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Banana, chocolate and walnut cake

Banana, chocolate and walnut cake

Just one of the  bonuses of running bread making courses if that I have to make a cake to take along to each one. This week’s choice was easy. I spied a couple of bananas on the side that were turning the wrong side of eating-ripe. If I am going to eat a banana (and I do, most days) a good eating banana is just a little underripe. But if I am going to make a banana cake then it needs to be at that “mash me now” stage, and these two were.

Dark chocolate and walnuts both have a wonderful affinity with a banana. They both have that slight bitterness that undercuts the sweetness of the banana. I topped the cake with a chocolate ganache for a bit of extra indulgence, but really it doesn’t need it.

This cake will also sit quite happily in a tin waiting to be eaten. In fact, I made this one on Monday for the course on Tuesday and I am just enjoying a slice of it today (Friday).

I am linking this with this month’s We Should Cocoa, hosted this month by Choclette over at her wonderful blog Tin and Thyme, which has  the theme of bananas. How very fortuitous. If you haven’t yet become acquainted with Choclette then get yourself over to her blog immediately and indulge yourself in her many wonderful recipes, many of them on a chocolate theme and all of them vegetarian.

Banana, chocolate and walnut cake 

Two medium-sized bananas
3 eggs, 2 separated
50ml milk
100ml sunflower oil
75g dark brown sugar
75g caster sugar
175g spelt flour (or you could use wholemeal or plain flour)
50g walnuts
4 tbsp cocoa powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp baking powder
50g dark chocolate, chopped roughly

Method

Preheat the oven to 160°c, gas mark 3 and use the centre of the oven or place the rack on the bottom runner of the baking oven of the Aga. Line a 2lb loaf tin with baking parchment making sure there is a rim of at least 2cm over the top of the tin.

Mash the bananas until smooth in a large bowl or jug. Add the whole egg and the two yolks, the milk and the oil. Mix together until well combined.

In a scrupulously clean bowl beat the two egg whites until stiff peaks are formed.

In another large bowl mix together the sugars, the walnuts and the chocolate. Sift over the flour, cocoa powder, bicarbonate of soda and the baking powder. If you are using wholemeal then make sure you tip in any bran left in the sieve.

Pour the banana mixture into the dry ingredients and stir until well combined. Add one-third of the egg white and mix well to loosen the mixture. Carefully fold in the rest of the egg white.

Pour the mixture into the prepared tin and place in the oven. Bake for 1 hour or until a skewer comes out clean. Check after 45 minutes and it may take 1 hour 15 minutes, depending on your oven. Leave to cool in the tin for 15 minutes and then turn out onto a wire rack to cool.

Chocolate ganache

80ml double cream
100g dark chocolate

Method

Chop the chocolate very finely or pulse in food processor until fine. Heat the cream in a heavy based saucepan until just simmering. Remove the cream from the heat, tip in the chocolate and leave for a minute. Stir until the ganache is smooth and glossy. Decorate the top of the cake with a thick layer of ganache, swirling the top.