I had a Hinge (the dating app) boy over for dinner. We ate a delicious Indian-Thai hybrid of a curry: red curry paste, coconut milk, and a medley of Indian spices formed the broth which held asparagus, red peppers, mushrooms, and cauliflower. Served over thick rice noodles with lime and cilantro, I can only assume he liked it since he devoured three bowlfuls. I had baked this banana bread earlier that day, and we were just finishing a piece as my roommate Marianne) and her girlfriend walked in. Greetings were exchanged with much enthusiasm, and as he watched Marianne cut herself a slice he proclaimed how incredible it is, how he would have eaten more had he any room left in his belly, and that she was going to love it, LOOOOOVEEE IT.
Y’all going to think I’m ungrateful for the support, or too straight laced, or that I don’t know how to accept compliments, but listen, Marianne and I have been friends for years and she is no stranger to my cooking. This was the first thing I baked when I moved in (because baking is the best way to inaugurate a kitchen and make a place feel like home), and I cook for her all the time. She knows that usually the food in the fridge is going to be tasty.
We also like to joke about how all the men who come into our home like to mansplain something evident. She’s received a lot of plant advice (she spends every free moment learning how to best care for her babies) and the best way to hang things (she’s in set design and the objects put into question haven’t moved an inch), and I was told that in order to keep bread fresh I should put it in a plastic bag and seal it. We get a good laugh making fun of the men who’ve given us such pieces of advice, and though I know that the Hinge boy in this story is a good man who was showing his support and enthusiasm for my raison d’être, it just struck me as such a funny proclamation. Marianne did as well, for she nodded slowly and gave him an all-knowing look (complete with pursed lips and raised eyebrows) and replied “I have no doubt about it, Reveena is a great cook and her banana bread is the best.”
Point in case, this cake is amazing. It stays moist on the counter for five or so days, making it the perfect nibbly. It’s just sweet enough to make a great dessert, but not so sweet that you couldn’t eat it for breakfast or as a bedtime snack. I cannot recommend it enough. I think the coffee is necessary, since it adds a great depth of flavour that rounds out the sweetness of the bananas (and sugar). If you don’t have leftover coffee from breakfast, simple add a little instant espresso to water and make it that way.
Ingredients – Cake
1/2 cup margarine
3/4 cup white sugar
3 very very ripe mushy bananas
1/4 cup coffee (temp doesn’t matter)
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips
Instructions – Cake
Preheat the oven to 350. Grease and flour a loaf tin (do this before you start your batter because it’s annoying to have to do it later).
In a large bowl, combine the margarine and sugar and mix (using an electric hand mixer for ease) for a few minutes before adding in the eggs, bananas, and coffee. Once this is well whisked together, add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt, and mix until just combined. Now switch to a spatula and fold in the walnuts and chocolate chips. You want to avoid over beating cakes once the flour is added since working the gluten in the flour makes your cakes tough, hence the switch to a spatula.
Place this into the greased and flour tin and move onto the streusel topping which will add the most irresistibly delicious crunch to the top of the cake.
Ingredients – Steusel Topping
1 tablespoon margarine
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 tablespoons flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped
Instructions – Steusel Topping + Baking
Combine all ingredients in a small bowl and mix together, with a fork or with clean hands.
Sprinkle on top of the loaf, and then bake for a 55-60 mins or until a cake tester inserted into the loaf comes out clean.
Let cool for 15 minutes before removing from the pan and enjoying.