Monday, May 10, 2010

Breakfast Dessert

Me: So, can I please have the sautéed mushrooms with dukkah and goats cheese and a strong soy cappuccino.

Waitress: Yep

Sister 1: I’ll have the baked beans and a skinny latte please

Waitress: sure, no problem

Sister 2: And I’d also like the baked beans, but with no feta, plus a poached egg and a soy latte thanks

Waitress: Ok

Me: and then for breakfast-dessert we’ll have the gingerbread with poached plums and mascarpone

Waitress(eyebrows raised in judgemental disbelief): huh? Breakfast what now?

...and so it goes, most Saturday mornings.

I’ve never understood why breakfast is the only meal of the day when it’s unacceptable to have dessert. Want a brownie with your post-lunch espresso? Go for it! Scoop of ice-cream on the couch after dinner? By all means! Gingerbread and poached plums after poached eggs? You must be mad!

You see, I never want a full sweet breakfast – the thought of going out and ordering bircher muesli makes me shudder – I can soak my own oats in apple juice thank you very much! But I do like something sweet in the mornings, thus breakfast-dessert was born.

Now don’t get me wrong, it’s not like we order a slice of Bailey’s cheesecake each at 9am (urgh, who would ever eat Bailey’s cheesecake, but I digress!) we tend to share one sweet dish off the menu after our eggs. That sweet thing often tends to be banana cake, or bread – if you want to delude yourself that because something is shaped like a loaf it’s not full of butter and sugar.

Banana bread is fairly ubiquitous on breakfast menus in Melbourne – some incarnations with spiced honey labne, pistachios and poached rhubarb (for example) are more adventurous than others, but generally, all are delicious, and make a perfect sweet ending to breakfast.

Banana bread is also incredibly easy, and should by no means be something that is only eaten in cafes. Everyone should have a foolproof, quick and easy banana bread recipe at home for when they don’t quite get through that bunch of bananas before they get overly brown. In fact, to be honest, I usually buy more bananas than we could possibly eat in a week just so I can make banana bread (or choc-banana ice-cream.)

This recipe is from Stephanie Alexander’s bible The Cook’s Companion which I love, love, love! (Did I mention I love it?!) I have tinkered with the recipe a bit – largely health-ing it up a tad, using much less sugar, substituting some of the flour for wholemeal and reducing the butter a bit to make it a more versatile, every day cake. In my humble opinion, this is one of the best versions of banana bread out there - it’s not only the perfect breakfast-dessert, it’s also a delicious afternoon snack with a cup of tea, a breakfast in itself toasted and topped with a blob of greek yogurt or even a bit of a sneaky light lunch smeared with some ricotta and sprinkled with extra cinnamon – the possibilities are endless!

So head out, buy some bananas, twiddle your fingers while they go nice and brown and mushy, then make yourself some breakfast-dessert at home, and avoid the judgemental raised eyebrows of the waitress at a cafe near you.

Breakfast dessert banana bread

100g softened unsalted butter

1 cup of raw sugar (normal sugar would work fine too)

2 eggs

3 medium overripe bananas mashed

1/2tsp pure vanilla

1 cup plain flour

1 cup wholemeal flour (you could just as easily use 2 cups plain - but not 2 cups wholemeal)

1 tsp bicarb soda

1/2 tsp salt

1 tsp ground cinnamon

1/4 tsp ground ginger(you could also use allspice or a tiny pinch of nutmeg)

1/2 cup of plain yogurt or buttermilk (you can make buttermilk easily by putting 1Tbs lemon juice in 1 cup of milk and leaving for 10mins)

Preheat oven to 180c and butter and flour your chosen baking tin. I used a 25cm loaf tin.

Cream butter and sugar until fluffy and pale - if you're using raw sugar it won't get as pale as normal sugar.

Beat in banana, vanilla and eggs, one at a time.

Sift dry ingredients and add to mixture alternately with yogurt/buttermilk.

Stir until combined.

Pour into your tin you are using and bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until cake tests clean when skewered. My oven leaves a lot to be desired and it usually takes my cake at least an hour.

The top should be nice and brown and a bit cracked - you can always tent with foil if the top is getting too brown.

Cool in the tin for a few minutes before turning out onto a wire rack.

Cool completely before storing in an airtight container - alternatively, you can slice it up and freeze it for easy long term access!

P.S. I realise I owe you a photo, but it's been a month since I last posted and banana bread waits for no one. I promise next post will have at least 2 photos to make up for the omission


  1. 'Tis - and don't worry - more delicious recipes to follow, with greater frequency!

    Stay tuned :)

  2. I love it! I too am a serious fan of the lazy Sunday or Saturday morning marathon breakfast catch up session with friends or family! What is better than perfectly poached eggs followed by french toast with marscapone or crepes with fresh lemon curd.

    Can wait to join you some time - then between the 5 of us we could get 2 desert-breakfasts!

    I love your writing style! I can't wait until your next post!

  3. Mmmmm lemon curd!!! When you've got 5 minutes off work I'm up for an all desert breakfast ;)