Chocolate Banana Nut Cake
I've come to something of a sad realization. It seems that I just don't particularly like the banana/chocolate combination. This is the third time I've tried it, so I've given it a go, but I'd just rather have each on its own. Banana bread? Yes please! Chocolate cake? Don't mind if I do. But I really just don't think they need to be combined, at least not on my plate. But maybe you don't agree. And anyway, I don't think it's the recipe's fault. As I said, it's a matter of taste.
So the recipe. If you love to bake, and you love to blog-surf, you've probably heard of The Greyston Bakery Cookbook. It comes from a bakery in Yonkers, New York, which has made it its mission to employ people from the local community, and to pay them fair and living wadges. To support, in other words, the community that supports them. Their profits help fund the Greyston Foundation, which also provides a variety of services to the community. You may have also heard of the cookbook's author Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan. She's the founding editor of the ultimate food blog, Apartment Therapy's TheKitchen.
So there are plenty of reasons to get behind the book. And there are quite a few things I know I would love. Things like Raspberry Ginger Cheesecake, After-Dinner Mint Torte, and a Toasted Caramel Almond Tart. See, now these are flavor combinations I can get behind.
Chocolate Banana Nut Cake
Adapted from Sara Kate Gillingham-Ryan's The Greystone Bakery Cookbook
3/4 cups unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup ground walnuts
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
2 cups (5-6) very ripe bananas
3 eggs, lightly beaten
3/4 cup chopped walnuts
With a rack in the middle of the oven, preheat it to 350F. Grease a 10" round cake pan and set aside. I used a springform pan because that's the only one I have that's 10" and it made removal very easy.
Melt the butter in a saucepan over low heat. Then add the chocolate and stir until both are completely melted. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, whisk the flour, sugar, ground walnuts, baking powder, baking soda and salt together in a large bowl. Add the buttermilk, vanilla and mashed bananas and stir until just combined. Set aside.
Stir the eggs into the chocolate mixture which should have cooled slightly by this time. Continue to stir until the eggs and chocolate are well combined, then add the chocolate mixture to the flour mixture and stir until well combined (again!).
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for 25 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven and sprinkle the chopped nuts over the top. Return to the oven and continue baking for another 25 minutes or a bit longer, until it passes the toothpick test.
Allow the cake to cook on a cooling rack for about 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Let it cool completely before serving with milk or whipped cream.