I’ve wanted to have a go at making malt loaf for ages. A sticky, gooey cake that fills up little tummies without being unhealthy, malt loaf is the perfect snack (although just don’t let them eat it too close to tea time!). Because it’s so chewy it takes a while to eat – good for passing a bit of time on a long bus ride – and is a great lunchbox filler as well.
So I was all geared up to make my very own malt loaf, small loaf tin bought and Mary Berry cookbook in one hand when I ran into a hurdle – malt extract is surprisingly hard to find. Massive local Sainsbury’s and online Sainsbury’s didn’t stock it. I found some in the end in Brixton Wholefoods (which by the way sells everything you could possibly ever need. Star Anise? Got it. Himalyan pink salt? Got it. Malt extract? Got it). Anyway, I digress. Me being me, had to try to add some type of fruit or veg to this malt loaf so I could add it to my increasing repertoire of sneaky veg recipes. I thought I’d play safe here though and leave the celeriac alone for a while, opting for banana instead.
The result? A really sticky cake that the kids devoured, much lighter than the malt loaf you get in a packet, but that seems to last forever nonetheless.
Here’s how to make banana malt loaf
- 60g (2oz) buckwheat flour
- 60g (2oz) spelt flour (you could substitute 110g of plain flour for this and the buckwheat if preferred)
- 1/4 tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 1/2 tsp baking powder
- 110g (4oz) sultanas
- 25g (1oz) brown sugar or honey
- 90g (3oz) malt extract
- 1/2 tbsp black treacle (can be omitted)
- 1 egg, beaten
- 75ml cold black tea
- 2 ripe bananas, mashed
- Pre-heat the oven to 150°C/gas mark 2. Grease and baseline a 450g loaf tin (this is probably smaller than the one you'd normally use, I got one for £1.50 in Sainsbury's if you don't already have one) with baking paper.
- Sift the flours, bicarbonate of soda and baking powder into a bowl. Stir in the sultanas.
- Heat the sugar, malt extract and black treacle together over a low heat. Pour over the flour and sultana mix and add the egg, tea and bananas. Beat well until smooth. Pour into the prepared tin.
- Bake in the pre-heated oven for about an hour, or until well risen and firm to the touch. Cool for 10 minutes or so in the tin before turning out onto a wire rack to cool.
This recipe is adapted from Mary Berry’s Sultana Malt Loaves in her Ultimate Cake Book.