Monday, October 27, 2014

Banana Raspberry Bread with Lime Cream Cheese Icing

When a dash of love is added to cooking, it is instantly transformed into something infinitely more palatable. I think real cooking is love-it's giving. When I say real cooking, I mean throwing a wad of 2 minute noodles into boiling water doesn't count. It must involve some effort, some portion of your time, some giving--as all love does require.
Just think about it-when you cook, you cook for friends, family, yourself. Often it's performed because you have to, because there are rumbling tummies and tiny (or big) wailing mouths. But even when it's done through necessity, it is done because you love those people. Some people cook for themselves, preparing amazing dishes, for the love of food. Others cook for the love of money, and so forth, but basically, good  food and love revolve around each other.
When I was studying teaching at University before I met my husband, I lived with two other girls in a quaint little townhouse on the skirts of Melbourne. We all fended or ourselves food wise, never cooking for anyone but ourselves as we all had varied schedules. We were three very different people, all living different lives, and looking back on how we ate doesn't surprise me. One held a part time job, and basically lived off 2 minute noodles, ice cream and those cream and jam filled sweet buns. The other was a student like myself and it was toast and bought sushi for her. I lived off 8 cups of coffee a day and various blends of pasta and jarred sauce. Ugh!
None of us loved food enough to bother to make any effort. We had no one to cook for and didn't even love ourselves enough to at least make an effort to eat healthily.
It was only when I met my husband that I started taking an interest in food, especially as he was a big fan of everything I made. It was such an encouraging thing that it became an addiction, and I couldn't keep my mind off food and what I was going to make for him the next time he visited. Well, I married that man, and I also simultaneously married my food addiction. Now I actually eat. And I actually get hungry. And I limit myself to one coffee a day, just to kick start me in the morning. Jarred pasta sauces are not off limits, but used sparingly, only for those wild and woolly days, where you get to the end of the day looking like you were just thrown out of a hurricane and the kids are literally ripping the hair out of your head. I love my family too much to do that to them regularly-but sometimes, necessity calls for quick and fuss free!
Well, this banana raspberry bread with lime and cream cheese icing is certainly made with love, time and thought. I love how all these flavours come together to make for a delightful treat for the senses-the sweet moistness of the banana, the slight tart accents of raspberry, the creaminess of the cream cheese icing with a zingy hint of lime zest.We couldn't get enough of this delicious cake! The icing really was what took it up several notches, and I almost wish I had made more icing! If you're a big fan of cream cheese icing, you could double the icing recipe and cover the whole top of the bread. You will not regret it!


6 tbsp butter, room temperature
1 cup brown sugar, lightly packed
2 eggs
4 mashed bananas
1 cup Self Raising flour
1/4 level tsp bicarb. soda
pinch of salt
1/2 cup frozen raspberries
50g cream cheese, room temperature
1 tbsp lime juice
1/4 cup icing sugar
1 tsp lime zest, finely grated

Preheat the oven at 180C. Line a loaf pan with baking paper and set aside.
In a medium bowl, beat the butter and the sugar until light and fluffy. Add the egg gradually, beating well between additions. Add the mashed banana and beat again.  Add the flour, bicarb soda and salt and stir through until well combined. Lastly fold in the raspberries.
Bake in the oven for 1 1/4 hours until nicely browned on top. Cool in the pan for 20 minutes or so before gently removing and placing on a wire rack.
To make the icing, beat the cream cheese, lime juice, icing sugar and zest together in a small bowl until smooth. You may add a little more icing sugar if you prefer the consistency to be thicker, or a little more lime juice if you find it too thick.
Pipe or spread over the top of the cooled bread before serving.

Makes one loaf.

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