Sunday, April 10, 2016

Chocolate Banana Cake with Glazed Walnuts

When my son decided to join track team in his school, I secretly rejoiced.  He's not one to like a team sports and asking him to go to the gym with me and my husband is like pulling teeth.  The only sport that he tolerates is swimming and he's pretty good at it, but because of church commitment, he seldom could participate in swim meet.  This track and field activity is through his school which means it won't interfere with church but his time after school is filled with practice.  That means I have to pick him up from school late and that makes my days long as well.  Sigh.  And the track meet is incredibly long...

Then why did I rejoice?  Because for one thing, this gets him into exercising.  He's now into running, albeit in beginner's level, and he wants to track all his running into his Runkeeper app.  With that newfound interest, I'm able to join him in the running process and I like it.  Now I have a partner to run on the weekends!

But, then there's a problem with those time on the weekends.  The time I usually am home, baking or cooking, is now divided.  I have less time to be in the kitchen and even lesser time to play around with food for my blog.  Consequently this blog will see fewer posts until track and field is done.  Oh well, such is life...  But, I have this cake recipe that I've been keeping on my computer for a while and I think it's time to write it down here before it gets way too old.  My family enjoyed this cake because there's banana and there's chocolate.  This cake didn't use eggs and has a potential to become a vegan cake if the milk used is substituted with vegan milk.  I didn't try it so I won't know how the flavor would turn out but this cake was plenty moist and scrumptious.  Do give it a try!

Chocolate Banana Cake with Glazed Walnuts

Yields one 8-inch cake

Banana Cake:
1/4 cup milk
6 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
6 Tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 1/4 cups mashed ripe bananas--approximately 5 medium bananas
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup walnuts, chopped, toasted--optional

Chocolate Cake:
2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup pure maple syrup
1 1/4 cup milk
6 Tablespoons melted coconut oil
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

Maple Glazed Walnuts:
1 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pure maple syrup

Dark Chocolate Glaze:
1 cup milk
1/2 pound high-quality extra dark chocolate--I used Lindt 70% bittersweet chocolate
1 vanilla bean, scraped
1 pinch salt

Preheat oven to 350F.

To make banana cake:  Lightly oil and dust a 8" round springform cake pan with flour, shaking out excess.

Put the milk, oil, maple syrup, vanilla and bananas in a blender and blend until smooth.  In a large bowl combine dry ingredients.  Add banana mixture and combine using as few strokes as possible.  Fold in walnuts.

Pour batter into cake pan and smooth the top.  Make the chocolate cake.

To make chocolate cake:  Lightly oil and dust a 8" round spring form cake pan with flour, shaking out excess.  In a large bowl, sift together flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Whisk to combine.

In a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, milk, melted coconut oil, vanilla and vinegar.  Whisk to combine.  Pour the wet ingredients into dry ingredients and whisk to remove any lumps.

Pour batter into cake pan and smooth the top.  Place in the oven with the banana cake, on the same rack if possible so they bake evenly,  and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 45-50 minutes.  Let cakes cool on the cooling rack for 10 minutes, then release the springform ring from the cakes.  Let cakes cool completely.

To make maple glazed walnuts:  In a dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast walnuts until fragrant.  Add maple syrup to the pan and toss quickly to coat.  Remove from pan to let cool.

To make dark chocolate glaze:  Slice vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds and place them in a small saucepan.  Add cold milk to the saucepan and warm slowly over medium heat.  When hot, remove from heat and add chocolate.  Stir until fully melted, whisk in a pinch of salt.  Keep warm.

To assemble cake:  Slice each cake in half horizontally.  Slice the very tops off the cakes to make them straight.

Start with one half of the chocolate cake on the bottom, spoon on about 1/4 of the glaze, with the majority being around the edge so that it oozes out when you place the next layer.  Place a banana cake layer on top of the chocolate layer and spoon on glaze, repeat until the top layer.  Pour the remaining glaze on top of the cake and top with maple glazed walnuts.  Serve.

Source:  adapted from My New Roots Apps by Sarah B.

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