This recipe is not mine, it's a James Martin, from his book 'Sweet', but it went down so well that I thought it deserved some air time on the blog.
Those of you who follow us over on Instagram might have noticed the beautiful, bright yellow KitchenAid that I gifted to myself around my birthday. I absolutely love the thing, aethetically and functionally (maybe that's a blog post in itself), but moreover, it has inspired me to push my baking further. I haven't had much experience with dough, and so I chose this recipe to put the KitchenAid to work and practice an enriched, sweet dough.
For the dough:
500g strong flour, plus extra for dusting
75g caster sugar
5g table salt
7g fast-action dried yeast (or 14g fresh yeast)
1 egg, beaten
50g softened butter
For the cake:
1 quantity enriched yeast dough (above)
15g cocoa powder
150g nutella, (chocolate hazelnut spread)
2 bananas, peeled and cut into 1cm slices
100ml stock syrup glaze (In a saucepan, heat 200g caster sugar in 100ml water, stirring to dissolve, then bring to the boil and set aside to cool slightly)
Warm the milk gently in a saucepan. Combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a mixer or large bowl until combined, then add the milk and egg and mix until you have a sticky dough. Knead the dough for 5 minutes.
Gradually add the softened butter to your dough, a bit at a time, kneading well in between each addition. It will take about 10 minutes to incorporate the butter and the dough will be sticky.
If you’re using a mixer, flour the work surface well and turn the dough out. Continue to knead lightly until the dough is smooth and no longer as sticky.
Divide the dough in half and place one half in a bowl for proving. Mix the cocoa powder with 1–2 tsp water and add this to the other half of the dough. Knead until completely combined, and place in a separate bowl. Cover both bowls of dough loosely with clingfilm.
You can now leave them to prove at room temperature for around 4 hours, but I proved mine in the fridge overnight, which I always prefer to do with dough if I can.
Grease and line a 23cm tin. A springform or loose-bottomed tin is best.
Knock the chocolate dough back and roll it out to a rectangle about 15cm x 50cm (use a pulling-by-hand and rolling technique to get the shape). Spread the Nutella all over your dough rectangle, then make a layer of banana slices on top.
Roll out the plain dough to a rectangle the same size, and lay this over the top of the banana-topped dough. Press down lightly, then cut in half lengthways. Holding either end of one piece, twist in opposite directions and lay carefully into the cake tin, starting at the outside. Twist the other half in the same way and lay inside the first piece.
Leave to prove for 2 hours, covered, in a warm place until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 180°C.
Bake for 35–40 minutes, but as always, keep an eye on it. It should be golden brown and risen, and the base should sound hollow when tapped. Brush with the stock syrup glaze then leave to cool on a wire rack, before you cut your first slice and your friends and family devour the lot.
Chuck half a cup of water into the oven/spray the loaf with water just before putting it in to bake. Enriched doughs tend to form a softer crust anyway because of the fat content, but I like to create steam in the oven whenever I bake bread to be sure the crust doesn't form too quickly. Spray again half way through baking.
Another (gratuitous? naughty?) thing I did when I baked this cake, was to brush butter all over the top. This was after it was baked, and 5/10 minutes before the sugar syrup glaze. (hey, I never said this would be good for you..) I read somewhere that a butter glaze promotes a soft crust and gives a good shine and colour.
Of course, I can't be sure of what the result would have been without me spraying water and glazing with butter, but it was a damn lovely crumb and a pillowy, buttery loaf in general, so I'd stick with this method if I make another.