Sunday, May 18, 2008

Bananas, bananas and more bananas

Banana bread and banana cake was one of many quests from my earlier days of random experimentation. All recipes at that time came from my one and only cookbook. Yes, it was the bridal shower gift, the BC Cookbook of course! It wasn't until years later that I discovered there were hundreds of great Cookbooks and yes, baking books one better than the other. Although I am desperately trying to contain myself these days, it seems I have a "collection". Ah, but that is another story now back to bananas.

My earliest experience with one of natures most perfect food was a cake that always seemed to be a bit on the rubbery side. After several unsuccessful tries with many alterations I decided to move on, not looking back until now. I unexpectedly found myself with 18 perfectly ripe bananas and not a clue what to do with them. Pudding was out of the question, it just didn't use enough of the yellow things to put a dent in the supply. So, I went searching through my "collection" (did I admit to having a "collection" again?) of baking books. Much to my surprise I found an interesting recipe in "Tartine" by Elisabeth Prueitt & Chad Robertson which called for not one but 4 bananas per loaf. I simply had to try it. I am happy to report the texture is cake-like, very moist, very flavorful, and it freezes well. My usual array of tasters all love it, so it is a must try. Thank you "Tartine"!!!

Banana-Date Tea Cake

  • 1 c + 2tbs Flour
  • 2 tbs Cornstarch
  • 1 tsp Cinnamon
  • 2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 tsp Baking Soda
  • 3 medium Bananas, ripe
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp Vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 6 tbs Butter, at room temp
  • 3/4 c + 2tbs Sugar
  • 1 c Walnuts, coarse chopped
  • 1 3/4 c Dates, pitted, coarse chopped


  • 1 medium Banana
  • 2 tbs Sugar

Preheat the oven to 325. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of 9x5" loaf pan. In a mixing bowl, combine flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking powder and baking soda; stir to mix and set aside. Peel bananas and in a second bowl mash with fork until you have chunky puree. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt to the bananas and mix well; set aside. In a third mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and creamy. Slowly add the sugar and beat until light and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the banana mixture and beat until incorporated scraping down the sides. Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the banana mixture. Then fold in the nuts and the dates. Scrape down the sides of the bowl making sure all the ingredients are fully incorporated. Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and smooth the surface. To top the cake, peel the last banana and cut lengthwise into 4 long slices. Lay the slices on the top of the batter. Sprinkle with sugar.

Bake until a cake tester comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, and then invert pan onto rack. Turn right side up and let cool completely. Serve cake at room temperature.

Enjoy, I know we did!

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