Waste not want not
“Yes, we have no bananas…,” Vinny said to his friend Will, who turned up the other day wanting some of his favorite fruit. “We have bananas, but you won’t want to eat them,” Vinny explained, showing Will the goods. The black, squishy fruits resembled bananas only in shape.
Will eyed them sadly. Then he brightened up. “I have an idea,” he said. “Banana cake!”
“Deal,” I replied and gave him a high-five. “But let’s try making it with less sugar and no refined flour. That way, we can enjoy the natural sweetness from the bananas without getting those nasty blood-sugar spikes that come with sweet treats.”
“Awww,” Will moaned. “I LOVE sugar!”
Try coconut palm sugar
“You and just about every other kid out there,” Vinny agreed. “But we can make an awesome banana cake with coconut palm sugar. Get it from your health food store or even your nearest bulk food store. It’s made from the sap of the coconut flower. It has a lower glycemic index than ordinary table sugar but a great taste. You be the judge.”
We used two large eggs and some low-fat Greek yogurt for a healthy dose of protein. Coconut oil with its the best-ever mid-length saturated fats replaced butter or vegetable oil.
“All those good ingredients should keep the sugar devils under control,” Vinny said.
“If you say so,” said Will. But let’s use ordinary white flour… please???”
“Not gonna happen,” Vinny said. “But we can use whole-wheat stone-ground pastry flour, and we’ll top up on fiber with 1/4 cup raw coconut butter.”
“Nooooooo…,” moaned Will.
“Don’t moan, Bud. You’re going to love this recipe,” Vinny promised.
Vinny’s banana pudding cake
- 1/2 cup (100 grams) coconut palm sugar (or use ordinary white sugar whizzed in the food processor until it’s powdery)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil (125 ml)
- 2 large eggs
- 1/2 cup (125 ml) low-fat Greek yogurt
- 1.5 teaspoons real vanilla extract
- 8 ounces (225 grams) very ripe bananas, mashed (about 2 large ones)*
- 1/4 cup (25 grams) raw coconut butter (which is ground, unsweetened coconut… or use any unsweetened coconut or even ground almonds instead)
- 3/4 cup (75 grams) whole-grain pastry flour
- 1.5 teaspoons baking soda
- 1.5 teaspoons cinnamon
- Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C).
- Grease a medium-sized loaf pan and cut a piece of parchment paper to fit into the bottom.
- In a large mixing bowl, cream the oil and sugar together with the back of a wooden spoon.
- Add the eggs and beat with a hand mixer until the mixture thickens, about 4-5 minutes.
- One at a time add the bananas, yogurt, coconut butter and vanilla, and beat each one in with a hand mixer until smooth.
- In a smaller bowl, combine the flour, baking soda and cinnamon and whisk them together briskly until the color is uniform.
- With a slotted spoon, press and lift to fold the dry ingredients into the wet ones, until just mixed.
- Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and put it in the oven on “Bake” for 35 minutes or so. The time depends on the moisture level in the bananas and how well you want the cake done. Check often toward the end. When a skewer stuck into the middle comes out clean the loaf is done.
- Leave to cool in the tin for a few minutes, then slide a knife around the edges and turn the loaf out onto a wire cooling rack.
The cake tastes as sweet and moist as it is healthy. You may be able to cut the sugar down even more, depending on how ripe your bananas are.
*Note: If you want a REALLY moist slice or you have a lot of ripe bananas, increase the amount of banana to 12 ounces (340 grams) and bake for 50 minutes or so. All the rest remains the same.
How healthy are bananas?
In a nutshell, it’s all about the potassium. But there are other surprising benefits to bananas, too. Vinny discusses the benefits of bananas with kids in “Bananas make great skinny monkey cookies.” Will thinks it’s one of Vinny’s funnier posts. Check it out.
Nutrition info for each of 10 slices
- Calories 229
- Fat 13 g
- Protein 8 g (estimated, due to no data for Greek yogurt, which has 3 times the protein of regular yogurt)
- Carbohydrates 25 g
- Excellent source of B vitamins (used in generating energy from carbohydrates and the making of blood cells) and fiber (for digestion)
- Good source of iron (for carrying oxygen in the blood) and potassium (for the making of muscle)
“Yum!” said Will. “If this is what healthy eating is all about, Vinny, I’m in. It’s awesome!”