Home Cook

Banana Cake

James Beard once said, "Don't let the lack of an ingredient stop you from trying a recipe." I found that very liberating, although lack of eggs might deliver a strange omelet. Nonetheless, it has been a window to much of my experimentation.

I don't eat wheat much anymore. One doctor told me I was allergic to it, and another told me I was not, but over all I think I do better without it. I find I tolerate spelt pretty well, which is related to common wheat (and does contain gluten, for those of you who are gluten-free) but is an older species.

I found the original of this recipe, Spelt Banana Bread, a couple of years ago. It calls for four bananas, which were sitting enticingly on the table this morning. Of course, I was out of spelt flour. However, I had some white whole wheat (I don't remember why) and barley flour. So here is what I came up with.

(Not Spelt) Banana Cake

  • 10 tbsp unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 4 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 4 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 2/3 cup barley flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp allspice
  • 3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 350º. Butter a 9x9 baking pan.

Using a mixer, beat the butter and sugar together until well mixed. It will be crumbly, not creamy. Add the eggs and vanilla, beat well, then add the bananas. Mix until just blended.

Sift the dry ingredients together and add to the wet ingredients about a third at time, mixing gently with the machine or by hand. Stir in the walnuts.

Pour into the pan, spreading evenly. Bake for one hour, until it begins to pull away from the sides of the pan and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Cool on a wire rack for at least an hour or so. If you use loaf pans, you might want to turn them out on the rack after 10-15 minutes; I used the 9x9 and just left it in the pan. Dust the top with confectioners' sugar, cut into squares (or slices) and serve.

It is light, fluffy and delicious. I think you could use two round cake pans, frost it and make a banana layer cake out of it, too, if you were so inclined. I might try that sometime. Might also be good in my Bundt pan.

The folks who posted the original recipe said they adapted it from Joy of Cooking, and now I've adapted it from them. Recipes go 'round and 'round!