Banana bread: a recipe for bake sale success

In less than two months, I will be running 26.2 miles through the glorious streets of London, along with about 37,000 other people. For me, the London Marathon is a once-in-a-lifetime event, so I’ve been really focused on my training so far this year.

As well as training through the winter months, getting up for a run before work twice a week as well as dedicating a day at the weekend to an increasingly lengthy stint, in order to confirm my place in the marathon, I have to raise a whopping £2,000. I’m raising money for the charity I work for – Christian Aid – an international development NGO working to end poverty in several developing countries around the world through long-term, sustainable projects.

So what’s the best way to raise money? Feed people cake.

Bake sale

On Wednesday, I put on a Cakes, Books and Clothes Sale at work to help my marathon fund. A wealth of books were donated by colleagues and family – so many that I could hardly fit my feet under my desk at the beginning of the week! And some of Christian Aid’s resident bakers took to their kitchens to provide sweet treats for the event.

Cakes and books sale

I made some banana bread, and lemon and poppyseed cupcakes for the sale, both of which sold out. The banana bread was the standout winner though, selling out in record time. So if you’re looking for a popular bake sale idea, then you should give this a go.

Banana bread

Banana bread

I’ve made this sweet bread a couple of times now. If, like me, you’re not a big fan of bananas, don’t be put off by cooking with the sweet and squidgy fruit! It makes this loaf lovely and moist, and really delicious; the taste of banana is quite subtle. It’s also pretty cheap and simple to make. Go on, give it a go.

Ingredients

  • 3 medium bananas
  • 100g butter, softened at room temperature
  • 200g caster sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 250g plain flour, sifted
  • 80ml semi-skimmed milk
  • 1 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp bicarbonate of soda

Preparation time: 15 minutes
Cooking time: An hour (possibly a little longer)
Slices into 10 generous portions

On this occasion I used an impropmtu lemon buttercream icing, leftover from the cupcakes I made the same night, which I made following this recipe, but I think a simple glaze made from icing sugar and water compliments this bake nicely (just buy some icing sugar and follow the instructions on the packet).

Method

1. Preheat the oven to gas mark 4. Grease and line a standard loaf tin.

2. Tip the butter and sugar into a large bowl and beat together with a wooden spoon.

3. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. When adding the second egg, add a tablespoon of the flour with it to prevent curdling.

4. Get a small to medium sized bowl. Peel a banana and slice into small pieces, then add to the bowl. Repeat this for all three bananas, then use a potato masher to mash the pieces up until fairly smooth.

5. Pour the milk and lemon juice into a jug. Add the liquid to the large bowl along with the vanilla extract and banana. Mix well.

6. Fold the remaining flour and the bicarbonate of soda into the mixture gradually until thoroughly combined.

7. Pour the mixture into the loaf tin and spread it out evenly with a spatula or a knife. Bake for one hour, take it out of the oven and poke a skewer or knife through the centre. If it comes out clean, it’s cooked. If not, pop it back in the oven for another 10 minutes or so. I’ve found that the knife never comes out entirely clean. As long as it’s mostly clean, I think you’re safe to say it’s done.

8. When the bread is ready, leave it to cool in the tin for 10 minutes and then turn out on to a wire rack or chopping board to cool.

9. Ice as you wish and decorate with sprinkles.

This recipe was inspired by The Clandestine Cake Club cookbook.

If you would like to sponsor me for the London Marathon, you can do so here.

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