Ryan Thomas is a university student who enjoys cooking recipes from a wide variety of culinary traditions.
Blackberries grow like weeds in the Pacific Northwest. To put it frankly, the speed at which they sortie forth from the soil is stunning. At the beginning of this past summer, the effectively abandoned garden at my house had been nearly empty, save for a small growth of blackberries in one part. Now, at summer's end, it is completely overgrown, a savage forest of them. But while this obviously is to the detriment of other plants, it does mean that one can harvest this sweet and strong berry with hardly any effort—just be careful of the thorns, and the plump, ripe, black fruit falls from the vines.
Naturally, this overgrowth of blackberry bushes was entirely too good to pass up. Using an angel food cake recipe as a base (which helps prevent the whole cake from becoming too dense, if alas, naturally the combination of so many ingredients lends to it a hearty composition), I added chocolate—principally in cocoa powder but also chocolate chips—as well as shredded coconut to create a refined cake, the chocolate with the hint of fruits bursting through. A layer of bananas in the cake help separate it into two sections, making both a pretty visual spectacle when cut, but also adding an additional richness and balance of flavors.
To complete the picture, I added on an adaption of an Indonesian flaming banana recipe, changing it to make it into a sauce that would be suitable for the cake. To me, the banana completes the picture, adding on a delicious extra touch of energetic sweetness to top it off. I reserved part of banana topping in a cup to pour over the cake when serving, but if one does not want this, the size of the banana recipe can be cut by perhaps a third.
Although my recipe version does not have whipped cream, this is an eminently good option: perhaps for those people who do not like bananas, it could even serve to replace these in the cake.
- 12 egg whites
- 1/2 cup cocoa powder
- 4 cups blackberries
- 3/4 cup + 1/2 cup + 1/2 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
- 1 teaspoon cream of tartar
- 1/3 cup chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup sweetened shredded coconut
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup flour
- 5 bananas, peeled
- 2 cups white wine, (preferably of a sweet variety)
- 4 tablespoons butter
- 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
- To prepare the blackberries, first wash them, then put the 4 cups of blackberries into a blender or food processor, which will make them into a paste. Then put them through a sieve into a bowl, preventing the seeds from coming through. There will be a quite substantial amount of seeds left behind.
- Place the 12 egg whites into a bowl, and add in 1/2 teaspoon of salt. Beat on medium speed for 2 minutes, then add in the rest of the salt, beat 2 more minutes on high speed, or until it reaches smooth peaks, then add in 1/2 cup sugar, 2 teaspoons vanilla extract, and the cream of tartar, and beat until all ingredients are well integrated and there are firm peaks.
- Sift together the flour, 3/4 cups of sugar, and the cocoa powder, then proceed to fold this into the meringue. Add the blackberry liquid, chocolate chips, and the shredded coconut, and mix it all together. Pour into a greased, or coated with non-stick spray, soufflé dish or Bundt pan, and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 60 minutes, covered with tin foil on the top to prevent burning.
- Once the cake has cooled somewhat, cut it horizontally into two layers, then place thinly sliced banana pieces from 2 bananas onto the top of the bottom layer, then put the top layer back on.
- In a small saucepan over high heat, bring 1/2 cup of sugar and 2 cups of wine to boiling, and boil for 20 minutes, until it reduces significantly.
- In a large skillet, melt the butter over medium heat then put in 3 remaining bananas which have been peeled, sautéeing until they start to brown for several minutes, and then add in the cloves, cinnamon, and nutmeg, mashing the bananas. Add in the wine and continue to cook for several more minutes. The bananas should be well mashed and integrated with the other ingredients so it is a liquid sauce.
- Pour the sauce over the cake and spread it around. Reserve 1/3 of it for reheating and pouring over slices when served, or if desired put it with the bananas in the middle of the cake. Although whipped cream is not included in this recipe, it is a good addition and consider providing it if wanted, particularly but not necessarily as a replacement for the banana sauce.
- Refrigerate until serving.
© 2018 Ryan Thomas