Baking

Lets play, plantain or banana?

February 12, 2017

The plantains are on the bottom, bananas on top.

Let’s play a game. It’s called plantain or banana.

If you want to eat a sweet fruit by itself, what do you want? Banana.

If you want something a little starchy that can be used green or ripe, and is great to cook with, what do you want? Plantain.

If you want to make a gluten free, dairy free, low sugar, moist and yummy cake that takes no time to prepare, what do you want? Both.

Seriously though, hear me out. You may have seen plantains in the supermarket and walked right by them; they look like giant bananas and might be green or might be yellow streaked with black. They’re usually pretty inexpensive.

My personal experience with green plantains is limited, though I understand that you can cook them like a root vegetable in soups and stews. The green ones are starchy and hard, with a very plain flavor. The yellow ones have begun to ripen (or mature, hence their traditional title, maduros), and develop a sweet flavor reminiscent of banana, but not quite the same. They remain a bit harder and more starchy than bananas. My first foray into using maduros was simply peeling and slicing them in half, spraying them with a bit of coconut oil, sprinkling with cinnamon and brown sugar and then broiling until the top crisps up. It’s a quick and simple dessert (or breakfast!) that’s sweet and filling and just lovely.

But this time, this time I went wild, using plantains AND bananas to make a cake that well, takes the cake. I was inspired by my mother’s experimentation, and wound up devising this recipe for a cake that is…

  • Gluten free
  • Dairy free
  • Plant based
  • Low sugar
  • Ridiculously moist and tasty
  • Super simple to make in the blender

A couple of notes before I share the recipe:

  1. Sorry to disappoint, you get snapshots. There are no beautiful staged photographs here. But then again if you’ve read Old Fashioned Modern Living in the past, you probably know you’re not here for designer photos.
  2. I used white sugar simply because I didn’t want to use up all my maple syrup. Feel free to substitute other sweeteners, or add a little less; the bananas have a nice sweetness that will satisfy if you don’t have much of a sweet tooth.
  3. I sprinkled in a little coconut flour just to absorb some moisture. Oat flour, or even regular flour if you’re not gluten free will likely do the trick.

Just kinda looks like cake, right?

Look at that crumb! Seriously, when you consider what went into this cake, the look and texture is surprisingly spot on.

The ingredients:

  • 2 ripe plantains
  • 3 ripe bananas (not black, but ripe)
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • Scant 1/2 cup of sugar or other sweetener
  • Generous sprinkle of ground cinnamon
  • 3 tsp coconut flour
  • pinch of salt
  • a couple of handfuls of mini bittersweet chocolate chips

The method:

  1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
  2. Peel fruit and chop into chunks just so they fit in the blender, then drop them in. Add vanilla, sugar, cinnamon, salt and coconut flour. Add the eggs in (or wait until your main mixture has been mixed and taste it first, then add your eggs). Give it a whirl until it looks fairly smooth.
  3. Prep your pan – I used a 9×9 square pyrex but a deep brownie tin will work too. I spray with coconut oil then line with some parchment to make removal easy.
  4. Head back to the blender and mix (mix, not blend) in your desired amount of chocolate chips. Pour into the prepared pan and pop in the oven.
  5. Bake for roughly 35-40 minutes, checking periodically. Your cake is done with the center no longer jiggles and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out fairly clean and dry. Let cool a bit before enjoying.

This is a moist cake, so be sure to put any extra in the refrigerator to keep. And that’s that!

I am really pleasantly surprised by how this cake turned out. I made a smaller one recently (1 plantain, 1 banana and 2 eggs with a splash of maple syrup in a loaf pan),  that my husband and I destroyed, and then made this one for company. My brother had already begun eating his piece before he realized it wasn’t just regular old cake. I’d call that a success.

If you haven’t experimented with plantains, I’d say it’s time. Grab some bananas while you’re at it, and whip up this beauty. And if you do, let me know what you think!

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