If all you have are black skinned over ripe bananas that have been lying around in the fruit bowl for ages, or a few carrots that have been in the bottom of the fridge for a while don’t worry, make cakes. These are two family favourite recipes that are easy to make and also are vegan. We love baking these cakes and sharing them with our guests after a day of adventure in Austria and Croatia. If you are new to baking sweet treats without eggs or dairy, these cakes should be your gateway to a whole world of plant based cooking.
Banana bread, in our opinion, is one of those very forgiving cakes that exact measures and precise ingredients don’t matter as much. This recipe is pretty easy to make and requires limited washing up, as it requires only two bowls. It's cheap to make and it’s a crowd pleaser. In vegan baking the banana bread is one of the simpler cakes to make as the banana acts as a raising agent, so eggs are not required to make this cake soft and fluffy.
In America the most searched recipe is the banana bread. North Americans claim to be the ones that invented this delicious and simple cake/ bread.
Bananas aren't native to most of North America and were only sparingly available in the U.S. throughout the 1800s. Ship captains had difficulty solving the puzzle of how to successfully transport a fruit that ripened and rotted so quickly.
Then, when refrigerators came into our life, it made bananas accessible all around America. However, in the 1930s, two events converged that elevated the banana from bit player to a super star cake!
First, the Great Depression, which began with the 1929 stock market crash and lasted throughout much of the 1930s, made every scrap of food precious. Households were unwilling to throw away anything, even a "rotten" banana.
Secondly, Royal and other baking powder/baking soda manufacturers began mass producing their products, making them widely available nationwide for the first time.
Thus the desire to use overripe bananas, paired with the ready availability of baking powder, inspired a horde of enterprising cookbook writers to come up with recipes for banana "quick bread" (as opposed to a yeast bread).
By the early 1930s, banana bread recipes, using mashed bananas as the main ingredient, rather than banana slices as a garnish, had stated appearing in cookbooks across America.
So here is our version of delicious and easy to make banana bread. We have added walnuts and chocolate chips but these are not necessary if you don't have them available.
2 ripe bananas
2 cups of all-purpose flour
2tbsp of brown sugar
1tsp of baking soda
1tsp of baking powder
1tbsp lemon juice
¼ cup of rapeseed oil
2 cups of non-dairy milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Pinch of salt
Handful of crushed walnuts, optional
Handful of dark chocolate chips, optional
For this recipe you will need two bowls. First, preheat your oven to 180 C degrees. In one of the bowls, mix all your dry ingredients, such as flour, baking soda, baking powder, sugar and salt. Mix it well.
In a different bowl mash 2 ripe bananas with a fork until it's a smooth mush. Mix in the non-dairy milk, oil, lemon juice and vanilla extract.
Then combine with your dry ingredients. Add the chocolate chips and walnuts and add any extra non-dairy milk if the dough is too dry.
Then grease a loaf tin or use the baking paper and bake it for around 40-50 minutes until the skewer comes out clean.
Cool it down and eat it with your cup of tea. Banana bread stays moist for around 4 days but we are sure it will be gone before that.
The other cake we believe is an essential to have in your baking repertoire is the carrot cake. Like the banana bread, it can use up all the carrots that are no longer crisp enough to enjoy in a salad. This is also an easy cake to make when you are craving a sweet treat.
3 grated carrots
225g brown sugar
250g spelt flour
100g chopped walnuts
200ml almond milk
Rind and juice of 1 orange
2 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of baking soda
1 teaspoon of baking powder
Pinch of salt
Mix all the dry ingredients together and then add oil, orange and carrots. Fold in the walnuts and the sultanas. Put into a well greased loaf tin and bake at 180 for about 45 minutes. Check by inserting a knife and checking it comes out dry. Easy!