From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This simple recipe yields four nice loaf cakes that make great token gifts for the Christmas holiday. They are chock full of nuts, and if you use really ripe bananas - the brown, nasty kind - the cakes will have great flavor. The loaves can be frozen, and they will keep at room temperature for several days if you wrap them well. They, obviously, can be prepared well ahead of serving. The last time I made loaf cakes, I was asked how they differ from quick breads. In my world, cakes are lighter and sweeter than quick breads, and I tend to frost or dust them with powdered sugar. There is, however, more to it than that. I suspect the difference lies more in how the two are made. Quick breads are mixed together like muffins, where wet and dry ingredients are combined and stirred as little as possible. True cakes are lighter in texture, and the ratio of flour, fat, sugar is different than what's used to make a bread. That alters the crumb and texture of the final product. This recipe produces moist dense loaves, but for best results I suggest you 8-inch pans for baking. I do hope you give the recipe a try. Here is how this version of banana bread is made.
Banana-Nut Loaf With Streusel Topping...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of The Los Angles Times
1/4 cup brown sugar, packed
2 tablespoons flour
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
2 cups walnuts or pecans
3/4 cup finely ground walnuts or pecans
2 cups sugar
2-1/2 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut in pieces
2 cups (about 5 large) mashed bananas
1/2 cup milk
1) To make topping: Stir together brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and butter just until crumbly; do not overmix. Stir in chopped nuts. Cover and set aside.
2) Toast nuts in a dry skillet over medium heat until lightly browned, 6 to 8 minutes. Chop them and set aside.
3) Heat oven to 350 degrees. Grease 4 (8-inch) disposable aluminum loaf pans; sprinkle them with ground nuts and set them aside.
4) In a large mixing bowl, blend sugar, flour, baking soda and salt. Add butter and blend until crumbly. With a rubber spatula, add chopped walnuts and mix well.
5) Beat together bananas, eggs and milk. Pour banana mixture into flour mixture all at once. Stir gently just until all dry ingredients are moistened; do not overstir. Spoon batter into loaf pans. Sprinkle each loaf with Streusel Topping.
6) Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean and the loaves come away from the sides of the pans, 45 minutes. Yield: 4 loaves.
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