Keep it simple with award-winning chef Mark Best’s buttery banana bread
• 250g unsalted butter, cut into 1 cm cubes and softened
• 335g raw sugar
• 4 eggs, at room temperature
• 1 cinnamon stick
• 1 star anise
• 2 cloves
• 3 cardamom pods
• 1/2 teaspoon white peppercorns
• 300g plain flour
• 3 teaspoons baking powder
• 6 ripe bananas
1 Preheat the oven to 160°C. Grease a 21×6×1 cm loaf tin with butter and neatly line it with baking paper.
2 In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream the butter and sugar on high speed.
3 Add the eggs, one at a time, scraping down the side of the bowl after each addition.
4 In an electric spice grinder, or using a mortar and pestle, process the spices to a fine powder.
5 Sift the spices into a bowl with the flour and baking powder.
6 Peel and coarsely chop the bananas and toss them through the spiced flour mixture to coat.
7 Gently fold the flour and banana into the creamed butter and sugar until fully incorporated.
8 Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and tap once firmly on a work surface to remove any air pockets. Bake for 45–50 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the centre reads 85°C.
9 Allow to cool in the tin for 5 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
10 Serve in slices with lashings of home-made or salted butter, if desired.
Recipe courtesy of Mark Best, extracted from Best Kitchen Basics © Hardie Grant.