Let’s put it this way – “Bahlúa Bread” is far snappier than what I might otherwise have long-windedly referred to as: “Banana Bread With Rum And Walnuts But This Time Without The Rum And Walnuts And With Kahlúa And Macadamias Instead“. Bit of a mouthful. A tasty mouthful, to be sure, but I’m betting that you’d prefer a mouthful of cake, and not quite such a mouthful of words!
So, Bahlúa Bread, then. A creation which starts with a little bit of neglect. This can be a good thing, at least where bananas are concerned. The specimens pictured above had reached that stage of bananahood where it’s my personal preference not to consume them au naturel anymore, but where they become perfect candidates for banana bread. Now, there are any number of banana bread recipes out there. In recent weeks alone, several tasty looking versions have come my way. There was Kickpleat’s version with chocolate chips and ginger, Gastroanthropologist’s go-to banana
bread cake with oats, coconut and walnuts and BellyRumble’s mini banana breads with poppy seeds and lemon drizzle. And then there’s the recipe that I have always ended up going to in these ripe banana situations. A wonderfully moist cake involving dark rum and walnuts and which comes from Nigella Lawson’s How To Be A Domestic Goddess book and, prior to that, from Jim Fobel’s Old-Fashioned Baking Book: Recipes from an American Childhood.
This time, though, while I may have been in possession of the requisite ripe bananas, I had nothing like a sufficient quantity of dark rum. While surveying the alternatives, my gaze came to rest on something which had also been suffering from some neglect, namely a bottle of Kahlúa. According to the description on the label, this dark, sticky coffee liqueur from Mexico boasted “delicate notes of rum, vanilla and caramel wrapped in a roasted coffee flavour”. That, I thought, will do nicely. The minute I started heating the fruit and kahlúa mixture for the recipe, I was left with the distinct feeling that banana breads in this house might just be made with kahlúa from now on…
Bahlúa Bread: Banana Bread with Kahlúa
So here it is. Sticky and moist. Fruity and nutty – though, if you’re likely to be feeding this to anyone with a nut allergy, steer clear of the nut additions, obviously. Even better would be to go and read a very sobering post written by Michael at Herbivoracious (and which you can read here) on understanding potentially deadly food allergies, such as those that some people have to nuts. It’s recommended reading.
- 175g plain flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 0.5 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 0.5 tsp salt
- 150g sugar (I used unrefined demerara)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- around 4 small, very ripe bananas (approx 300g weighed without the skin) – mashed
- 75ml kahlúa (or dark rum or bourbon)
- 100g sultanas
- 125g unsalted butter, melted
- 60g macadamias (or walnuts), chopped
You’ll also need:
- A 2 pint loaf tin (measuring approx. 23cm x 13cm x 7cm, greased and floured or lined with a paper insert)
- Put the sultanas and kahlúa, rum or bourbon in a smallish saucepan and bring to the boil. Then remove from the heat, cover and leave for an hour or so or until the sultanas have absorbed most of the liquid (and you’ve had a chance to enjoy the aroma!)
- Preheat your oven to 170C.
- Put the flour, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and salt in a medium bowl and combine well, using your hands or a wooden spoon.
- In a large bowl, mix the melted butter and sugar and beat until blended.
- Beat the eggs into the butter and sugar mixture one at a time, then beat in the mashed bananas.
- Stir in the chopped nuts, soaked sultanas and vanilla extract using a wooden spoon.
- Now add in the flour mixture, about 1/3 at a time, stirring well after each addition.
- Scrape the mixture into a loaf tin and bake in the middle of the oven for 1 to 1 and 1/4 hours. When it’s ready, an inserted toothpick or fine skewer should come out fairly clean.
- Leave in the tin on a wire rack to cool.
- As I was eating this, and inspired by Kickpleat’s description of her banana bread with ginger, I thought perhaps that a ginger dimension could work in this too, though I have yet to test that theory…