My Triple Chocolate Banana and Cardamom Cake takes a forgotten, over-ripe fruit and turns it into something truly special and indulgent…
We eat a lot of fruit in this house – so much so that I currently have four fruit bowls on the go…
- Firstly, there is the large woven tray that sits on the apothecary table in my living room, full of clementines and navel oranges so that I might easily grab a zesty snack mid-way through EastEnders;
- Then there is the Blue Denmark serving bowl – one of the last remaining pieces of my parent’s wedding china – currently occupied by pomegranates
- Thirdly we have the blue and white dish, overflowing with Kermit-green apples;
- And finally, there is the heavily glazed Spanish comport bowl which is the perennial home to at least a dozen lemons (medicinally needed for G&T).
Piled away from all of the other fruit is a hefty claw of bananas – the ultimate food-on-the-go. Always handy to grab when flying out the door on the school run, bananas do not happily co-exist with other fruits owing to the ethane gas they release. Ethane is used in commercial farming to force-ripen some fruits and vegetables. If you have ever bought a pack of tomatoes to find an abnormally small specimen surprisingly as crimson red as the others in the pack, the chances are it has been exposed to ethane gas to get it prematurely ready for the supermarket. As a result, storing bananas in the fruit bowl is a big no-no if you want the other fruits to stay fresh for longer.
Bananas are one of those fruits which can turn overnight; going from just-right to over-ripe in the blink of an eye. It is the over-ripe bananas that we need for this recipe – and I must admit that sometimes I will deliberately leave a few aside just so that I can make this cake.
Cardamom is the world’s third most expensive spice behind vanilla and saffron. While I traditionally associate is with savoury Asian food – especially Indian – I have recently got into Scandinavian food where it is a commonly used ingredient in sweet baking. It works really well in this cake where its fragrant scent blends with the chocolate and bananas harmoniously. This is the only banana cake I would consider making now; turning a forgotten fruit into something very special.
As a note – I like to use GU crunchy hazelnut chocolate spread to top my cake at the very end. I use GU as their spread is palm oil free and it also includes some crunchy hazelnut pieces which go well with this cake. If you struggle to get hold of this brand, you can use any other variety of your choosing with the optional addition of 25g chopped hazelnut pieces for some added crunch…Print
- 125g wholemeal flour (I like to use wholemeal Spelt Flour for a nutty taste)
- 125g plain flour
- 1tsp baking powder
- 1tsp bicarbonate of soda
- 40g cocoa powder
- 4 Cardamom pods, de-seeded and ground
- 100g dark chocolate chunks
- 150ml olive oil (not extra virgin)
- 3 free range eggs
- 3 bananas (approx. 300g peeled weight)
- 100g light muscovado sugar
- 100g chocolate hazelnut spread
- Preheat the oven to 180C/350F/Gas Mark 4. Grease and line a 900g/2lb loaf tin with oil and some greaseproof paper.
- Peel the cardamom pods and crush the seeds with a pestle and mortar. This will result in about ½ tsp of ground Cardamom.
- Sift together the two flours, baking powder, ground cardamom, bicarbonate of soda and cocoa powder. Tip any bran that remains from the wholemeal flour into the bowl. Stir through the chocolate chunks.
- In a liquidiser add the oil, eggs and peeled bananas, broken up into smaller pieces by hand. Blitz together to form a smooth pulp. With the blender still running, gradually add the light muscovado sugar. Ordinarily I would sift my soft brown sugar but the liquidiser should deal with any clumps of sugar, incorporating it into the liquid mix.
- Pour the liquid over the dry ingredients and stir well to combine. Pour the batter into the prepared tin and bake in the oven for around 40 minutes until the cake springs back to touch and a skewer comes out clean from the centre of the cake. NB. the chocolate chunks will melt into the cake so the skewer may only be unclean because you’ve hit a pool of chocolate instead of batter. If unsure, test the cake in a couple of places.
- When the cake is ready, remove from the oven and allow to cool for a couple of minutes in the tin before transferring to a cooling rack.
- Pour some freshly boiled water into a large bowl. Measure the chocolate hazelnut spread into a smaller heatproof bowl and place over the hot water to melt the spread. When the spread is runny, spoon or pour this over the still-warm cake to top; allowing excess to run down the sides of the cake.
- Allow the cake to cool fully before enjoying.
- Category: Baking
- Cuisine: British
Keywords: Cake, Banana Cake, Chocolate Banana Cake, Chocolate Cake, Baking