Vegan Double Chocolate Banana Bread

After six weeks with a broken oven, few things could ever make me happier than the prospect of baking. Fortunately, I have good friends who are generous with their kitchens, and was invited by my friend Aimée, an amazing baker herself, and currently on maternity leave, to come and bake in her home.  After 10 days of veganism, I was itching to try out some dairy-free, egg-free baking.

From what I have read in various books and blogs, the key to successful vegan baking is to make sensible substitutions; and for me this means choosing recipes that don’t contain a great deal of dairy to begin with. Of course, there are endless recipes for vegan cakes online, if you know where to look, but I was keen, instead, to ‘veganise’ some non-vegan recipes. With some bananas ripening in my kitchen, banana bread seemed a good place to start. Smitten Kitchen‘s double chocolate banana bread to be precise which, with only 115g butter and one egg to sub out, ticked all of the relevant boxes.

A quick glance at this recipe told me immediately that this would satisfy my craving for home-baked goods: a banana bread made rich with dark brown sugar, cocoa and dark chocolate chips. The idea was that I would make one as per the recipe for Aimée, and a ‘veganised’ one for myself. The butter was easily substituted with Pure vegan margarine, and the egg with the No Egg Egg Replacer, which I have talked about before. As is always the case when I adapt a recipe with ingredients I am unfamiliar with, I was skeptical about the results, but I needn’t have been, as it turned out exactly as I had hoped: moist and squidgy in the middle, with pockets of melted chocolate and a crackly crust. The result was no less enticing than any other banana bread I have made, which makes me confident about vegan baking for the rest of the month.

My oven arrives on Friday – hurrah!

Banana bread previously: I always feel that the world doesn’t ever really need another banana baked thing, and yet I always find myself baking one and writing about it. The allure of a bunch of spotted bananas with little fruit flies buzzing around them is always too much for me to resist, and I find myself dreaming up new versions of the old classic. The banana, rum and coconut bread is the one I make most often, and could easily be ‘veganised.’ It’s my husband’s favourite, after all.

Vegan Double Chocolate Banana Bread

2 large, or 3 medium, bananas
115g melted vegan margarine
145g dark brown sugar
Egg replacement made up for one egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
¼ tsp fine salt
½ tsp ground cinnamon
125g plain flour
60g cocoa powder
150g vegan dark chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 175ºc. Spray a medium loaf tin with cake release spray (I use Dr. Oetker.)

Mash the bananas in a large bowl, then whisk in the vegan margarine, sugar, egg replacement and vanilla extract.  Combine the bicarbonate of soda, salt, cinnamon, flour and cocoa powder in a separate bowl then sift into the banana mixture. Mix until just combined. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Bake in the oven for about an hour, until risen and a skewer inserted into the centre of the loaf comes out clean. If the top looks like it is browning too quickly, cover loosely with foil.  Allow to cool in the tin before transferring to a wire rack.

Adapted from a recipe by Smitten Kitchen.

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