One of my favorite cookbooks is Kim Boyce’s Good to the Grain, a beautiful volume full of rustic, homey desserts and breakfast bakes incorporating whole grains and some gluten-free flours. I made her banana walnut cake two years ago when we were just getting to know our neighbors, now good friends, down the street — they’d invited us for dinner and I brought dessert, glad to have the excuse to bake a cake I’d been eyeing for awhile. It was so well received I knew I had to adapt it to be gluten-free and lower in sugar.
This is a simple, nubbly cake full of bananas and ground walnuts, a perfect winter weekend cake. Baking with bananas is a bit of a sugar cheat — I love them because they can work to sweeten a batter without needing a lot of additional sugar. My Aussie friend Katie and I recently had a text conversation about the versatility and beauty of bananas and she reminded me that a banana can even work as an egg in a pinch. In this recipe I’ve kept them as a flavor and sweetness enhancer, but I will keep that info in my back pocket for another time.
This is a lovely cake to put together — you just need sorghum and arrowroot to form your flour base, then fold in some toasted, ground walnuts for texture and heft. Just one-half cup of sweetener is needed, so the additional sugar is turned way down (hooray!). Yet the cake is certainly sweet enough, and the natural goodness of the bananas keeps it tasting like a treat. You’ll want very ripe bananas here; you can freeze them until you’re ready to use, then defrost at room temperature.
If you don’t have sorghum you can swap gluten-free oat flour by weight, or any other gluten-free flour you like, though oat will be the closest in flavor profile.
Enjoy these winter days!
Til next time- N x