I truly hope all of you are staying healthy during these challenging times. There are some silver linings in the quarantine clouds. Many people are baking more and conducting experiments in the kitchen, and I’m right along there with them. At least, so far, my clothes still fit.
One new habit I’ve picked up recently is afternoon tea served with some sort of baked good. This week it’s this Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip tea cake, a recipe that I’ve been baking for years. We had some elderly bananas to use up, I thought of this, and I’m so glad I did. The bananas make the cake super moist. If you warm it up, the chocolate chips become a little gooey, and it makes for a yummy snack with a cup of tea.
One important note – the first time I made this, it glued itself to the pan. That’s how I also know this cake makes a great trifle. After chiseling cake chunks out of the pan, I realized that it was just too good to throw away, so I layered them in a glass bowl with some pastry cream. Now when I make this, I grease the pan, cover it with parchment and grease that as well.
The original recipe also calls for sifting the dry ingredients. I usually just use a whisk and you can do that too. However, the last time I was in Helena, Montana, I found this really cool old sifter at a place called Golden Girls Antiques Mall. Wow! What a store — it’s huge and they have anything old that you can possibly imagine. I’ve got my eye on their huge selection of Fiesta Ware in every color imaginable. This could be a problem for my pocketbook as well as kitchen storage after we move there.
I especially love that this sifter says Acme. My favorite cartoon as a child (and even now) was Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner. Acme was frequently seen as the brand of choice for all the tools the coyote used to try to capture the Road Runner. Now I’m reliving my cartoon-watching childhood by using an Acme sifter for baking.
Whole Wheat Banana Chocolate Chip Tea Cake
Yield: 1 9-inch Loaf
I swapped out half of the all-purpose flour for whole wheat to give this cake a little more fiber, but that’s totally optional. If you use very ripe bananas, no need to mash them first; just toss them into the mixer bowl while it’s running. This cake freezes really well. Just warm up individual frozen slices in the microwave.
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
2 teaspoons cocoa powder
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup miniature semisweet chocolate chips
8 tablespoons (4 ounces) butter
1 cup sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
3 small (1 cup) very ripe bananas
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9-inch loaf pan, cover in parchment, and grease again.
Sift the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt onto a piece of parchment or waxed paper or whisk in a bowl. Place the chocolate chips in a small bowl and mix with one teaspoon of the flour mixture.
Using a mixer fitted with a paddle, cream the butter on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add the sugar in two additions, beating for 2 minutes after each addition. Add the eggs one at a time, beating for 30 seconds after each one. Add the vanilla extract and bananas and mix well, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Switch the mixer to low speed and add the flour mixture in two batches mixing just until the flour is mixed in. Be careful not to overmix. Stir in the chocolate chips.
Scrape the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 1 hour or longer, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool the hot pan on a rack for 10 minutes then remove the cake from the pan and place on a rack until completely cool.
Adapted from Chocolate Chocolate by Lisa Yockelson