Since last weekend I have had 3 bananas sitting on my counter which were specially bought with the sole intention of making banana cake. During the week they were becoming a little overripe, even for banana cake, so I put them in the fridge to slow down the ripening process.
Last week was very stressful. I’ve been having a few health issues which combined with a hectic time at work and trying to buy my first house has led to a few weeks of very poor sleep. Come Friday evening I felt exhausted and grumpy. Then to top it all I had an awful nights sleep (or rather complete lack of it) so was feeling thoroughly fed up and tearful by the time Saturday morning arrived. Which was why at 6:30am in the morning I was snuggled in my dressing gown mashing bananas for banana cake. Ah solitude and tranquillity.
There is something soothing about licking banana batter off a spatula early in the morning when you’re tired and irritable. I decided to bake my banana cake as a loaf cake, as I was craving something simple and homely.
I was going to go with a plain banana batter, but I suddenly remembered the chocolate and banana marble cakes I used to bake years ago. I hadn’t baked one for years and as I was feeling nostalgic I decided to split my batter in half, add cocoa powder to one part and create a banana marble loaf cake. On the spur of the moment I also decided to add cardamom to the batter rather than my usual cinnamon or mixed spice. This added a lovely aromatic undertone against the sweet banana and went brilliantly with the chocolate too. I love the feather effect created by swirling the two batters together.
The cake isn’t overly sweet, the main sweetness coming from the ripe bananas, and even then it’s still definitely less sweet than normal cakes. I actually preferred this as it meant I could eat a slice for breakfast without feeling guilty and meant when I had another slice later on, I could spread it with some nut butter or Nutella without it being too sweet. I used some homemade sesame & honey almond nut butter which was really good with the banana.
The cake sliced and kept well. I love how each new slice reveals a different chocolate and banana marble pattern. It was soft, moist and packed with banana flavour. I loved being able to cut off a slice and then snuggle into the sofa and nibble at it with my fingers. No need for fancy forks here. It was almost like two cakes in one, as you had the lighter softer banana sections interspersed with the richer, slightly bitter chocolate parts. Mmm delicious.
Next time you’ve had a bad day, why not treat yourself to the deliciously simple baking bliss that is banana & chocolate marble loaf cake.
Banana & Chocolate Marble Loaf Cake
280g ripe banana (peeled weight, around 3)
80g light soft brown sugar
200g plain flour (160g rice flour, 25g cornflour (or potato starch), 15g tapioca starch)
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp bicarbonate of soda
1 tsp cardamom
120ml vegetable oil
20g cocoa powder (for only half the mix)
Preheat the oven to 170C. Grease a loaf tin and line with one long strip of greaseproof paper, so it lies over the base and up the two sides in one long strip. My tin was approx 22cmx11cm and 6.5cm deep (top edge measurments).
Mash the banana with a fork until very soft but a few lumps remain. Place into a large bowl and add the rest of the ingredients, expect the cocoa powder.
Beat together with an electric whisk until light and fluffy. Divide the batter in half, pouring half into a separate bowl. Add the cocoa powder to one half and beat again to incorporate. The batter will become thicker, this is fine.
Add alternating tablespoon blobs of the chocolate and banana batter into the lined loaf tin. Then repeat with another layer, alternating the chocolate blobs so it sits on top of a banana blob. I ended up with three layers of alternating batter blobs.
Run a skewer through the batter in alternating vertical lines to create a swirled feather effect.
Bake for 45-50 minutes until well risen and lightly springy to the touch. A skewer inserted in the middle should come out clean.
Remove from the oven and leave to cool in the tin for at least an hour before removing from the tin and leaving to cool completely.
Serve in generous slices. Delicious on its own or spread with a little nut butter or Nutella for extra indulgence.
Makes 1 loaf