Once I shifted to south India after my wedding, the biggest revelation to me was the varieties of banana available here and the obsession with the fruit. I never knew that it came in so many shapes, sizes and colors. And the fact that some varieties were preferred more than others actually left me flummoxed! To me, a banana had always been just a banana. But not anymore! In last seven years I can tell a Rasthali from a Nendran and have many times left a shop without buying if the shop didn’t have the stock of the one of my liking. So it was a natural progression that I started baking with bananas more frequently. In other words, banana and I moved from being “just friends” to a more meaningful “relationship”.
However, it will be blasphemous if you do not say “coconut” in the same breath as “banana” if you are living in southern India. In my maternal home coconut does not enjoy the same status that banana does. There latter is eaten more unceremoniously than the former. But here, like banana, coconut is an integral part of everyday life. It is liberally used in almost every food preparation, be it sweet or savory, vegetarian or non-vegetarian, ceremonial or casual. Personally, I like the delicate flavor and the mild sweetness of the raw coconut. It also happens to be my go-to flavor for desserts. So my friends, how this banana coconut loaf came to be does not need any further write-up.
This loaf has a good amount of multi grain flour and fruits, but with my own standards for something to qualify as healthy, this one doesn’t get there. Nevertheless, its a moist, very flavorful and delicious loaf and to call it a tea cake is an understatement unless you are feeling fancy. Easy on steps and requiring very staple ingredients from pantry, you do not really have to plan big to bake this loaf. Just a few leftover bananas and an extra coconut will do.
Coconut banana loaf
Makes one 9X5X4 inches loaf
• 1 cup All purpose flour
• 3/4 cup multi grain flour
• 1 ½ tsp baking powder
• 3/4th cup sugar
• 113 grams unsalted butter, melted and cooled
• 2 large eggs
• 1 cup mashed bananas
• 1 tsp vanilla extract
• ½ cup shredded coconut
• Chopped nuts of your choice
For the loaf:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter a 9X5-inch-loaf pan.
2. In a bowl, whisk together flours, salt and baking powder
3. In another bowl, large enough to hold the batter mix the melted butter and sugar until combined. Add in eggs, mashed banana and vanilla extract.
4. Add the flour mix to the butter mix and whisk till just combined. Add in shredded coconut and nuts if using.
5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for about 50-60 minutes. When done, the top would be golden brown and the tester should come out clean, but take care not to over-bake the loaf.
6. Store in an air-tight container for upto two day at room temperature or refrigerate for upto 3-4 days.