I grew up with banana plants growing in the backyard. So to me, bananas are not the year-round fruits that you find in just about every market in the world, but fruits you waited for until just ripe to pick off the plant. And when they were ready, you ended up with loads of them.
Needless to say, the picked-too-early green bananas that are piled on my local market shelves don’t have the same appeal to me. But now and then, I crave sweet, ripe bananas — and what better way to enjoy them than in a delicious cake?!
Here the sweet bananas are mixed with rich Brazil nuts and teased by swirls of dark chocolate to make a most luxurious cake — one that might even make you dream of the tropics.
- 1 1/2 Cup unbleached all-purpose flour
- 2 Teaspoons baking powder, preferably aluminum-free
- 1/4 Teaspoon sea salt
- 1 1/2 Cup mashed, very ripe bananas (from about 3-4 medium-sized bananas)
- 1 Tablespoon dark rum or brandy
- 1 Teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 Cups sugar, preferably organic
- 1/2 Cup unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for the loaf pan
- 2 extra-large eggs, at room temperature
- 1/2 Cup Brazil nuts or walnuts, chopped coarsely
- 6 Ounces semisweet chocolate, melted in a double-boiler and kept warm
- 2 Teaspoons turbinado sugar, for garnish
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Place the flour, baking powder, and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Stir well and set aside. Place the bananas, rum, vanilla extract, and ¼ cup of the sugar in a medium-sized bowl. Whisk until well blended and set aside.
Place the butter and remaining sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer. Mix on medium speed until creamy. Add the eggs 1 at a time and continue mixing on medium speed until well incorporated and smooth. Add the flour mixture and fold until just incorporated.
Add the banana mixture and fold with a wooden spoon until incorporated. Divide the batter in half. Add the chopped nuts to one half and fold until just incorporated. Add the chocolate to the other half and fold until just incorporated.
Butter a 9-by-5-by-3-inch loaf pan, line with waxed paper, and butter again. Pour the batters alternatively into the pan. Run a knife from side to side through the cake a few times to mix the batters together. Sprinkle the top of the cake with the sugar.
Bake until golden-brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, for 60-70 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool in its mold. Loosen the cake by gently pulling up on the waxed paper and then lifting it from the pan. Peel the waxed paper off and serve slightly warm or at room temperature.