I delight in something sweet with a cup of tea, but now I'm trying to cut down on my refined sugars it can be quite a challenge to find things that hit the spot like a fat piece of cake. Thank heavens then for treats like this tea loaf, as it is sooooo deliciously satisfying and sweetened only with dates and bananas. I love mine with a thick spread of peanut butter. Hey, I said I was cutting down on refined sugars, not EVERYTHING naughty ;-).
Prep time: 15 Mins (Plus steeping time for the dates)
Baking time: 70-75 Mins
200g Medjool Dates
200ml Strong Black Tea
250g Self Raising Flour
1tsp Baking Powder
1tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Medium Eggs (Beaten)
2 Ripe Bananas (Mashed)
You'll want to get the dates going a good few hours in advance, ideally overnight if you can. Pit and chop your dates then cover with the hot black tea. Leave to steep for at least 4 hours, until the dates are all syrupy.
Preheat the oven to 170C/325F/Gas 3 and line a 2lb loaf tin with a greaseproof loaf tin liner. In a large mixing bowl mix together the flour and baking powder. Make a well in the middle, then pour in the dates and steeping liquor. Add the vanilla extract and beaten eggs, then mix well to combine. Add the mashed banana and mix again until you are left with a lovely consistent batter. Spoon into your prepared tin, even to the edges, then bake in the centre of the oven for around 70-75 mins, until nicely risen and a metal skewer can be cleanly removed when inserted into the middle of the loaf.
When you are happy the loaf is baked remove from the oven and leave in the tin for around 15 mins. When a touch cooler tip the loaf from the tin and leave to cool until warm on a wire rack. I love this one warm from the tin, but it'll also keep for several days for when the need arises!