ANYONE who has indulged me in a conversation about baking will know my views on banana bread. Despite my inquisitive baking nature, and interest in all things ‘dough’, I find myself falling, time and time again, into the buttery arms of this humble loaf cake.

Banana bread encapsulates everything I crave from a baked good, with its moist crumb and soothing, biscuit flavours. It is ‘wooden-spoon’ baking at its finest (for best results use a chipped Mason Cash bowl and stir whilst gazing dreamily out of the window). It requires no ceremony, no technique, just a heavy thud and crackle as the batter hits the parchment-lined tin. As it bakes it can fill a home with sweet, caramel notes, heady with wholesome promise and irresistible to visitors. Once cooled it can be sliced into thick slabs or wrapped whole and transported as a sturdy loaf. Whilst it sits it develops flavour and a dense, moist texture, as if the bananas themselves have continued to ripen in their mashed, baked state.

Banana bread was not present in my childhood, I discovered it in my teens when my mother gave me her recipe and it has since become an invariable part of my life. She believes the recipe to have come, originally, from her mother and the measurements are still in pounds and ounces. It makes two fat loaves using four bananas. This is banana bread in its elemental form; white sugar, white flour, butter and eggs.

However, what is most glorious about this fruit-moistened batter is its adaptability – over the years I have made vegan versions, dairy-free versions, versions swirled with peanut butter and a particularly memorable dark, spiced banana bread that uses wholemeal flour and brown sugar (recipe on I have toasted it for breakfast, baked it for cake sales, gifted it to friends and shared it at work. I like it moist from cling-wrap as part of a picnic and I like it warm, crusty and adorned with salty butter. Until further notice banana bread is, in my opinion, the ultimate giver of comfort, my personal baking nirvana and the undisputed king of cakes.