It’s been a while. Ok. It’s been a long while. The past two years have been impossibly busy while I worked on a major project (more about that in subsequent posts). I did my best to keep in touch via instagram, facebook and twitter (see links above and please follow along) posting pix and updates on my baking days but recipe posts here simply didn’t happen. I could list off all my excuses and “if onlys” but I prefer to look forward. My hope is that you’ll forgive my absence and once again join me here. I’ll share my recipes – some sweet and some savory – along with updates on the site changes – yes, there are exciting ones to come – life and book progress – you can expect full updates on both of those topics as well. Holler if you have questions, concerns or just want to chat. I’m always here to help, work through baking issues, suggest and/or brainstorm changes and variations. While there are many wonderful recipe-sharing sites nowadays, let me know if you’d like me to post a link to your version of one of my recipes like I did for BakeTogether posts. My hope is that you’ll join me in making everyday a great day for baking.
Now, about that cake I mentioned. I’ll admit that technically it’s a quick bread (wet and dry ingredients mixed separately and gently combined) but it’s so darn delicious that I often serve it as cake for dessert. Topped with the optional chocolate glaze, the cake is divine when paired with homemade vanilla bean ice cream (I confess that sometimes I sub in Talenti brand) along with an extra drizzle of chocolate glaze. That said, slices of this moist, deeply flavored cake are just as happy sitting next to your morning cup of joe (or, in my case, tea) or tucked into the kiddling’s lunch boxes. I’ll let you decide what to call it and when and how to serve it.
This easy-to-make quick cake/bread is the ideal destination for two of my favorite ingredients: overripe, sweet bananas and chocolate. Made in a loaf shape and without the glaze, I like to toast slices for breakfast or an afternoon snack. I’ve given the option of glazing the loaf with a rich chocolate ganache. Doing so raises this breakfast fave into the dessert category. I serve slices with a scoop of homemade vanilla bean ice cream (I confess that sometimes, I sub in Talenti brand– it’s delicious) along with an extra drizzle of chocolate ganache.
Here are a few how-to’s to help you on your way. They also prove beyond a doubt that this is one heck of a quick-to-make cake/bread.
Here’s our wet ingredients. If your very ripe banana isn’t already mashed, put it in the bowl before adding the other ingredients and smash with a fork. Add the other wet ingredients and stir until well blended.
Scrape the wet ingredients into the dry stuff and, using a silicone spatula, gently fold until the dry ingredients are just moistened. This one needs a few more folds. Overmixing will make the baked bread dense and tough.
Double Banana Chocolate Bread – Serves 8
Make Ahead The bread can be served immediately after cooling and glazing or cover and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.
For the bread
Nonstick cooking spray or softened butter + flour, for preparing the pan
2 cups (9 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
3/4 cup (5 1/4 oz.) firmly packed light brown sugar
1 Tbs. baking powder
3/4 tsp. table salt
1 cup (8 oz.) peeled and mashed very ripe banana, at room temperature
1/2 cup buttermilk (or sour cream), at room temperature
1/2 cup neutral oil (safflower, canola or vegetable)
2 large eggs, at room temperature
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup (2 1/2 oz.) diced ripe bananas
1/2 cup (3 oz.) mini chocolate chips (or (2 oz.) toasted, chopped pecans)
For the glaze (optional)
4 oz. semi or bittersweet chocolate, chopped
5 Tbs. heavy cream
Make the cake
1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease and flour the bottom and sides of an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/4-inch loaf pan (I use Pyrex®).
2. Whisk the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt until well blended. Put the bananas in a medium bowl and mash with a fork until almost smooth. You will have 1 cup (8 oz./227 g). Add buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla and stir with the fork until well blended. Pour and scrape the wet ingredients over the flour mixture and add in the chopped banana and mini chips. Using a silicone spatula, gently fold (no stirring) until just blended. Scrape into the prepared pan and spread evenly. Bake until the top is pale golden brown and a pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 55 to 57 minutes.
3. Move the pan to a rack and let cool for 15 to 20 minutes. Run a knife between the cake and the pan to loosen the cake. Invert onto a rack and lift off the pan. Arrange the cake right side up and let cool completely. The bread is best cut using a thin serrated knife and a gentle sawing motion.
Make the glaze (optional)
1. Put the chocolate and heavy cream in a heatproof bowl. Set over barely simmering water and cook, stirring, until the chocolate is melted and the mixture is smooth. This can also be done in the microwave. Set aside to cool, stirring frequently, until thickened and room temperature. For faster cooling, set the bowl over a larger one filled with ice and a little water and cool, stirring, until cooled and thick.
2. Scrape the glaze down the middle of the bread. Using a small offset spatula, spread the glaze over the top nudging it gently to the edges.