Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

A couple weekends ago I was invited to a brunch with Food 52 and a handful of creative women entrepreneurs, hosted by Ellen of Hedley and Bennett. I originally planned to bring something savory until I remembered that savory foods are not my strong suit. Thankfully I had these ripened bananas on the counter that were begging to be baked with. They fit perfectly in with the brunch theme and I'm happy to report that the cake was very much enjoyed. 

My recipe calls for almond flour, which I added for added flavor and a bit of toothiness/texture. You are also welcome to replace all the flour with whole wheat pastry flour to make a more nutritious cake (if there's such a thing, ha!). Lastly, if you don't like chocolate chips you can also leave them out. I personally love using bittersweet chocolate for a hint of bitterness for balance. Oh! I've also tried olive oil which lends some grassiness and would probably prefer a more neutral tasting oil. But that's all up to you! It's a fun and easy recipe that can be customized to your tastes and what you have on hand.  

Banana Chocolate Chip Cake

1 cup cane sugar
1 cup all purpose flour
1/3 cup almond meal
1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
3 very ripe bananas
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup plain yogurt
1/4 cup chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour an 8" round cake pan and line the bottom with parchment paper.

In a medium bowl, whisk together sugar, flour, almond meal, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, with a hand whisk, mix together yogurt, oil, and eggs until smooth. Add banana and mash until mostly combined, leaving bits of banana in tact. Add dry ingredients to wet and mix until just combined. Mix in chocolate chips.

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 40 minutes. Let cool for 5 minutes before inverting onto a cooling rack. Enjoy warm or let cool completely if frosting.

Cream Cheese Frosting

4 oz cream cheese (room temperature)
4 tbsp unsalted butter (room temperature)
1/2 cup powdered sugar

With a hand or stand mixer, beat cream cheese until smooth and no lumps remain. Add butter and beat until smooth. Turn mixer to low and gradually add sugar to desired sweetness. To aid in spreadability, do not over mix. 

Spicy Cinnamon Date Brownies - gluten free, Grain Free, dairy free, refined sugar free

Brownies are one of my favorite indulgent treats. They're simple to throw together without any complicated steps or long resting times. They're also delicious both warm out of the oven and cooled and stored overnight. The only downside is the large proportion of sugar most recipes have. I came up with this recipe to curb the sugar content but still satisfy my brownie cravings.  These are made with Lily's baking bar chocolate, which is dairy free and sweetened with a hint of stevia. 

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Spicy Cinnamon Date Brownies (gluten free, grain free, dairy free, sugar free)

1 cup almond flour
1 lily's premium baking bar (4 oz)
1/3 cup coconut oil
7 medjool dates, pitted
3 large eggs
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350 F. Grease and line 8" square baking pan with coconut oil and parchment paper.

In a double boiler over medium heat, melt Lily's premium baking bar with coconut oil until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, baking powder, cinnamon, pepper, and salt.

With a blender of food processor, blend dates until smooth. Add eggs and continue to blend until incorporated, then pour in melted chocolate mixture and blend until smooth. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients and fold together with a rubber spatula. Pour batter into prepared baking pan and bake for 18-20 minutes. Let cool before cutting. Finish with a drizzle of melted chocolate and a pinch of salt. Makes 9 brownies.

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Lily's Mint Chocolate + Pomegranate Cake - gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

Since I can remember, I've always had a sweet tooth. As I child I would carefully ration out my Halloween candy to last throughout the year. I liked them all--dum dums, tootsie rolls, and even smarties. But my favorites were anything with chocolate. Those would always disappear first. 

Now that I'm older and much more conscious about the food I consume, those childhood chocolate bars are far and few between. Luckily I recently learned about Lily's, a chocolate bar company with no sugar added and instead sweetened with stevia. In the past I hadn't enjoyed stevia sweetened treats as they tended to have a strange aftertaste. So naturally I was apprehensive when I first tried Lily's, but to my surprise there was no odd flavor but instead an honestly delicious chocolate bar! 

Lily's recently came out with a stevia sweetened baking bar and asked me to try it out, so I came up with this mint chocolate and pomegranate cake. The baking bar melted, baked and even made chocolate curls like a dream, without a hint that this cake was baked without any refined sugar. As a plus, it's also gluten free and dairy free to fit a variety of dietary restrictions.

Mint Chocolate + Pomegranate Cake
gluten free, dairy free, refined sugar free

1/2 cup oil, such as olive or coconut
1/2 cup Lily's chocolate baking bar, chopped
2 large eggs
1/2 cup coconut nectar
1 1/2 cup almond flour
1/4 cup buckwheat flour
1 1/4 tsp baking powder
1/4 cup almond milk
3-4 sprigs fresh mint, leaves roughly torn
mint chocolate ganache (recipe below)
fresh pomegranate seeds
fresh mint for garnish
Lily's chocolate baking bar, for garnish

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Prepare 6"  (3" tall) round pan by greasing bottom and sides with oil and lining bottom with parchment paper. 

In a small saucepan, infuse almond milk with fresh mint leaves over medium low heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove mint leaves and add Lily's baking bar chocolate and oil, mixing occasionally with a rubber spatula until smooth. Remove from heat and set aside.

In a medium bowl, whisk together almond flour, buckwheat flour, and baking powder. Set aside.

In a separate bowl, using a hand or stand mixer, whisk eggs and coconut nectar on medium-high speed until thickened and pale, about 6-8 minutes. With a rubber spatula, fold 1/3 dry ingredients until just incorporated, then pour 1/2 chocolate mixture and mix until just combined. Repeat process, ending with dry ingredients. 

Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until a skewer comes out with a few crumbs. Let cool for 10 minutes then invert on wire rack to cool completely.

To assemble, place cake on plate or stand, then immediately pour ganache while still warm. Use an offset spatula to gently smooth ganache to drip over the edges. Top with sprigs of fresh mint and pomegranate seeds. To finish, use a vegetable peeler to create curls of Lily's chocolate baking bar to garnish the cake. 

Chocolate Mint Ganache

2 sprigs of fresh mint
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4 cup Lily's baking bar, chopped
2 tbsp oil, such as olive or coconut

In a small saucepan, infuse almond milk with fresh mint leaves over medium low heat and simmer for about 5 minutes. Remove leaves, then add Lily's baking bar chocolate and oil, mixing occasionally with a rubber spatula until smooth. Use immediately.

California Made: A Holiday Market

Next Saturday, November 14, I will be participating in California Made: a holiday market in Downtown LA. I'll have cake by the slice available and a couple other surprises!

CALIFORNIA MADE: A HOLIDAY MARKET
Featuring:

Paper Pastries - rubber stamps, stationery, and supplies
Le Petit Elefant - prints, buttons, stickers, stationery
Homako - handmade fabric and felt jewelry
Paper & Type - stationery and writing supplies
Matchbox Kitchen - cake shop

Live music by The Cheeky Few, refreshments, specials, and a chance to win our giveaway! 


More details and RSVP here.
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