Chocolate Banana Cake

These days, when I'm snuggling Joan to sleep I tell her a story. The story is about a girl who lives by the beach and likes to surf. Joan becomes very vocal in the storyline, nudging it in a particular direction or telling me which characters to include. As a result, instead of the grand adventures I have planned, the girl in the story will invariably end up baking and eating white cookies and pink cookies. Because to Joan, there's nothing greater in life. In the story, I describe the baking process - assembling the bowls, whisk and measuring cups, combining the flour and baking powder..."And salt!", Joan will chime in. She always reminds me when I forget the salt. 

A few weeks ago, the two of us baked a cake. Nudged this time by the ingredients I had available, and not Joan's preference for pink, I chose to adapt a Green Kitchen Stories chocolate cake. The method was simple and I only needed to adjust the ingredients by replacing almond meal with spelt flour, and then, to compensate for the lack of fat and moisture in spelt, slightly increasing the oil content. It worked perfectly and a couple of weeks later when I found myself once more with  two too-ripe bananas, I baked it again - this time for my father's birthday. 

This isn't a fancy cake. It's neither rich or tricky to pull together, and for that reason I call it an everyday cake. Like the banana cake of my childhood, I imagine baking it often and leaving it on the counter for people to slice slivers as they wish. Despite the fact that it was a cake and not a white or pink cookie, Joan enjoyed it. We ate thick slices with little cups of peppermint tea, while discussing all the ingredients that went into it. There was flour, cacao powder, baking powder, eggs, banana, cacao powder, olive oil, maple syrup, vanilla... "AND salt!".


Chocolate Banana Cake

1 & 3/4 cup (220g) spelt flour*
1/2 cup (45g) raw cacao powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
a pinch of sea salt
2 eggs
2 verrrrry ripe bananas** (combined weight 250g with the skin off)
1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup pure maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

* I used unbleached white spelt flour. You could try using regular wheat flour but I haven't tested it and the texture will be altered. See here and scroll down to check how you're measuring flour.
** the riper/blacker, the sweeter the cake will be. If yours are less ripe/sweet, consider adding a tablespoon or two of sugar or extra maple. 

1. Preheat the oven to 180 degrees Celsius
2. Butter then line a 20cm cake tin with baking paper and set aside.
3. Place the flour, cacao, baking powder and salt in a large mixing bowl. Whisk to aerate and remove lumps.
4. In another large mixing bowl, whisk the eggs vigorously for a good minute. Mash in the bananas, then add the oil, syrup and vanilla and stir.
5. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently fold the mixture until the flour is wet.
6. Pour the batter into the prepared cake tin and bake in the oven for 30-35minutes, until a skewer inserted into the middle comes out clean. If your oven is super keen, check it earlier. In my oven it takes about 30 minutes to cook, though one time I turned the heat up a little too high and by 25 minutes it was done.

Heidi xo