar, then add eggs and bananas.
In a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda and salt.
Add the lemon juice to milk. Add the flour mixture and the milk mixture to the banana mixture alternately, ending with the flour mixture.
Pour into a greased and lined loaf tin or muffin cases and bake at 180 degrees, until the top has a slightly crunchy ‘crust’ and the inside is soft and moist. A loaf will take 50 minutes to an hour, while muffins will take 20-30 minutes. Eat warm. Cup of tea recommended.