Wednesday, August 26, 2015

McCafe / Gloria Jeans like Brown Sugar Golden Syrup Banana Bread - Highly Recommended

"The banana cakes in Australia are not nice! They are too sweet and dense. I don't them... " said uncle B, a distant relative from Singapore when we met up in Melbourne.

"I know." I disagreed with what uncle B said but had to acknowledge this remark with a nod.

Please don't get me wrong here... I like the banana cakes and breads in Australia because I can appreciate banana cakes and breads with all kinds of taste and texture. At the same time, I like to be diplomatic to all opinions and can understand why uncle B doesn't like the sweet and dense banana breads as these cafe style banana breads are not the usual spongy and buttery banana cakes that we usually eat in Singapore.

"Uncle, the sweet and compact banana breads in Australia are actually the cafe style kind." I tried to defend the banana breads in Australia but wasn't aiming to convince Uncle B or change his opinion as I know that the liking of a particular banana cake or bread can be subjective to individual's preference and taste.

I guess that uncle B is also confused with the definition of banana bread and cakes. Are banana breads and cakes the same? According to eHow, banana breads are generally denser than banana cakes and they tend to emphasize more of their grain taste with just a hint of sweetness, whereas banana cakes embraces the full sweetness of a traditional cake.

I have baked many kinds of banana cakes and bread before at here, here, here, here, here, here, here, here and here. Whether they are banana cakes or banana breads, they are all so different!!!

Some at here are soft and fluffy.
Some at here and here are dense and nutty.
Some at here are super moist.
Some at here are buttery whereas some at here are low fat and less sinfully ones to enjoy.

There is one particular banana bread that I really like and it is the Hummingbird's Bakery banana loaf. It is beautifully sweetened with muscovado sugar and has fine and compact crumbs (not dense or heavy) and is less sweeter, less darker and less dense than the McCafe or Gloria Jean kinds. Having said that, I like McCafe and Gloria Jeans kind of banana breads too and was searching for a copycat recipe and at Best Recipes, I found this highly rated banana bread recipe.

Looking the recipe closely, my first reaction was... Hey! This is not McCafe banana bread!!! It has hazelnut meal in it! Correct me if I'm wrong but I'm 99.9% sure that the McCafe's banana breads has NO hazelnut in them!

However... Looking at both Best Recipes' Banana bread and Hummingbird's Bakery banana loaf closely, I noticed that if the hazelnut meal is substituted with all purpose flour, both recipes are actually quite the same! ... except that 
the Hummingbird's Bakery banana loaf contains 1) no golden syrup 2) twice the amount of brown sugar and 3) the method of mixing the batter is very different. The batter made by Best Recipes' Banana bread is made by beating butter and sugar first but the batter made by Hummingbird's Bakery banana loaf is made by beating the sugar and eggs first. Hmmm...

To see if the method of mixing will make any difference, I have used Best Recipes' Banana bread to make two kind of banana breads: one with hazelnut meal and one substituted hazelnut meal with all purpose and result is really interesting!

McCafe Gloria Jeans like cafe style dark brown sugar golden syrup banana bread
McCafe / Gloria Jeans like cafe style dark brown sugar golden syrup banana bread 

Do you know that each slice of McCafe banana bread contains 2570kj (613 calories)? ... which requires at least 50 mins of fast running at 10 km per hour to burn! Geez! Knowing this, I wonder if this Copycat McCafe Banana Bread with a reasonable amount of brown sugar and butter will make banana bread as sweet and moist as the highly energy fueled McCafe one. Well, let's see.

Here.. This is the calories chart of the food that is selling at McCafe.

Copycat McCafe Banana Bread One:

To bake a banana bread with rich and intense dark colour (just like the McCafe's and Gloria Jeans's kind), I have baked the following banana breads with dark muscovado sugar instead light brown sugar.

This is the smaller banana bread that I baked by substituting the hazelnut meal with all purpose flour...

Banana bread with NO hazelnut meal.
It is dark-crusted and dense.
... and delicious!
... but ONLY when it is served warm or freshly baked.
On the next day at room temperature, it will become toughen! 

I would say that this banana bread is 90%-ish like the McCafe / Gloria Jeans ones but only when it is served warm or freshly baked. It is not 100% like the McCafe's and Gloria Jeans's because it is way less sweeter than the McCafe / Gloria Jeans ones... which is good! It means that each slice of this has lesser calories. However on the next day of bake, it becomes toughen! Disappointing? When the bread is wrapped in a foil and re-heated briefly in the oven, it becomes as good as freshly baked again. Well, I guess it is not so disappointing after all! LOL!

As the composite of this banana bread is almost the same of the Hummingbird's Bakery banana loaf, I would say that the method of mixing the batter does make a lot of differences as I strongly think that the Hummingbird's Bakery banana loaf with the beating of sugar and eggs is making the bread so much better with finer and never-toughen texture. If I want to bake a more-than-95%-like McCafe / Gloria Jean banana bread, I would use the recipe from Hummingbird's Bakery banana loaf but used dark brown sugar instead of light brown sugar.

Then, I asked myself... Will the addition of hazelnut meal make the banana bread nicer? More McCafe like? Less tougher? As good as it has been rated and reviewed in Best Recipes?

Copycat McCafe Banana Bread Two:

This is how I baked the McCafe like banana bread with hazelnut meal...

First, I pre- roasted the hazelnut meal to minimise its raw nutty taste.
Here is the star ingredient, Banana!
It's Minions' fav and ours too :)
Add golden syrup and vanilla extract into the mashed banana and mix roughly to combine.
Making this banana bread is like most cake making method.
Then stir in the remaining flour and banana mixture.
Bake at a moderately slow oven for 60 minutes.
When I sliced my first piece of bread, I was like ... "Wow!"
It looks so moist.
And it stays so moist even when it is cooled.
McCafe Gloria Jeans like cafe style dark brown sugar golden syrup banana bread
It is special with its beautiful nutty crumbly aftertaste.
Not 100% McCafe / Gloria Jeans but it tastes actually better :)

Surely I can appreciate this!

This copycat McCafe banana bread is not overly sweetened and has nutty crumbly aftertaste! Definitely not 100% McCafe enough!!! ... but I would say that it tastes better than McCafe's. Now I can see why this recipe has been so well loved, rated and reviewed!

Here's the recipe from Best Recipes

Makes one 10 x 25 x 7 cm or 21 x 11 x 8 cm loaf
1 cup (150g) all purpose flour
1 1/4 cup (150g) hazelnut meal, pre-roasted at 160°C for 5 mins but pre-roasting can be optional
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup (100g) dark muscovado sugar or dark brown sugar - This is a reduced amount. Please do not reduce this amount further as this sweetness is just right.
125g unsalted butter, softened at room temperature
2 large eggs at room temperature
1 heaped cup (250ml) bananas, mashed (about 3 medium bananas)
1/3 cup (80ml) golden syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract or 1/2 tsp vanilla paste

Preheat oven to 160°C. Grease and line baking tin with baking paper.

Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl. Set aside.

Using an electric mixer with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs gradually and beat until combined.

Add golden syrup and vanilla extract to mashed banana and mix lightly.

Sift half of the hazelnut meal and half of the flour mixture into the butter mixture. Please do not discard the coarse hazelnut meal that is trapped in the sieve - sifting helps to remove any crumbs in the flour and nuts mixture but shouldn't discard any ingredients. Tap the coarse meal into the batter.

Using a spatula, fold in the hazelnut meal, flour mixture and then half of the banana mixture. Continue to do the same with the remaining ingredients and mix until combined. Pour mixture into the prepared pan. Bake for 50-60 mins or until the skewer inserted comes out clean. If the top of the bread brown too quickly, cover it loosely with a foil and continue to bake it.

Allow the bread to cool slightly in its tin for about 10 mins. Remove the bread from the tin and transfer onto a wire rack to cool completely. Can be toasted slightly before serving. Serve with extra butter and syrup if desired but trust me, this bread can be as good as on its own :)

Happy Baking
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  1. When I see McCafe or Gloria Jeans, I thought of coffee.. Never had their banana bread, but yours looks so sedap.. Looks like very packed with "liew", very fragrant..Yummzzz..

  2. so hard to find dense type of banana bread in Malaysia, so envy u can get them easily in Melbourne. btw, I'm planning to go to Melbourne next year about Feb or March, any cafe can recommend for me? :)

    1. Hi Thea,

      You can check out the list of restaurants or cafe at Zomato app or website and you find many highly rated places for you to go in Melbourne.



  3. Wow looking so delicious and yummy..... :)

  4. Whenever I visit your blog, it always make me salivate. Banana cake with hazelnut meal....hmmm I can imagine the taste in the mouth.

  5. Love banana cake! And always fun to try a new recipe. This looks terrific -- really interesting. Thanks!

  6. yumm!! I would love a slice of that loaf!

  7. They look so chock full of banana and so dense and moist!

  8. I'm used to the dense banana breads.

  9. AHHHH delicious Zoe! Although I enjoy the light chiffon sponge type cakes in singapore I really love dense breads and cakes with a good bite, lots of flavor and sweet too! I made a bunch of banana products last month and gave some away to friends and neighbors because we had soooo many bananas from our tree! I had let them all get old before using them for optimum fragrance! I need to bake a banana bread though because I didn't make one properly, it was more like a cake in a bread pan! :p

  10. can I do this without the hazelnut meal?

    1. Hi Cel,

      Yes. You can substitute hazelnut meal with all purpose flour just like copycat banana bread one. The description of the bread without hazelnut meal is also mentioned in my post. Cheers!


    2. If sub hazelnut meal with AP Flour, will that be 300g of AP flour?

    3. Hi Lissa,

      Yes. If you substitute hazelnut meal with AP flour, it will be 300g AP flour.


  11. Hi Zoe,
    Oh yes!! There is so many version of banana cake.
    This one look awesome! YUM!

  12. They very look of the cake is making me the crockery too :)

  13. Looks awesome. Thanks Zoe.i like your recipe