BEDM Day 8: Banana bread challenge (vegan vs non-vegan)

I’ve heard people say that vegan cakes don’t taste the same, that they can always tell the difference. Now I’ve not baked much since giving up dairy and eggs last year.

 

A few weeks ago the topic of banana bread came up with my flatmate, probably something to do with the very ripe bunch of bananas languishing in the kitchen somewhere behind the fruit bowl. He wasn’t convinced that a vegan version would hold its own against a traditional recipe, and since I’m always up for a challenge in the kitchen we decided to do a blind taste test.

 

Two versions were made, one with butter and eggs, and one without. We invited some friends around to try them both out, without telling them which was which.

 
Vegan Banana Bread

3 ripe bananas, mashed 
20g coconut oil
150g alpro or other dairy free yoghurt 
150g applesauce 
225g self raising flour
2 heaped tsp baking powder 
100g brown sugar 
1tsp cinnamon 

 

Preheat oven to 200’C.

Mash bananas with a fork. Or whatever else you have that smooshes nicely. Back of a wooden spoon or Hulk’s fist would also do. Mix in the sugar, coconut oil, alpro yoghurt and applesauce. Do NOT use the Bramley apple stuff folk use as a condiment in the UK (something which confused me no end when I first moved here).

Now add flour, cinnamon and baking powder. Mix into the wet ingredients.

I used 2x1lb loaf tins because I was sharing out the banana bread between a few folk, but it would be just as good to use 1x2lb loaf tin. I’m also a lazy sod so instead of lining with parchment, I used these genius loaf tin liners from Lakeland. If these cakes turn out beautifully I wonder if they’d like to sponsor me to do a post? Joking. No one is going to sponsor me to do anything other than a 24 hour silence ;-).

Split that batter evenly(ish) into the 2 tins. Bake in the middle of that preheated oven. Suuure, I totally preheated. I’m not standing around like a doofus waiting for it to come up to temperature. Nope. Can you tell I don’t bake all the time?

Anyways, I digress. Bake for an hour but check after 15-20 minutes; if it’s browning then cover with foil so the top doesn’t burn.

 
“Traditional” Banana Bread

3 ripe bananas, mashed 
140g melted butter 
100g sugar 
2 large eggs, beaten 
140g self raising flour
1 tsp baking powder 
1tsp cinnamon 

 

Preheat oven to 200’C.

Mash bananas with a fork. These were so ripe they barely needed it, so absolutely perfect for banana bread. Mix in the melted butter, sugar and eggs.

Now add the flour, cinnamon and baking powder to the wet ingredients.

Divide the mixture between 2x1lb loaf tins, or into a 1x2lb loaf tin. Make sure you’ve lined the tin! Bake in the middle of the preheated oven for about an hour, covering the top with foil if it has already turned that lovely golden brown and you don’t want it to burn.

 
The Results:

I posted on Facebook earlier that day something along the lines of “come over to eat banana bread with us”. It’s a pretty good tactic to get people to come and visit you, let me just say! I thought it would be fair that neither of them were vegans, as obviously they wouldn’t have been able to objectively try both cakes.

 

First we asked them which they liked better. Then we asked them which one they thought was made without dairy and eggs. Simple, right? Everyone was certain they could tell the difference, and they were all convinced they would prefer the “traditional” cake.

 

As it turns out, two out of the three victims – I mean tasters – thought the vegan version was the “traditional” recipe, and they ALL preferred my veganised banana bread to the one with butter and eggs. They were all pretty surprised that they had been fooled by the wacky wizardry of dairy free yoghurt and applesauce (and sheer luck, as I was pretty much making it up as I went along at one point).

 

So my verdict? You can bake vegan cakes without anyone calling you out on it, and also, it is possible to eat cake all the time and be a hilariously unhealthy vegan. I consider this a win.

 

Also, we should all eat more cake.

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