Banana Cake with Almonds and Chocolate Glaze, adapted from A Poetic Appetite, who adapted it from a few other recipes
I’m doing the wedding cake for two friends (this Saturday!), and I usually bake the cake part a week or so in advance, stick in the freezer for a few days, then gently thaw and assemble the day before the event (the freeze/thaw trick helps with the cake’s consistency – you want it to be quite firm when slicing the layers in half before you fill it with delicious things). This means of course that one needs freezer space. When you’re dealing with one that’s on the small side, as I do, you may find yourself frantically eating up all the veggie burgers … the frozen peas … etc. to clear it out. I tend to throw bananas into the freezer if they’ve been hanging around a bit too long, thus ending up with a pile of frozen bananas; this cake was a way to get rid of ‘em.
It’s certainly a simple cake but no less good for that reality. I love the mix of whole wheat and white flours here and, of course, the brown sugar, which gives an extra depth. I added sliced almonds to the batter because I do love a banana bread/cake with nuts, plus I wanted a bit of crunch. No electric mixer is necessary – I’m especially fond of cakes that are quick to put together – because there’s no butter, and it really comes together in a flash. Lush with bananas and with a sturdy crumb, this is the perfect breakfast cake, or for any time. Tea or coffee essential.
Makes 10 servings
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat pastry flour
3/4 cup dark brown sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil or vegetable oil
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 1/2 cups mashed, VERY ripe bananas (about 3 bananas)
1/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (or regular plain yogurt)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon rum (optional)
1/2 cup (or more) sliced almonds
For the glaze:
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
splash warm water
Preheat the oven to 350° F, and place a rack in the center. Grease a 9- by 5- inch (23 x 13 cm) loaf pan, or equivalent — I used a bundt.
In a large bowl, whisk together the flours, sugar, baking soda, and salt.
In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, mashed banana, yogurt, rum if using, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Add the sliced almonds.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan and bake until golden brown, about 40-50 minutes.
Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn the loaf out of the pan to cool completely.
While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze. Melt the chocolate on the stove or in the microwave; then whisk in the brown sugar. Keep whisking until sugar dissolves. Add a tablespoon of warm water and whisk. Keep adding water until the glaze is smooth and not-too-thick. (You can decide how thick/not-thick you’d like it.) When the cake is completely cool, drizzle the glaze on top of the cake, spreading with a spatula to cover.