Bananas and I have a love-hate relationship. Even though we don’t buy a ton of bananas, by the end of every week I find at least half a dozen of them past their prime, staring me in the face and begging to NOT eat them as they are. Which is a good thing actually, because an overripe banana is a thing of far, far greater potential than a ripe banana. I have never been much of an “eat a banana as it is” fan and it’s only when the fruit turns black, mushy and completely ugly that I get excited by it. Bananas are staple sugar-substitutes in our house. I eat a tbsp or two of mashed ripe banana in my oatmeal and don’t even feel the need to add honey or maple syrup. I freeze bananas by the bulk and make milkshakes (you can check out the chocolatey and caffeinated versions) with them, and trust me they don’t need an iota of sugar! But my favourite way to put them to use is to bake with them. I bake banana breads all the time! I play around with the flavours and change the toppings depending on what I have right then, but chocolate chips and pecans are an all-time hit.
Last Wednesday, I mashed up 8 such perfectly overripe bananas and stashed them in a pyrex container, mentally designating Thursday to be my multiple Banana Bread baking day. But as luck would have it, barely hours after doing that, I met with an accident, and here I am, wounded in my knee and rib cage and lying on the bed, completely incapacitated to do anything. I’m sure by the time I’m fit enough to walk and subsequently cook, the pyrex contents won’t be in a state to bake with. I hate food wastage, but such is life. You can’t really make everything go according to plan.
As I sit on my bed writing this post, I can’t help but hark back to this Banana Chocolate Chip Hazelnut Cake that I baked last year. It is primarily made of wholewheat, has bare minimum brown sugar and gets most of its sweetness from the bananas. Sprinkled with chocolate chips (the amount of which you can completely regulate) and hazelnuts, this cake is a perfect example of decadent dessert made healthier. I cut it into big chunks and took to my office in Bangalore. After taking a couple of bites of the cake, one of my (female) colleagues walked up to me and asked in jest, “Pritha, can I marry you?” Yeah, this cake is THAT good.
Wholewheat Banana Chocolate Chip Hazelnut CakePrint
- Bananas, overripe and mashed: 3
- Wholewheat flour: 125 gm
- All purpose flour: 25 gm
- Butter, room temperature: 60 gm
- Vegetable oil: 30 ml
- Eggs: 2
- Brown sugar: 50 gm
- Baking powder: 1.5 tsp
- Baking soda: 0.5 tsp
- Cinnamon powder: 1 tsp
- Salt: a pinch
- Vanilla bean paste: 1 tsp
- Milk: 2-3 tbsp
- Chocolate chips: 100 gm, divided
- Hazelnuts: 100 gm, divided (you can substitute any kind of nuts)
1. Preheat oven to 180 degree C. Grease a round 8-inch baking pans and line the base with a baking parchment and butter the sides. Set aside.
2. In a bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt. Set aside.
3. In another bowl, cream the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Add the mashed bananas and mix again.
4. Now gradually fold in the dry ingredients bit by bit and blend till just combined. Mix half of the chocolate chips and hazelnuts and fold well. Add the milk to smoothen the batter and the vanilla bean paste.
5. Pour the batter in the prepared baking pan. Bake for 35-40 minutes or until a tester inserted at the centre comes out clean. Cool on a wire rack for 20 min or so before unmoulding.
6. Serve warm with tea, coffee or milk.