Banana Bread – The camera never lies. Or does it?

Banana BreadThere is an old saying that predates the digital era; ‘the camera never lies.’ Any of you who have even a passing knowledge of Adobe Photoshop (it’s not a Mexican film processor btw) will know that time has passed that particular adage by. The camera is an almost compulsive teller of half-truths and worse. I relay this to you because I had a small amount of trouble when I decided to use up some festering fruit and bake a Banana and Walnut Bread. It was my first go and as regular readers know, not everything I try works out perfectly on the first attempt. 

Now, rather than cause you all some shock by telling you if and how it all went wrong, I will give you options. Pick which version of events you want to believe and, at the end, take my simple truth test.

First the ingredients:

  • 285 grammes of self-raising flour
  • 225 grammes of caster sugar
  • 110 grammes of butter
  • 1 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 100 ml of milk with a teaspoon of lemon juice squeezed in
  • a pinch or two of salt
  • 1/2 a teaspoon of vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 festering bananas

Truth A: The choice of self-raising flour was a good idea as this bread can be quite heavy. It helped it raise and made for a light, airy consistency.

Truth B: Using self-raising flour and baking powder was a mistake. It blew up like a barrage balloon and made a huge mess in the oven.

The perfect set of ingredients for perfect Banana Bread?

The perfect set of ingredients for perfect Banana Bread? Your call…

First thing to do is to add the butter to the sugar and beat it until it becomes fluffy and a light colour.

At about the half way stage in the beating. Good for the guns, if nothing else.

At about the half way stage in the beating. Good for the guns, if nothing else.

Truth A: This is quite easily done by hand. The exercise is good for you too.  

Truth B: This is best done with an electric mixer as your arms will probably fall off before you achieve the desired consistency.

Next add the eggs and vanilla extract.

There is nothing controversial about a decent pouring shot, is there?

There is nothing controversial or debatable about a decent pouring shot, is there?

Beat it some more and you will get a nice gloopy consistency.

Pour in the milk and mix some more.

Pour in the milk and mix some more.

Mash the bananas and add them to the mixture.

It was making this bread or feeling guilty for throwing out the fruit....

It was making this bread or feeling guilty for throwing out the fruit….

Sieve the flour, salt and baking powder into a separate bowl. Then fold it into the mixture. This requires some more mixing. Roughly crush the walnuts and add them to the mixture, holding the best of them back for topping.

The mixture is good enough to eat uncooked. Avoid dipping the fingers in to 'taste'.

The mixture is good enough to eat uncooked. Avoid dipping the fingers in to ‘taste’.

The bread looked great before it went into the oven.

Truth A: I used the picture of the bread before it went in at the top of the post because it is a lovely photo in its own right.

Truth B: I used it because of the mess that came out of the oven could not be used to attract you into this diatribe.

The bread got baked for an hour and a quarter at 180ºC. When I took it out, it looked like this (no hiding this particular truth).

A small amount of overspill has to be expected. Doesn't it?

A small amount of overspill has to be expected. Doesn’t it?

Allow the bread to cool in the tin for 20 minutes. Then turn it out onto a cooling rack.

Truth A: Despite the bread looking a little odd, it popped out of the baking tin with ease. Baking really is very simple.

Truth B: Despite greasing the tin with more butter than a long distance swimmer would use to cross the English Channel, the bread got badly stuck and I had to prise, hack and cut it out of the tin.

Let the bread cool down for another hour before slicing it and serving it with tea and a generous layer of butter.

It looks pretty delicious, doesn't it? Is the camera telling the whole truth?

It looks pretty delicious, doesn’t it? Is the camera telling the whole truth?

Truth A: The beautiful banana bread held together wonderfully and I even nibbled a bit from the corner of this slice before photographing it. 

Truth B: Having had to slice the top off the bread to get it out of the tin, I had to piece it together and use the butter to hide the Frankenstein like scars.

Now, the moment of truth for you. Is it Truth A or Truth B? I know what it should be. Whichever truth you decide will suit you, the banana bread was delicious. It really was moist and very tasty. And that is the truth, honestly…

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Latest comments
  • I’m going to go with scenario B. And, also, perhaps that was too much batter for the bread pan of choice. But the important thing, Conor, unless this is meant for a gift, is the taste and it sounds like that earns you an A.

    • You are very kind indeed Stacy. I know the real truth…

  • Probably B, although I reckon you did take a cheeky nibble from the corner of that slice before photographing it.

    • Trust me, that was no cheeky nibble. I just could not get a piece to fit that would properly hide my shame.

  • love the honesty in this 🙂 by the way, any recommended eateries for a traveler visiting dublin?

    • Thanks for that. There are, thankfully, lots of decent places to eat in Dublin. Give me an idea of what type of food and what sort of place you have in mind and I will throw a few ideas your way.
      Thanks for dropping by,

  • this sounds wonderful and i love the options for how it all went down )

  • Ah yes…Truth B…but it looks like it cooked through (unlike my pound cakes). We’ll be doing some banana bread this week…maybe I’ll use some of your adaptations. You can always peel and freeze the fruit OR the cooked bread for future use which is a boon to a working mom….What frosting/icing did you use?

    • Why is everybody picking B? There was no frosting option as I really did have to cut the top off to get it out of the tin. That is if truth B really was how it worked out.

  • Been there, done that! Still looks good though. And your post gave me a laugh when I badly needed one, so thanks again 🙂

    • Happy to oblige when I can. Pity it has to be at my expense (if you go for truth B).

  • Hmmm…must be truth C because you forgot to add the red chiles. 😉 Even without the chiles, it really looks good and I’m sure was very tasty. 🙂
    Baby Lady loves to make banana bread and she makes a pretty good banana bread at that. She waits until the bananas are almost black because they are super sweet by that time and require almost no effort to mash. This last time she used brown sugar which resulted in a darker, slightly sweeter bread.

    • LOL you guys are incorrigeble chileheads 😉

    • The chilis would be an ‘interesting’ addition indeed. Interesting and perhaps not in a good way. But then again, anything that might improve this bread would be worth a go.

  • It still looks an a great cake, served with some hot custard an I’d be in heaven. I thought you over filled the tin so that all the nice overflow can be eaten as chefs perks!

    • Now hot custard is the best suggestion I have seen here. Thanks for that. I will give it a go next time I let the fruit fester.

  • That bread looks perfect to me, Conor. The fact that you had a little problem getting it out of the pan only means that it cannot be gifted. You and your poor family will have no choice but to eat all of it. Be brave! 🙂

    • Brave we were John. We ate every slice, lump and crumb that was that loaf. Very tasty if a little unorthodox.

  • A new twist on an old classic. Baking is easy but baking with such character and bravado is another thing entirely. Well done, mitt master!!

    • Thanks SB. I like the concept of baking with character and bravado. If that’s what I can call it!

  • Very entertained….at your expense! 🙂

    • Very much so but I can sleep at night knowing that I have not deceived you. Not much anyway.

  • This post was hilarious. That sounds like most of my baking experiments. I’ve found it you don’t follow the recipe like a scientist, you end up with scenario B every time. Your honestly is refreshing! I happen to love banana bread even if it’s banana crumble. What’s texture if all the flavor is there?!

    • You are making me feel good about myself. If I had some exact measuring spoons, i might help too. In my book a teaspoon is a spoon that I would otherwise use to stir my tea. Not so, or so they tell me.

  • I have to agree with John that if the taste and texture are fine, it’s not a big deal. Great post as usual, Conor. At least you don’t mess up the photos beyond the possibility to photoshop them, which happens to me all the time.

    • Thanks Stefan. Too kind of you. You can imagine my frustration as the top began to break off while I wrestled it out of the tin. Definitely for family consumption only.

  • PS looks like perhaps the oven temp could be 10 degrees or so lower — that would also reduce the rising.

    • Good call. I did notice that the crust was a little dark all around too.

  • Despite some overspill and/or stick-age, a man is always entitled to his version of banana bread. You should be commended for this little game of whodunnit, and a wonderful dessert. I’m never one to miss an opportunity for truth, lies or banana bread.

    • Sounds a little like a film title Tommy, True Lies Three – Return of the Banana Bread. I might do that one when I get it right.

      • I’d see that movie in a heartbeat, Conor.

  • Haha! You have suffered a baking prolapse! I suffered the same issue with a pear and chocolate creation. Tasted okay though, so I’m told (don’t recall seeing anyone actually eating that though)

    • I didn’t catch them eating it but it did mysteriously disappear over a couple of days.

  • I’m going with B but love the honesty and humour in this post! And that your photos are fantastic as usual! 🙂

    • Thanks for that. At this stage, I really have to admit to B and the lying camera.

  • I would say truth B. It seems that’s accurate from your replies from previous comments. I understand baking mishaps better than most so I feel your pain. I always use baking spray over butter unless I am making madeleines. Taste always wins over prettiness so I think you did well. Cheers!

    • Thanks Jessica,
      Baking spray is another thing in which I may have to invest.

  • Great read Conor, shows why an industry has cropped up around food styling! Don’t we all make Wayne Rooney* cakes from time to time?

    *pretty good technically, nothing to look at…

  • Ha, ha. But what I like best of all is the “festering bananas.”

    • And I have four more at home today waiting for a return match…

  • 🙂 Oh, Connor! You actually made me laugh! Love your humour!

    • Thanks Lidia,
      A laughable outcome, for sure!

  • This read like a “who done it”…A or B. There were hints through the photos…the plot thickened or was that batter, then the true confession came through the comments. I always leave your blog with a smile from your clever writing. 🙂

    • Thank you Karen,
      I appreciate that. I did make a loaf last evening and it turned out perfectly. However, the camera was in the office….

  • No matter how lovely it tasted, with those sides you had to do something creative. Cutting the sides of the tin straight out of the over sometimes works. Not over filling to start and a good butter and flour on the tin too… but you weren’t necessarily asking for advice:) Just cut them into bite size pieces and stick a toothpick in it and say that was your thought all along.

    • A good bit of advice, a bit too late Wendy. I cooked a perfect loaf last night. Sadly, no camera.

  • Looks like your oven was way too hot. 175C is all my oven can go to with anything bananas. Believe me, I know! As for frozen bananas, if you want fireworks to go with the overspill, fine. Go with! Chances are you’ll need more than custard to hide the disaster. Not that I’ve experienced disasters with banana cakes, muffins, breads…

    • Thanks Johnny, 180 didn’t seem so extreme at the time. Live and learn.

  • Oh, mixer, please! My mother, who was a prolific baker, especially during the holidays, taught me to cream sugar, butter, (and sometimes eggs), and loved the job I did. I was the galley slave by the time I was 7 and I am surprised I have any cartilage left in my right elbow.
    It is a testament to your loaf that you couldn’t resist a taste even before you snapped a shot of it.
    I have to resist myself here.I am having too much fun tooling around your site.I’ll stop bugging you.

    • Comment away please. It makes the effort worthwhile. I love sharing my nonsense and meeting new people who have a love of this stuff.

      • Oh,now,you asked for it! I like to see what’s going on in Ireland, as well.
        Can I ask where you are?

        • Never mind; I see you are in Dublin.I’m getting to know it a bit by subscribing to “World Irish” on Facebook.I see a lot of Dublin,it’s history, its modern day; with all the beauty…and flaws.

          • Plenty of both beauty and flaws, I’m afraid. Reflective of the human condition.

        • As I type, I am lying in bed recovering from a chest infection, though that is probably too much information. We live on the south side of Dublin. I was born in DunLaoghaire and have never lived very far from there.

        • No, that’s quite alright.Feel better soon…I’ll say a prayer.

  • You are hilarious!! Cracking my sides laughing! Absolutely live you blog! Thank a million, Bella 🙂

  • Love to read your post early in the morning as they brighten my day with your great sense of humor. I want to write like you.
    Thank you for sharing a great recipe. Giangi

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