Ever since, I tried the Rosemary and Olive Oil cake in one of Stacey’s recent posts, I have been searching for other quick, no-fuss cakes. With Winter well and truly here this week, a pot of home brewed chai tea or freshly brewed coffee with a slice of cake is definitely one of those moments that nourishes the soul. Well, as long as there is a bit of dark chocolate added.
My new food mission is to ensure that any treats, whether savoury or sweet, that enter my house, must be of all natural ingredients and ones that you would most likely find in your fridge or pantry. Actually, I read an article recently on wholefood, and the suggestion was if a food item has ingredients that you would not find in your great-grandmother or great-great-grandmother’s pantry (depending on your generation), be wary. Most bought biscuits have all manner of interesting ingredients that are definitely not natural or have been contorted away from its natural source. Hydrogenated vegetable oil, vegetable oil (usually a saturated fat or palm oil which is highly refined), flavour and colour additives, are just to name a few.
In Jude Blereau’s Wholefood – 300 Recipes to Restore, Nourish, and Delight, a treasure in Stacey’s recipe collection that has now been added to my own, I discovered this banana cake. Hand-mixed in one bowl, wet added to dry, cannot get much quicker than that. Loaded with raisins, dates, walnuts and of course, banana, and a little spice, a comforting and nourishing food this is. In the Rosemary and Olive Oil cake, I loved the little pockets of melted and hard chocolate bits that appeared in each slice, so I had to add it to this one. A personal preference, of course. It will still measure up as a comfort food without. And, as an added bonus, this is a no sugar cake (minus the dark chocolate), as the dried fruit provide its sweetness. In fact, it is probably more a banana bread, than a cake.
Makes 1 loaf
1 cup whole wheat flour (wheat or spelt)
1 cup unbleached plain (all-purpose) flour (wheat or spelt)
2 1/2 tspns baking powder
1 tspn ground cinnamon
1/2 tspn mixed spice
1/2 cup golden raisins (or dark)
1/2 cup roughly chopped walnuts
1/2 cup fresh dates (or dried), pitted and roughly chopped
3 very ripe bananas, roughly mashed with a fork
1 – 2 bananas (extra), cut into small bits
5 tab unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup natural yoghurt
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk (dairy or soy)
100g dark chocolate (min. 70%), roughly chopped (optional)
Preheat oven to 180 degrees Celcius (350 F). Lightly grease a 4 cup capacity loaf pan and line the base and sides with baking paper.
Place the whole wheat flour in a bowl and sift in the unbleached flour and baking powder. Add the cinnamon, mixed spice, raisins, walnuts and dates and mix through so that the fruit is evenly distributed. Add the mashed bananas and all other ingredients, except the chocolate, and mix gently through. (You may need to add an extra tab. or two of milk, so that the batter moves well over the spoon as you mix it.) Add 2/3 of the chocolate and mix gently through.
Place into the loaf pan and sprinkle remaining chocolate over the top. Drag a fork gently across top to cover chocolate bits. Bake for 50 to 70 minutes, or until golden and cooked in the centre. Leave to cool for 15 minutes, then turn onto a cake rack.
Goodness shared from Donna