No matter the season, we have bananas in our kitchen fruit bowl. Fresh, local produce definitely takes precedence in the spring, summer and fall, but in the winter we lean on citrus, grapes, kiwis and the ever-present banana. My son loves to have half of a “bunny” with his breakfast and my girls like having an afternoon snack of bananas and peanut butter. Yet however many bananas we eat during the week, there are always a few that get a little too brown for our liking.
My family starts to get excited when there are brown bananas in the bowl. Speculations abound with what they could be turned into. Banana bread? Banana muffins? Banana pancakes? Banana cookies? If they’re lucky, and usually they are, I will have time to rescue the poor, sweet, browning beauties before they go completely around the bend, and turn them into something tasty again.
This time, the brown bananas became cake. Think tender, sweet, banana-bread-like cake with a cruchy sugar-pecan top. Then picture warm chocolate sauce drizzled over a piece and then swoon a little as you drop a mental dollop of whipped cream on top. As decadent as this sounds, it’s pretty easy and includes a boost in nutrition from Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour. Whole wheat pastry flour is so finely ground that its texture is hardly noticeable in most recipes and is easy to incorporate into this banana cake without any complaints from the little ones. Repurposing over-ripe fruit + whole wheat goodness = cake that tastes great and gets more whole grains onto your plate. Sounds good to me.
Begin by mixing together the dry ingredients into a medium sized bowl – set aside. In a small bowl, mash up the banana and stir in the vanilla extract – set this aside, too. Cream together the butter and sugar (don’t forget to reserve a tablespoon of the sugar for the topping), mix in the eggs, sour cream and mashed banana mixture.
Stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in the bowl and mix or stir just until everything is incorporated.
Pour the batter into a buttered nine-inch cast-iron skillet or similar-sized buttered cake pan and scatter the chopped pecans over the top. Next, sprinkle the reserved tablespoon of sugar over the top, too. Bake the cake at 350˚F for about 30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.
While the cake is baking, make the chocolate sauce by combining the cream and brown sugar together in a small saucepan over low heat and simmering until the sugar has dissolved. Be sure to stir it while it’s simmering. Next, bring the mixture to a quick boil over high heat, then remove the pan from the heat and add the chopped chocolate. Whisk the mixture together until the chocolate is melted and the sauce is smooth. Whip some lightly-sweetened whipped cream if you want to take this dessert up another notch. It’s purely optional, but very tasty.
Let the cake cool for about 20 minutes and then cut into wedges to serve warm with chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Looks delicious now- just wait until you take a bite. So good!
Need to rescue some browning bananas in your own fruit bowl? Put your bag of Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour to good use and bake up a Banana Pecan Cake with Warm Chocolate Sauce. Brown bananas never tasted so good. Enjoy!
Banana Pecan Cake with Warm Chocolate Sauce
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup mashed banana (about 2-3 small bananas)
- ¾ cup Hodgson Mill Whole Wheat Pastry Flour
- ¾ cup Hodgson Mill Naturally White All Purpose Flour
- ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 cup sugar
- ½ cup unsalted butter, slightly softened
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- ½ cup sour cream, at room temperature
- 1/3 cup pecans, very coarsely chopped
- 3 Tablespoons brown sugar
- ½ cup heavy cream
- 2 ½ ounces semisweet chocolate, finely chopped
- 1 cup heavy cream
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- ¼ teaspoon vanilla
Mash the bananas in a small bowl and stir in the vanilla extract. Set aside. In a medium-sized bowl, mix together the flours, baking soda, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Set aside. Reserving one tablespoon of sugar, cream together the remaining sugar and butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the eggs and mix until well combined. Mix in the sour cream and banana mixture at slow speed or by hand. It’s okay if the mixture looks a bit curdled- it will come back together with the dry ingredients. Mix in the dry ingredients just until incorporated. Pour the batter into a well-buttered nine-inch cast-iron skillet or similarly-sized buttered cake pan. Scatter the pecans over the top and then sprinkle the reserved tablespoon of sugar over the top, too. Bake for about 30 minutes at 350˚F until golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the middle of the cake comes out clean.
To make the chocolate sauce, combine the whipped cream and brown sugar in a small saucepan. Stir together over low heat and simmer until the sugar has dissolved. Bring the mixture to a quick boil, remove from the heat and stir in the chopped chocolate until it is smooth. Set aside to serve warm with the banana cake.
To make the whipped cream, combine the heavy cream, sugar and vanilla in a large mixing bowl and whip until you have soft peaks.
Adapted from: Come for Dinner: Memorable Meals to Share with Friends by Leslie Revsin