Healthy – But Still Yummy – Banana Date Bread

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low sugar low fat banana cake

My kids don’t like banana cake; so, since this recipe is primarily for me (and hubby who will eat anything), I felt I could go as healthy as I dared.  I made this banana bread to keep me fuelled up with guilt-free goodness on Part 2 of my Hadrian’s Wall hike (tomorrow); and, the four black bananas in the fruit bowl were not going to last another hour – no waste in this household.

This cake has….

  1. Much less sugar than most cakes (ripe bananas and dates are very sweet).
  2. 50% gram flour (ground chick peas/aka garbanzo beans) which is much higher in fibre and protein than wheat flour – it is a heavy flour though hence my using half regular white wheat flour.  You could use another non-wheat flour though to make this gluten-free or try all gram flour.
  3. Omega Sprinkle for crunch and texture – this is a mix of sunflower, pumpkin, sesame and linseeds – all very good for you. It is available in Holland and Barrett here in the UK.
  4. No dairy and a small amount of a relatively good fat – sunflower oil although rapeseed oil would be great too.

Notes:

  1. For UK readers – a cup is 8 fluid ounces measured by volume.
  2. This made two small loaf cakes.  If you make one bigger loaf cake it will take longer to cook – you could try muffins too but I find they are generally not as moist.

Ingredients:

  •  1 cup gram flour.
  •  1 cup self-raising flour
  • 1/2 cup Omega Sprinkle (from Holland & Barrett)
  • 1/4 cup sugar (I used granulated)
  • 1 tsp cinnamon (more if you love it, I didn’t want to overpower the other tastes).
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 10 pitted dates
  • 4 very ripe bananas (3 mashed and one sliced for top of cake).
  • 1/4 cup sunflower oil
  • 2 eggs

Method:

  1. Chop the dates, soak them in a little boiling water for ten minutes then drain and mash.
  2. Sieve together the flours, baking powder, salt and cinnamon.
  3. Stir in the sugar and omega sprinkle.
  4. Mash 3 of the four bananas.
  5. Combine the eggs, oil, mashed bananas and mashed dates in a bowl.
  6. Add the wet ingredients to the dry and mix well.
  7. Pour batter into two paper-lined half-pound loaf tins.
  8. Slice the fourth banana and arrange on top of the loaves.
  9. Bake at 170C for 40 minutes.

healthy gram flour banana bread

The cake came out much better than expected actually, it rose beautifully and you couldn’t taste the gram flour, which is a bit bitter when raw.  It was moist but not soggy – and even better the next day; so, if you can resist it, let it cool and wrap in foil for at least a day.  The seeds were delicious but subtle and just the right texture in the mouth.  The best thing though was that you could taste everything and not just sugar like most cakes.  It would make the most perfect breakfast with a glass of milk.  I have just sat in my garden eating the two slices in the photo and drinking the milk and snapping some lovely photos of the garden while I was at it.

Now, I know I have been baking a lot lately, it’s because I am trying to loose my last few pounds and my winning strategy is to eat relatively small amounts of the most delicious and fabulous and healthy things – which basically means I have to make them myself.  So far it’s working.  My best diet tips are – write down your “menu” for the day every morning on nice paper in your best handwriting (including any healthy snacks) and stick to it. Only eat sitting at the table with your place set beautifully with your favourite plate/cups etc.  In other words make an occasion of your meals/food – eat slowly and enjoy – imagine you are in a very nice restaurant.

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