Spiced Banana Coffee Cake

Hello World!

It’s me again (quelle surprise!!!!) broadcasting from Lausanne where things are gettin’ chilly. I’m talking leggings-under-your-tights-under-your-jeans type stuff, at least for me. (When it comes to the cold, I wimp out faster than a Chihuahua who accidentally found himself on an elite dog mushers team delivering milk in rural Alaska.) However, the one good thing about cold weather is the opportunity to craft yummy and delicious things in the kitchen, which also provides an excuse to stay indoors. Take this banana streusel coffee cake for example: good enough for breakfast…..dessert….. all the time. 24/7. Infinite coffee cake.

Some pals and I have a little dinner rotation going during the week and, as yesterday was my night to cook, I made this cake for the grand finale. We had some perfectly speckled bananas lying around and I figured, why put them to waste?! (I get pretty picky when it comes to the texture of bananas I’m willing to eat and I always feel awful throwing them away and rejecting them. Problem solved!)

To spice things up a bit, you could replace the 3 mashed bananas in this recipe with anything else of a similar density or texture for an entirely new cake. Pumpkin purée, sour cream, chocolate pudding- the choice is yours!!!

Spiced Banana Coffee Cake 

For the cinnamon streusel:

  • 2/3 cup white whole-wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup brown or cane sugar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • pinch of salt
  • 6 tablespoons unsalted butter, cold

For the cake:

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole-wheat flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 7 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 6 tablespoons white sugar
  • 6 tablespoons brown or cane sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ¾ cup smashed bananas (about 3)

Directions:

1. Preheat an oven to 350°F (around 180°C) and grease a medium sized loaf pan or 9 inch cake pan.

2. For the streusel, combine the flour, brown sugar, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl. Cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the mixture looks like coarse crumbs. Set aside.

3. For the cake, whisk the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a medium bowl and set aside. In a separate bowl, beat together the butter and sugars until well combined. Beat in the eggs, one at a time, and add the bananas. Mix until just combined and slowly add in the flour mixture.

4. Spread half of the batter in the prepared pan and sprinkle half of the streusel over the batter. Top with the rest of the batter and remaining streusel. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 30-40 minutes. Allow cake to cool for a few minutes on a wire rack and serve!

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Fudge-tastic Two-Bite Brownies

Chocolate is something which I really like. I usually can never get enough of the stuff and when I do it’s quite rare and pigs begin to sprout wings and horses do math problems and all that. And when we move into the category of the dense, soft and sticky chocolate baked goods variety, I’m head over heels in sweet love. I still don’t have any eggs or butter in the fridge but that’s okay. These lovely little delights turned out perfectly anyways!

Something else I love is my mini muffin pan. Or today, known as a two bite brownie pan. They’re perfect for baking informal little treats that could probably be eaten in one bite as well. Additionally, when using a fairly liquid batter, mini muffin pans are always a winning idea to ensure your dish will bake through. (I always seem to run into this problem when using loaf pans and untried quick bread batter. I think I’ll start crafting mini muffins instead)

What makes these brownies so indulgent-forgiving is their secret ingredient: pumpkin puree. I find that pumpkin itself has a rather subtle taste, easily masked and lightened by other distinctive flavors such as chocolate or cinnamon. Also, rather than using applesauce or a ripened, smashed banana, pumpkin puree is thicker and more substancial, leading to an overall heightened fudge-tastic experience in this particular baking round.

Plus, these brownies provide a great avenue to get that extra veggie (well, technically fruit) boost, especially for picky eaters who might not receive it otherwise. With all those vitamins A, C, K, and E, and minerals such as magnesium, potassium, iron, a little bit of pumpkin and chocolate will help your mind and body BTHO the coming weeks before summer!

Two-Bite Fudge Brownies

Yield: 18 Brownies

Ingredients:

1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 cup white whole wheat flour

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup sugar

1/2 cup pumpkin puree

3 tablespoons canola oil

1.5 tablespoons honey

2 tablespoons milk of choice

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/2 cup (vegan) chocolate chips

Directions

Preheat the oven to 350 F. In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, salt, sugar, baking powder, and cocoa powder and set aside. In a small bowl, combine the oil, honey, milk, and vanilla and add to the flour mixture. Fold in chocolate chips. Grease a mini muffin pan and fill indentions with a heaping teaspoon of batter. Bake for 10 minutes or until a toothpick inserted comes out clean.