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Archive for the ‘Banana’ Category

Chocolate Banana Cake

When I was in my second year of undergraduate, I volunteered in Toronto’s north end, reading with a grade 2 class. The students were over 90% first- or second- generation Canadians, and they found reading an incredible challenge. They taught me the virtues of patience and perseverance: it was magical to watch their literacy skills grow over the year. During my last session, they surprised me with a beautiful baking book, Baking: Simple to Sensational

This year, I decided to volunteer in a homework club, in the North end of Halifax where the kids similarly struggle to read. We had our final session last Wednesday (where I learned that if you don’t watch kids near an open box of cookies like a hawk, they will eat ten!), and it inspired me to flip through the baking book and reminisce about Toronto. I was seeking a chocolatey dessert, and this beauty caught my eye. With the promise of dense, moist, and with a velevety chocolate glaze, I was hooked. Chocolate cake on its own is delicious, and the bananas were sure to add depth. The resulting cake quickly evaporated (especially when served with homemade whipping cream)!

Chocolate Banana Cake
(serves 8-12)

Ingredients:
CAKE
4 semi-sweet chocolate baking squares, chopped (4 ounces total)
1/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup sugar
2 teaspoons instant coffee granules
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup buttermilk
1 small banana, mashed
2 large eggs, lightly beaten

GANACHE:
1/2 cup whipping cream
4 semi-sweet chocolate baking squares, chopped

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line the bottom of a greased 9 inch round pan with waxed paper (I used a springform pan). Grease the waxed paper and the pan.

Over the double boiler, melt the chocolate and the butter until smooth. Allow to chill for five minutes. Meanwhile, sift all the dry ingredients together. In a separate bowl, mix all the wet ingredients. Create a well in the flour mixture, and mix the wet with the dry ingredients. Add the chocolate mixture, and blend until smooth.

Bake in oven for about 40 minutes, until a wooden pick inserted in centre comes out clean. Cool completely and transfer to a plate.

For the ganache, heat whipping cream until bubbles start to form around edge (do not boil). Remove from heat, and stir in chocolate. Mix until the mixture is smooth. Allow to cool for 5-10 minutes. Pour and spread over cake top and sides. Chill for at least half an hour. Serve with whipping cream!

– Catherine

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I must admit I woke up yesterday realizing I had to get going on the banana bread front, because not only is it an easy and great recipe – but Catherine and I have even had a banana-bread baking competition, and I figured posting first means something.  The stakes were high in our competition – the title for best banana bread.  We both mixed and baked, and convened with a few friends to find out who would take the title.  I just had to post this recipe.

Conclusion: one bread needed chocolate chips (which were omitted to make the bread stand alone, but could not be actually compared to the bread with chocolate), and the other needed to cook just a wee bit longer.  I’ll let you guess who was who.

Needless to say, I thought it would be fun to post my recipe as it is new and improved.  I’m not sure if it’s better than Catherine’s, but it certainly is delicious.  It can be mixed quickly, and then thrown into the oven to bake while you have a shower in the morning.  Then you can have a mouthwatering breakfast, and be the envy of your workplace when you pull some out for a snack.

Personally, I like to put little sugar in (closer to 1/2 cup), but a lot of chocolate chips.  Those, however, are optional of course.  I also pack it full of nuts (pecans are the favorite, although walnuts do wonderfully).  In short, this is an absolute treat!

It was difficult waiting for this to cook while getting ready for school!

Ingredients:

-4 ripe mashed bananas (I like to freeze the black ones mashed up then pull them out in the morning)
-1/3 cup melted butter
-1/2 cup sugar
-1 egg, beaten
-2 tsp vanilla extract
-1 tsp baking soda
-pinch of salt
-1 1/2 cup flour: can be whole-wheat, white, or a mix.  It depends on what I have on hand
-1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
-1 cup chopped nuts (pecans or walnuts are great)
-1/2 to 1 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions (1 loaf, or 12 muffins if you prefer)

Loaf

Preheat oven to 350F.  Mix mashed bananas and melted butter in a large bowl.  Add egg, sugar, salt, and vanilla. Mix well, then sprinkle the baking soda on top.  If you are using a whole-wheat/white flour blend, mix them together in advance.  Add flour to wet mix, as well as cinnamon.  Mix quickly, but not too much: it should still be a little lumpy.  Then add nuts and chocolate chips, and mix.  Grease two loaf tins, and bake, for 40 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean, or grease just one tin, and bake for 60 minutes.

Muffins

Everything is the same except grease a rack for 12 muffins or line with muffin papers.  Fill them each approximately 3/4 full with batter, and bake, at 350, for 25-30 minutes, or until toothpick comes out clean.

There you have it!  Bonne appétit.

-Sitelle

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