Today’s creation came straight out of Dorie Greenspan’s book, Baking: from My Home to Yours. I chose this recipe for a couple of reasons; I love banana bread (both the smell and the taste), and picture looked quite elegant. The ingredients we’re mostly readily available in my kitchen and I thought it would teach me something that I had not yet done – make a swirled marble loaf.
1 1/3 c. all purpose flour
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. freshly grated nutmeg
1 ½ ripe bananas, peeled
Squirt of fresh lemon juice
Grated zest of ½ lemon
1 tbsp. dark rum
3 oz. bittersweet chocolate, finely chopped
1 stick plus 2 tbsp. room temperature unsalted butter
2/3 c. packed light brown sugar
1/3 c. sugar
4 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
½ c. whole milk
Center a rack in the oven and preheat oven to 325 degrees. Butter and dust with flour an 8 ½ x 4 ½ x 2 ½ inch loaf pan. Place prepared loaf pan on two baking sheets stacked on top of one another.
Whisk together flour, baking powder, salt and nutmeg in a small bowl.
In another small bowl, mash the bananas with lemon juice, zest, then stir in the rum.
Melt the chocolate and 2 tbsp. butter together in a microwave or in a heat-proof bowl over simmering water.
Fit stand mixer with paddle attachment. Beat butter at medium speed until creamy, approximately 3 minutes. Add the sugars and beat for 2-3 more minutes, until light and smooth. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition, then beat in vanilla. The batter will look curdled, and it will continue to look curdled as you add ingredients. Reduce the mixer speed to low and add half the flour mixture, mixing only until it is just incorporated. With the mixer running, pour in the milk and when the milk is blended add the remaining dry ingredients. Scrape down the bowl and mix in the mashed banana mixture. The batter will look even lumpier.
Pour a little less than half the batter into the bowl with melted chocolate and stir to blend. Drop alternating spoonfuls of both batters into prepared pan. Then, using a knife, swirl the batters just a bit, taking care not to overdo it. I did 6 swirls crosswise and one up the center to finish.
Bake for 1 hour and 20 to 30 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the loaf comes out clean. Check after 30 minutes, if the loaf browns too much, cover loosely with tented foil. Transfer to a cooling rack and let it cool for 15 minutes before removing it from the pan. Continue to cool on the rack.
The loaf itself smelled wonderful. The whole house smelled of cake with hints of nutmeg, banana and chocolate. I think the marbled effect looked good for my first shot at it but I’ll keep practicing to perfect the art.
The taste was something I had not experienced before – the combination of chocolate and banana. The cake was definitely moist and the crust was very good but the flavors were not my favorite. I felt the chocolate and the rum were too strong and those flavors overpowered the banana. My husband has yet to take a bite so maybe he’ll have a different opinion. 🙂
For my tastes, I think I’ll stick to a more traditional banana walnut bread but if you find chocolate and banana a good combination, this loaf may be what you are looking for.
Until next time… Happy Baking.