Chocolate Banana Nut Cake



Grease 10" round cake pan (the sides and bottom) with a cooking spray. Then line the pan with parchment paper on the bottom. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter
6 ounces semisweet chocolate (broken into pieces) I used chocolate chips
1-1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup ground walnuts (put whole walnuts on a cutting board, put parchment paper over top of them and roll until crushed with your rolling pin)

2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2/3 cup buttermilk
1 Tablespoon pure vanilla extract
2 cups lightly mashed overripe bananas (5-6)
3 eggs lightly beaten
3/4 cup chopped walnuts for topping

In a saucepan over low heat (or use the microwave), melt the butter and chocolate stirring until smooth. Cool for 10 minutes.

In a large bowl whisk together flour, sugar, ground walnuts, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Blend thoroughly. Stir buttermilk, vanilla and bananas just until combined. Set aside.

Add the eggs to the cooled chocolate mixture and stir well. Stir the chocolate mixture into the banana mixture.

Pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 25 minutes. Remove pan from the oven and sprinkle the chopped walnuts across the top. (The cake will still giggle in the middle). Return the cake to the oven and bake for 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 15 minutes and carefully remove the cake from the pan. (If you use a 9" pan the baking time will be longer.)


Book club reader Farida S. baked the Chocolate Banana Nut cake and sent me a photo. "Thanks Farida."

My cousin emailed this photo to me the other day with a note, "Thinking of you." It was perfect timing because I was feeling anxiety-ridden about the situation we all find ourselves in. But then when I looked at my email there was Grandma Hale's picture--and I started crying. I think I needed a good cry, and soon I was smiling, a big old smile, just like Grandma is in the photo.

Many of the recipes I use today are written in Grandma Hale's handwriting. She loved to bake, and she was a talented baker who made baking look so easy and fun. No doubt about it, I have Grandma Hale to thank for my love of baking.

Left to right: Lillian (Grandma) Hale, Charlotte Allen, Ora Lorenz and Marsha Moore, cooks at the Winskill Elementary School in Lancaster, Wisconsin