It hasn't completely sunk in, but the holidays are paving their way. The tree lots are popping up, we've got our Thanksgiving assignments and little white lights are slowing starting to line the houses in our neighborhood. I've got tubs of peppermint ice cream (my absolute favorite) in the freezer and there is a blooming white poinsettia on the porch. I just began to feel taken by the sentiment of this time of year in craving more time with friends and family, reflecting on the past year with thanks. Days pass and then you look back at a years time and so much has happened. So much! I know I have a ton to be thankful for. The big things like a kind and funny husband, a supportive family (two of them now!) a great place to live and good food. But the little things are not lost on me either. I just hope we all take the time to soak it all in.
This snack cake is my last non-festive treat before I jump into the holiday dishes with two feet. You don't get much less festive than banana cakes this time of year, but I couldn't help myself. I'm now ready to burn out on pumpkin and peppermint with the rest of you. I've been having a thing with almond meal lately, as I appreciate the flavor, extra protein and the crumbly texture in my baked goods. Because it is gluten free, I am careful when I use it exclusively, to make sure everything stays together. You could go all almond meal if need be, but know it will be a fragile cake. Here, I mix in a bit of spelt flour (wheat free, but not gluten free) and it yields that delicate texture while tasting pleasantly grainy from the spelt.
It's a tasty little snack, a perfect compliment to afternoon coffee, but personally, a distraction to keep Hugh out of my peppermint ice cream.
BANANA SNACKING CAKE WITH CASHEW COCONUT CREAM // Makes one 8x8 cake
The cream frosting is from So Good and Tasty via My New Roots
You could use sweetened coconut if that is what you have on hand, just know your cake will be a bit sweeter. I gathered a tip from Kamran's recent post, and think it's perfect for baked goods with almond meal. I pull it out a tad early and cover it with a dishtowel to hold the steam in and it keeps it moist. He leaves his cake covered for 8 hours, I felt mine was good after an hour. Lastly, I have found that nut meals dry out quicker, so keep it air tight and it should last you 2-3 days. They have a great, well priced almond meal at Trader Joe's.
1 Cup Almond Meal
1/2 Cup Spelt Flour
1/2 Cup Unsweetened, Shredded Coconut
1 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Baking Soda
1/2 tsp. Sea Salt
1/2 Cup plus 2 Tbsp. Light Muscavado Sugar
1/4-1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, plus extra for finishing
Few pinches of Fresh Grated Nutmeg
2 Large, Extra Ripe Bananas
1/3 Cup Extra Virgin Coconut Oil, warmed to a liquid
1 tsp. Vanilla Extract
1/2 Cup Raw Cashews, soaking in water for an hour
1/2 Cup Coconut Milk
1 Tbsp. Honey or Maple
1 tsp. Fresh Lemon Juice
Preheat the oven to 350'.
Sift all the dry ingredients together in a large mixing bowl.
In another bowl, smash the bananas really well, breaking down the chunks. Add the oil, eggs, vanilla and mix. Stir the wet into the dry ingredients.
Grease an 8x8 glass baking pan and pour in the mix. Bake on the middle rack for about 22-24 minutes. Being sure the center is just set.
Allow it to cool for about 5 minutes, cover it with a dish towel and let it rest for 30 minutes to an hour as it re-absorbs some of the steam.
For the cream, drain the cashews and put them in a food processor with the coconut milk, honey and lemon juice. Process until smooth, scraping down the sides as necessary. It will have a bit of texture to it. The cream will keep in the fridge for about a week.
I prefer to add a bit of the cream to each piece as eaten, not frost the whole cake. Finish with a sprinkle of cinnamon.