I love cooking healthy things. Clean desserts are my favorite things to bake.
I actually tried baking a dessert yesterday, which is unchartered territory for me, as I normally prefer raw goodies. Starting a blog made me want to give making banana bread a crack, and I'm so happy it turned out well! I had wanted to wing it, but I ended up following a recipe from a paleo "fudge hearts" chocolate cake just to make sure I didn't muck up the ratios of the ingredients and have it turn to total mush or be a depressing, dried-out husk.
The results were better than I expected, which was a relief (confirmed by Dad and one of my sisters—phew!). It wasn't dry on the inside, which I really like with banana cake. I think I have some sort of conviction that banana bread or cake cannot be completely dry on the inside (which is what I was thinking might happen). It is a serious offense against the Banana Confectionary Committee.
That being said, on to the recipe!
- 2 cups soaked dates (soaked for at least half an hour, see note below)
- 3 cups walnuts
- 3 small bananas (or 2 large)
- 3/4 cup coconut oil (to be melted)
- 4 eggs
- 2 heaping teaspoons mesquite powder (optional—it gives a caramel malty flavour. See details below on what it is.)
- 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
A Note on the Dates
I use dried, pitted dates. You probably think I'm a weirdo because I soak them anyway, but it's what I'm used to. If you used medjool dates, I think you'd come out with a different result and a different flavour. Plus, I can't be bothered to spend time pitting all the dates! However, it would be interesting to experiment with using them instead.
- Preheat the oven to 180°C on fan-forced.
- Drain the soaked dates and blend them until they become a paste in the blender. Then add the walnuts, bananas and the melted coconut oil. Blend until smooth. Add in the eggs, cinnamon and mesquite powder (if using). Blend until all ingredients are thoroughly mixed.
- Pour into greased, or baking-papered, cake tin and place in the oven. Leave it for 20 mins in the oven on 180°C, then for 15 mins at 160°C.
- Bring the steaming deliciousness out to cool and firm up on a cooling rack.
- I left the baking paper on the bottom of the cake (and just pulled it down around the edges of the cake) for fear of it falling apart when I went at it with a spatula. It was totally fine after it had time to breathe, though.
How to Serve the Cake
I experimented with serving it with coconut cream, but I think it's too much of a strong flavour, and it detracts from the flavour of the banana cake. I think next time I'll try making some sort of caramel sauce/icing out of cashews, mesquite and dates to go with it.
Anyway, happy baking, and enjoy!
Wait, What Is Mesquite?
This information about mesquite is taken from Loving Earth. You should definitely check out their website; they have lots of bits and pieces that come handy in cooking or for a snack (I'll also be posting more about it as I upload more recipes using it).
Used as a staple food for centuries by desert dwellers, this high protein meal contains good quantities of calcium, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc, and is rich in the amino acid lysine as well. Its low GI of 25 helps maintain stable blood sugar levels. Mesquite flour not only stabilises blood sugar but it also tastes great: sweet with a slightly nutty wild flavour and a hint of caramel. It blends well into smoothies or other drinks, especially those made with Cacao and Maca.