How to make healthy choices every day

Chocolate Banana Birthday Cake with Maple Glazed Walnuts

Today is my birthday. I am 30 years old.
Looking back on my teens and twenties, I remember how absolutely freaked out I used to be about getting older. Every birthday that ticked by seemed like a cruel joke to a carefree young lady with cool clothes and perfect skin tone. Now, not so much. I think I actually like getting older because it seems like life actually gets better. If you’d told me this even five years ago I would have scoffed, but how true it feels now. I may be a little less cool in the wardrobe department and have crows feet teasing the edges of my eyes, but I’ve traded in those things for the realizing that those things don’t really matter anyway. What a relief. 

And what does a 30-year-old woman want for her birthday? A kid’s cake, obviously. I know that this one is a little over-the-top, but it’s time to celebrate the beginning of an undoubtedly huge decade ahead, plus I really had to one-up myself from last year (not an easy task, I might add).
Chocolate and banana is one of my all-time favourite flavour combinations, and one that certainly hails from childhood. There is something so right about the mellow comfort of banana’s sweetness paired with deep, dark chocolate intensity. I am reminded of banana boats in the fire at summer camp, banana chocolate chip muffins on road trips, banana ice cream with swirls of fudge winding their way through saccharine, tartrazine-coloured dairy. Ahhh, those were the days.

So now, a slight improvement. The banana cake recipe is in fact my Coziest Banana Bread, just using all light spelt flour instead of half light and half whole spelt. I made this decision because we’re eating cake here, and a less dense texture was needed. If you simply cannot justify eating all sifted spelt flour, go halfsies – it will still be delicious. I also took out the chocolate chunks because there is, uh, plenty of chocolate to speak of in this cake. And speaking of which, the chocolate cake is just a simple vegan version of your childhood favourite – you could easily make this your new go-to. The nice things about both of theses cakes is that they use maple syrup instead of sugar (something I ate quite enough of way back when). I also used a flavour-neutral coconut oil for the fat, but you could use butter if you are so inclined.

Banana Cake
Ingredients:
¼ cup / 60ml milk of your choice (nut, seed, rice, goat, …)
6 Tbsp. / 90ml melted coconut oil or ghee
6 Tbsp. / 90ml pure maple syrup
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
2 ¼ cups mashed ripe bananas (approximately 5 medium bananas)
2 cups / 280g light spelt flour (or flour of your choice)
1 tsp. baking soda
1 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. sea salt
1 cup / 100g walnuts, chopped (optional)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
2. Lightly oil and dust a 7” round spring form cake pan with flour, shaking out excess.
3. Put the milk, oil, maple syrup, vanilla, and bananas in a blender and blend until smooth.
4. In a large bowl combine dry ingredients. Add banana mixture and combine using as few strokes as possible. Fold in walnuts.
5. Pour batter into cake pan and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (approx. 60 minutes)

Chocolate Cake
Ingredients:
2 cups / 280g light spelt flour (or flour of your choice)
½ cup / 50g unsweetened cocoa powder
2 tsp. baking powder
1 tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
1 cup / 250ml pure maple syrup
1 ¼ cup / 300ml milk of your choice (nut, seed, rice, goat, …)
6 Tbsp. / 90ml melted coconut oil or ghee
2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 tsp. apple cider vinegar

Directions:
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
2. Lightly oil and dust a 7” round spring form cake pan with flour, shaking out excess.
3. In a large mixing bowl, sift together the flours, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Whisk to combine.
4. In a separate bowl combine the maple syrup, milk, olive oil, vanilla and vinegar. Whisk to combine. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and whisk to remove any lumps.
5. Pour batter into cake pan and smooth the top. Place in the oven and bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean (approx. 60 minutes).


Maple Glazed Walnuts
Ingredients:
1 cup / 100g walnuts
1/4 cup / 60 ml pure maple syrup

Directions:
1. In a dry skillet over medium heat, lightly toast walnuts until fragrant. Add maple syrup to the pan and toss quickly to coat. Remove from pan to let cool. Enjoy.

Dark Chocolate Glaze
Ingredients:
1 cup / 250ml milk of your choice
200 grams high-quality extra dark chocolate (I used 85%)
1 vanilla bean, scraped
pinch sea salt

Directions:
1. Slice vanilla bean lengthwise, scrape out the seeds, and place them in a small saucepan.
2. Add cold milk to the saucepan and warm slowly over medium heat. When hot, remove from heat and add chocolate. Stir until fully melted, whisk in a pinch of sea salt and glaze cake immediately. If the glaze sets, simply reheat to melt again.


Chocolate Banana Birthday Cake with Maple Glazed Walnuts – Assembly
Directions:
1. Bake cakes together, on the same rack if possible so that they cook evenly. Let cool completely. Slice each cake in half horizontally (I repeat, make sure they totally cool). You may need to slice the very tops off the cakes to make them straight. Discard (eat) the trimmings.
2. While cakes are baking, make the Maple Glazed Walnuts and Chocolate Glaze.
3. Start with one half of the chocolate cake on the bottom, spoon on about 1/4 of the glaze, with the majority being around the edge so that it oozes out when you place the next layer. Place a banana cake layer on top of the chocolate layer and spoon on glaze, repeat until the top layer. Pour the remaining glaze on the top of the cake and top with Maple Glazed Walnuts. Serve.

Now I’m off to party like it’s 1999. Still got it.

xo, Sarah B.

Copyright 2012 My New Roots at mynewroots.blogspot.com


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