Sweet potato gives an added dimension here – extra moistness, extra sweetness and a touch of earthiness too. You could use steamed mashed pumpkin if you prefer, substitute wholemeal flour for plain white or, if peanuts don't float your boat, scatter any other nut over the top.
- 1 medium orange sweet potato (about 350 g), peeled and cut into 4 cm pieces
- 200 g mashed overripe banana (about two medium bananas; see Note)
- 285 g (1 ¼ cups) caster sugar
- 60 ml (¼ cup) buttermilk
- 2 tbsp rum
- 125 ml (½ cup) vegetable oil
- 2 eggs, beaten well
- 300 g (2 cups) plain flour
- 1 tsp baking powder
- ½ tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp each ground cinnamon and ginger
- large pinch ground cloves
- 110 g (⅔ cup) roasted unsalted peanuts
- 75 g (⅓ cup) demerara sugar, or to taste
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Preheat the oven to 170°C.
Cook the sweet potato in a steamer over boiling water for 15 minutes or until very tender. Cool to room temperature then, using a potato masher, mash the sweet potato until smooth.
Measure 250 g (1 cup) of the sweet potato, reserving any that remains for another use. Place in a large bowl with the banana, sugar, buttermilk, rum, oil and eggs and beat to combine well.
Sift the flour, baking powder, bicarb soda and spices into a bowl then add to the banana mixture and, using a wooden spoon, stir until smooth. Divide the mixture among the holes of an 8-hole (150 ml capacity each), non-stick mini-loaf pan, smoothing the surface of each even.
Scatter the peanuts and demerara sugar over the top. Bake for about 35 minutes, or until deep golden: turn the tray around in the oven after 20 minutes so the breads cook evenly.
Cool in the tin for 10 minutes then carefully turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
Breads are best served on the day of making but will keep, stored in an airtight container, for up to 3 days. They can also be frozen for up to 12 weeks.
• A medium banana yields 100 g of mashed flesh so let that be a rough guide if you don’t have scales. (Get some scales!). It won't matter too much if you are 20 g or so over the mark anyway - simple recipes like this do have a little wiggle room.
Photography by Alan Benson, styling by Sarah O'Brien and food preparation by Tina Mcleish.