Sometimes, I feel like this cake has been my life’s work. I’ve made it, altered it, changed it, and tried to perfect it so many times. I don’t know why, but sometimes when you have this dream idea for a recipe in your head, it’s quite easy to become obsessed with it. This was actually the first cake I made when I started blogging. Everything I’ve learnt now was completely new to me then, and I was just really enjoying messing around with lots of different ingredients and writing about my love of cooking. Banana cake has always been one of my favourite sweet treats, and in my opinion, the more banana-y the better, which is why there’s so many in this recipe.
I’ve tried a lot of different types of banana cake in my time – be it plain, with walnuts, as a loaf, with caramel, or with chocolate. So, the main challenge for me with this was to come up with my ultimate banana cake, something I would always want a slice of. As a serious chocoholic, I knew I had to include some of it in my recipe, and loving the texture of nuts in a cake, decided to also add them in for an element of crunch. So, based on this, I had my 3 ingredient foundation for my dream cake; banana, chocolate and nuts. And after many days, weeks and months later since the idea of it – and then creating and changing it, I finally completed my ultimate cake.
Rich in flavour and moist in texture, I was very happy to be tucking into a piece of this final version of my cake. To emphasise the banana flavours, I firstly baked them in the oven to bring out a caramely taste. I then combined them with dates, to sweeten the mixture, before adding in the flours and swirling in walnuts, pecans and chocolate pieces. After baking, I drizzled it in a rich chocolate glaze, and scattered with salted mixed nuts to complete this pure heaven. I hope you enjoy this recipe, and that it brings a new love for the humble banana loaf cake into your life. May you also be inspired to perfect, or make a new version of a recipe you love into the creation of your dreams. Enjoy!
banana, nut & chocolate loaf cake
serves about 10
for the cake:
1 1/2 cups (275g) dates
4-5 peeled bananas (450g)
3/4 cup (180ml) boiling water
2/3 cup (160ml) olive oil
1/4 cup (30g) millet flour
1/2 cup (50g) flax seeds
1/2 cup (85g) buckwheat flour
1/4 cup (35g) coconut flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tbsp apple cider vinegar
1 1/2 cup (215g) chocolate chunks – I sometimes use my chocolate fudge for this
1/2 cup (50g) chopped walnut pieces
1/2 cup (50g) chopped pecan pieces
for the chocolate glaze:
1/4 cup (30g) cocoa powder
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp milk of choice – I used rice, but any plant based version will do
2 tbsp maple syrup
vanilla, to taste
optional: mixed nuts, chocolate pieces, cocoa or whatever else you like to decorate.
PREHEAT YOUR OVEN TO 200 C /392 F
1. Firstly, slice each banana lengthways. Then, line a baking tray with a large sheet of foil – enough to cover them. Place each banana slice onto the foil, and wrap/cover them by folding over the sides of the foil. Place the bananas into the oven, and cook for about 12 minutes, until soft and moist.
2. In the meantime, add the dates into a food processor, blitz until roughly chopped, and set aside. Then, when the bananas have cooked, remove from the oven, and place them into a blender. Blend until a thick, smooth paste has formed. When this is done, scoop the banana mixture out and move into the food processor with the dates, followed by the boiling water, olive oil and flax seeds. Blend this mixture together until a fairly smooth, thick paste has formed.
3. Now, add in your flours. Pour the buckwheat flour, millet flour and coconut flour into the food processor, followed by the baking powder, bicarbonate of soda, cider vinegar and pinch of salt. (I like to pour the cider vinegar directly on top of where I scooped the baking powder and bicarbonate so that it fizzes). Blend the mixture again until smooth. When the cake mixture is done, roughly chop your walnuts and pecans and then add them into the batter with the chocolate chunks. Then, stir in the pieces by hand until evenly mixed throughout.
4. Now, line a standard loaf tin with baking parchment. Scoop the cake mixture out of the food processor, and into the tin. Move the cake into the oven, and cook for about 45 minutes, or until the top is firm, golden/brown and slightly crisp – the cake will still be soft in the middle. When the cake has cooked, remove from the oven and set aside to cool completely. I put mine in the freezer to speed up this process, so I recommend moving the cake into the freezer for about 35-45 minutes.
5. When the cake has cooled, remove from its tin, and peel away the baking parchment. Place the cake onto a plate ready to decorate, and set aside. Now, make the chocolate glaze. Add the cocoa powder, maple syrup, olive oil, milk and pinch of salt into a small pan. Place the pan onto a very low heat, and using a spoon, mix all of the ingredients together until smooth and glossy. Then, remove from the heat and pour over your cake straight from the pan or using a spoon to roughly cover the top of the loaf. Lastly, cover with a selection of nuts, cocoa or chocolate chunks to finish, before slicing and serving.