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Banana buckwheat bread {gluten free}

1 May 2017

My friend Ronnie makes the best banana bread that I have ever tasted. Ron is modest and maintains that the recipe isn't hers - from memory, it came from a friend of her aunties, and has been tweaked by every interlinking baker whose hands it has passed through. Irregardless of its origin, here we are a decade later and I'm yet to taste anything that even comes close.

Ronnie's winning ingredient is the sweet nuggets of white chocolate that run through the batter. Now 
I know what you're thinking. White chocolate does not have a good name in the food world. It uses the oils, rather than the cocoa itself, to create a sweet substance that is not really chocolate at all. But caramelised - as occurs during the cooking process of this recipe - it is pure decadence. I challenge even the purest of purists to say that they don't like this recipe.

At the risk of letting you down after such a lengthy introduction - this in not Ronnie's original recipe. Instead, I give you an evolution, and a gluten free offspring at that. To me, one of the things that is so uniquely special about baking is the way recipes evolve and grow, taking from each of the hundreds and thousands of drafts that came before them.

My version uses buckwheat flour in place of regular wheat, which brings a delicious nuttiness to the cake. Buckwheat is divisive and, like Marmite, seems to split the crowd into lovers and haters. I urge you to try it before deciding you are among the later - I love it.
125g unsalted butter
4 bananas
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla extract
125g buckwheat flour
125g molasses sugar
2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1/2 tsp fine sea salt
100g white chocolate 

Heat the oven to 170°C / 150°C fan, and line a 1kg loaf tin with baking paper. 

Melt the butter over a gentle heat, then set aside to cool. Mash three of the bananas, and whisk together with the eggs, vanilla extract and melted butter. 

In a separate bowl, whisk together the buckwheat flour, molasses sugar, baking powder, bicarbonate of soda and sea salt. Add the dry ingredients to the wet and mix until just combined. Break the caramelised white chocolate into pieces, then stir through the batter. 

Pour the mixture into the prepared loaf tin. Slice the remaining banana lengthways, then lay on top of the cake. Bake in the centre of the oven for 30-40 minutes, until the cake is baked and a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean.

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