An entirely a-peel-ing banana cake

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Hello hello!

I have cake for you today.

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Actually, this is well timed since that holiday of all Hallmark holidays is coming up next Wednesday; since it’s inexplicably tied to chocolate – here you go! This one is dense, dark and exceptionally chocolatey without being overbearing, and the banana flavor comes through nicely so it ends up being a hybrid somewhere between chocolate cake and banana bread. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

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Besides that, somehow I’d forgotten how much I love walnuts and dark chocolate together – and I’m of the opinion that ginger should almost always hang out with chocolate, so that’s a no brainer.

Also – rioting, demanding bananas:

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This cake was loved by both of us – it’s excellent with ice cream for desserty shenanigans and while a little heavy for a big breakfast slice alongside eggs and kale, little wedges are definitely doable ;) a little chocolate in the morning alongside coffee never comes amiss.

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In other news, my plants are happy to be getting more sunshine these days, though I have to say I’d prefer a bit more winter before we do spring, please.

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So! Make cake, eat with loved ones, be happy. Especially because it’s gluten free, refined sugar free and high in protein, healthy fats, and antioxidants. It’s really a health food in disguise…

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Dark Chocolate Banana Cake with Olive Oil, Ginger & Walnuts

Gluten free, refined sugar free – dark chocolatey banana cake with hits of ginger and chunky walnuts. Not too sweet but a hefty chocolate dose – the olive oil and sea salt temper the natural banana sweetness for a step up from your typical banana bread. Besides, I forgot how much I loved walnuts and chocolate together! Yield: 1 9″ or 10″ cake depending on pan of choice (see below). Heavily adapted from Food52, here.

1c almond flour
1/2 brown rice flour
1/2 c cocoa powder
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp sea salt
1/3 c olive oil
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 c maple syrup
1.5 c ripe bananas (from about 3 large bananas), mashed with a fork until smooth
1/4 c plain whole milk Greek yogurt
1.5 tps vanilla extract
1/3 cup coarsely chopped dark chocolate
1/2 cup (65g) chopped walnuts
1/4 c chopped crystallized ginger

Preheat the oven to 350° F. Generously butter or grease a 9″ cake pan (or a 10-inch cast-iron skillet, or a 9×5-inch loaf pan) – I used a 9″ metal cake pan and it worked just fine.

In a large bowl, whisk together the almond flour, brown rice flour, cocoa, baking soda, and salt. In a separate bowl, mix together the olive oil, eggs, maple, mashed banana, yogurt, and vanilla. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture and fold with a spatula until just combined. Stir in the chocolate, walnuts and ginger again just until combined. Scrape the batter into the prepared pan or skillet.

Bake until a toothpick or knife inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 28 to 35 minutes (start checking at about 22 minutes for doneness – thinner pans will be done faster. If you used a loaf pan, baking time will be more like 60 minutes). Let cool in the pan for about 10 to 15 minutes, then run a knife around the edge of the pan and invert it onto a cooling rack to cool completely before serving. I like it cold too, straight out of the fridge, but you do you. Also excellent with ice cream, obviously. Keeps well covered in the fridge if you can make it last longer than a day ;)

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2017: the tale of demanding, reincarnating bananas

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Happy New Year! Here’s hoping 2017 treats everyone a little better than last year – 2016 was a rough one for many. But as they say, onward and upward! Preferably with cake, which is where I come in.

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The dead bananas are calling! I had a plethora lurking around my kitchen this weekend and they put me on notice that they really wanted to reincarnate into something amazing… not banana bread again, if you please (my bananas can get a little demanding sometimes…). That being said, I had a hankering for banana cake (fundamentally different from banana bread, you see), so THIS happened!

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Happily so. Have you ever had sautéed dates? No? Get into the kitchen immediately and make them! I love dates anyway, but they are mindblowingly good when given a little bath in some olive oil and sea salt. I’ve always been a salt monster, so salty-sweet desserts are absolutely my jam, and these little powerhouses deliver. Besides that, they’re full of good nutrients (dates are high in vit A & K, plus potassium, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium & zinc. woohoo!).

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This cake is actually full of good things – you have healthy fats from almond flour, hazelnuts, and coconut, and all the good stuff in dates. And besides that, most critically: it’s delicious, which is good for your soul.

Let’s see, what else? Jessie says hello (this is her way of chatting me up during breakfast, adorable cat)

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More drawings, of course! New year, same series! This is the Havens Mansion, built 1884 on S. Van Ness in SF.

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My first activity of 2017! Shocked? Nope.

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More beautiful sky!

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Show your new and improved 2017 self some love with some sautéed dates atop your cake, and revel in all the possibilities of a new year. Onward!

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Banana Date Skillet Cake with Coconut Frosting, Maple Hazelnuts, and Sautéed Dates

Pretty freaking amazing, if I do say so! Lightly sweet banana cake with jewel-like date pieces, coconut frosting and OMG sautéed dates, please make them immediately. Serve with a bit of ice cream or non-dairy biz if that’s your jam! Can’t miss either way. Refined sugar free, grain free, gluten free, dairy free, pretty much paleo. Yield: 1 8″ skillet cake, enough frosting to frost the top (cake is served straight out of the skillet); extra hazelnuts because you’ll definitely want extras… and the amount of dates is up to you (make extra!). Skillet cake adapted from Confessions of a Confectionista, here!

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For the cake:

  • 3 ripe bananas, mashed
  • 3 eggs
  • heaping 1/8 c coconut oil, melted
  • 1.5 tbsp raw honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • heaping 1.25 c almond flour
  • 1.5 tbsp ground flaxseed
  • 3/4 tsp cinnamon
  • 3/4 tsp baking powder
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 4 medjool dates, chopped

For the maple hazelnuts (make ahead, if desired):

  • 1 c roasted hazelnuts
  • 1/4 c maple syrup
  • pinch of sea salt
  • splash of vanilla

For the sautéed dates:

  • 1-2 tbsp good olive oil
  • 7-8 medjool dates, halved & pitted
  • pinch of sea salt

For the coconut frosting:

  • 1 can full-fat coconut milk, chilled upside-down overnight in the fridge
  • 1 tsp coconut sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

I usually make the hazelnuts ahead and store them in a jar until needed. Remove most of the skins from the hazelnuts by rubbing them together; it doesn’t matter if there are skins left, but I try to get rid of the majority. Heat an empty saute pan (not nonstick) over medium heat; once heated, add maple (it will bubble and fizz) and hazelnuts. Cook for about 3-5 minutes, stirring continuously until the maple has caramelized. The nuts will feel a little soft, which is fine. Spread parchment paper on a baking sheet, pour out the nuts and spread them out a bit. They will harden as they cool. Store in an airtight jar at room temp for as long as they last which is realistically about five minutes.

To make the cake: preheat the oven to 350, and grease an 8″ cast iron skillet with coconut oil. In a large bowl, mash the bananas, then add eggs, melted coconut oil, honey, and vanilla. In a smaller bowl, whisk together almond flour, flaxseed, cinnamon, baking powder and soda, and salt. Pour dry into wet, and use an electric mixer to beat until combined. Stir in the chopped dates, and pour the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 40-45 minutes, until a tester comes out clean and the top springs back when touched. The cake will brown because of the honey – if you feel it’s browning too fast, feel free to cover it with foil. Let cool completely before serving.

While the cake is cooling, make the sautéed dates! (good luck not eating them all straight out of the pan). In a small sauté pan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Once the oil is warm, add the dates and sauté, stirring frequently, until they caramelize and are heated through, just about 2-3 minutes (the edges will start to get a little crispy). Watch them carefully, as they burn easily. When done, move them to a bowl to cool and sprinkle with sea salt (be sure to get all of the good oil out of the pan for drizzling!).

Also while the cake is cooling, make the coconut frosting. Open the can of coconut milk rightside up, and scrape out the cream that has solidified at the top, leaving the coconut water at the bottom (save it and use it later!). Scoop the cream out into a bowl, add vanilla and coconut sugar, and use an electric mixer to beat into the consistency of whipped cream. Use immediately, or chill for later use.

For serving: Frost the cake with the coconut whip (make sure to frost the cake once it’s completely cool! otherwise a melty mess will ensue); top with sautéed dates and maple hazelnuts. Indulge responsibly (i.e., have another piece)!

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My brain is sore from too much grad school

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How is it almost November? Can someone explain this madness to me? I mean, first of all it’s still kind of hot (summer, you can bugger off now… you have officially overstayed your welcome) but also, where did September and October go?! I want them back please.

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And I know the term compost cookies is probably unappealing, but it’s always made me laugh. I suppose you could call these ‘pantry cookies’ but isn’t compost more fun?? Besides… these are hippie enough that the stuff going into them is stuff that usually lurks in the fridge or fruit basket, and therefore is more like… compost! Obviously.

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These cookies get a little crisp on the outside while staying cakey and delicious on the inside. If you want a chewy pumpkin cookie, these aren’t it… but they ARE quite tasty. They store well in the fridge and make for a fast breakfast or a good snack. AND they’re full of healthy fats and good fiber, plus antioxidants. No refined sugar, can be gluten free… the options are endless. Don’t like walnuts? Use something else. Hate sunbutter? Use almond or peanut— These are extremely forgiving cookies.

They’re also super fast to whip together, no muss no fuss. I made them on a lunch break between classes because I desperately needed a brain break — I can only cram facts and knowledge into my brain in concentrated intervals for so long before I start glazing over. Case in point:

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Sometimes, you have to take a break from taking lecture notes for your own sanity.

Making cookies like this reminds me of undergrad when I would run home and make lunch and a batch of cookies in the hour I had between class and work. If that isn’t time management, I don’t know what is.

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Also, I really need to study right now but I am sleepy and brainsore (that’s a thing) and I just want to cuddle on the couch with my novel and a cookie and a nap. But.. le sigh. That is currently impossible because stats and the billion other things I have to do are calling my name and I really should get on that. But at least I shared cookies, so that if your Sunday is less nuts than mine, you can make something delicious out of your fridge compost. Happy almost November! Enjoy your pumpkin goodness.

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Pumpkin Banana Compost Cookies

Vegan, low FODMAP and IBS friendly, gluten free option (just switch the spelt flour for a gf flour of your choice), refined sugar free. And delicious! A Wait are those Cookies original. Yield: 12 cookies.

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  • heaping 1/2 c pumpkin puree
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp sunbutter (mine is unsalted)*
  • 1 tbsp almond butter (mine is unsalted)*
  • 1 tbsp unsweetened hemp milk
  • 2 c rolled oats (gf if desired)
  • 3 tbsp spelt flour
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp ground ginger
  • ~1/4 c chopped raw walnuts and dark chocolate

*alternatively, you can use 2 tbsp of the same nut butter; I just wanted a little variety

Preheat the oven to 350, and line a baking sheet with parchment paper (or 2, if your oven is stupid tiny like mine and normal cookie sheets don’t fit. Rude. Bring on the quarter sheet pans).

This is pretty much as easy as it gets. Bust out a bowl. Mash up the banana with a fork, then stir in pumpkin puree, vanilla extract, maple, sunbutter, almond butter, and hemp milk. In the same bowl, because we’re making cookies on our lunch break between classes today and this needs to be fast, toss in oats, spelt flour, salt, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and ginger. Stir to combine. Stir in chopped walnuts and chocolate. Make sure the whole thing is nicely mixed, then drop lazy spoonfuls onto your prepared cookie sheet (all 12 should fit onto a standard cookie sheet no problem; these don’t spread). Bake for 15-16 minutes, until the top is lightly browned and mostly firm to the touch. Let cool on the pan for a minute before moving, then move to a rack to cool completely. Store leftovers in a plastic container in the fridge (glass will make them go soft).

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Bring on the Pumpkin

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The fall baking has arrived!

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Despite the weather not exactly cooperating (it sort of did yesterday…. I wore a light sweatshirt past 10 am. Omg. It was awesome), I have checked the box next to the ‘first pumpkin baked good for fall” box. Would have been earlier, but 90 plus temperatures don’t really lend themselves to pumpkin… I mean, they can but apparently for me they don’t.

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BUT. Solved that problem yesterday (made this, with a few tweaks: chopped dates instead of chocolate, omitted coconut flour; used difference spices and only 1/4 coconut sugar + maple), plus mashed potatoes, shredded ginger-rosemary chicken, mashed potatoes, rice, hardboiled eggs… And I also somehow found time yesterday to have brunch+a walk with a best camp friend, run a grocery errand, go to Target, clean my apartment, do laundry, read for epi, write more of my midterm paper, and finish my stats homework…. which as anyone in my cohort knows is quite a feat, 18 pages of SAS printout later… AND I made quinoa banana carrot bread, which is actually what this post is about, because I’ve now made it twice in two weeks so obviously it’s a winner.

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And I’m stealing the 10 minutes I have early early in the am when it’s still dark out and I’m not studying to share it with you because I love my invisible internet blog friends WAY more than I love doing homework.

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I also drew the next installment for the drawing challenge. Day 5: Best Friend. I have so many friends I couldn’t live without; and they all hold a piece of my heart!

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Also, sometimes this is what a grad school coping mechanism looks like (and yes, this app is still floating my boat) :

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extra dark chocolate, bbread with butter, food writing and a fun app = coping.

So! This bread. Is the right combination of not too sweet, just sweet enough, dense without being too dense, satisfying when you want a snack or dessert. It also has that great craggy top and slightly chewy sides that I think all quick breads should have, but that’s just me. It’s also fodmap friendly, IBS friendly, gluten free with only one teeny tweak, refined sugar free, and whole grain. YAY!

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Quinoa Carrot Banana Bread

Yield: 1 loaf. FODMAP friendly, IBS friendly, gluten free option (Just sub the 1/3 c spelt flour with an equal amount of quinoa flour), refined sugar free, high in beta-carotene and omega 3’s… and absolutely delicious. Inspired by Power Hungry, here!

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  • 1 c quinoa flour
  • 1/3 c white or brown rice flour (I’ve used both and either is delicious)
  • 1/3 c whole spelt flour
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/6 c coconut sugar
  • 3/4 c (2 large) bananas, mashed
  • 2 tbsp pure maple syrup
  • 2 large carrots, grated
  • 1/4 c mostly-melted coconut oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c unsweetened hemp milk (or non dairy milk of choice)
  • 1/3 c chopped walnuts

Preheat the oven to 375 (or 360 in the case of my abnormally hot and uneven oven), and grease a standard loaf pan with coconut oil.

Toast the quinoa flour in a skillet over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until you can smell it: about 5 minutes (this is important! Quinoa flour can be a little bitter if this step is omitted); let cool for a few minutes. In a large bowl, whisk together toasted quinoa flour, rice flour, spelt flour, sea salt, baking powder, cinnamon, and coconut sugar. In a smaller bowl, mash bananas, then add maple syrup, grated carrots, melted coconut oil, vanilla, egg, and hemp milk, and whisk vigorously to combine. Pour the wet into the dry ingredients, and stir to combine (the batter will be thick, which is fine). Stir in walnuts. Pour the batter into your prepared pan, and bake for 45-50 minutes (mine comes out of my stupid hot oven perfectly browned at 360 degrees and 46 minutes; but you most likely have a normal oven that heats appropriately…) Check for a lightly browned top and a skewer that comes out clean. Let cool in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn it out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.

For storage, wrap this in foil and store it in the fridge for the 30 seconds that the leftovers last…

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Bread and Pegboards

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Julia Child would be SO proud right now.

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I have my very own pegboard!!!

And also this awesome new app that does really cool things to photos. Sorry… I’m addicted. Just bear with me….

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In fact, the main reason I’m posting a recipe at all is to actually feature my beautiful baby pegboard… because it is AMAZING. And courtesy of Vati’s superior constructional abilities, many thanks and rounds of applause to Vati! I do get credit for the spray paint, though. And now it’s amazing because I can actually get pots in and out of my cupboards.

What. A. Concept.

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No longer is it like playing pot tetris with the teeny cupboards, where I essentially have to stand on my head to see inside (and there is a support down the very center, which basically reduces the functionality of the storage space by half and makes getting larger pots in and out quite the skill)… NO! I now have only TWO pots stored in the pot storage space, and the rest get to hang out tidily on the pegboard. GENIUS. Absolutely genius. Thank you, Julia Child, for making this a thing. And I don’t care if she didn’t originally make it a thing — she made it awesome.

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So now I’m awesome.

Because I have a teal pegboard, just like Julia. Heeehee.

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I further have teeny mini loaves of tummy friendly quick bread! Because.. this is the ongoing game of finding a system of etting that makes my stomach happy. Which we still haven’t quite found, but I have hopes for getting there, at least. Long story short, this means reduced or eliminated fodmaps and a mega increase in the amount and timing of soluble fiber in my diet. SO FUN, GUYS, SO FUN. ….

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Mostly, I’m just bored stiff with my current diet, and am trying to slowly find things that are acceptable to brain and bod. This is one! Zucchini-banana spelt bread, with walnuts and cinnamon. Mmm. High in the good fiber, fodmap friendly, and refined sugar free. It’s also higher in protein than most quick breads, which I consider a plus. Whether you have tum issues or not, this is one delicious bread. I like the flour blend here because it yields a bread that is moist HYDRATED and dense in just the right way, without being stick-to-the-roof dense or too hydrated. Because there is such a thing and I hate overly hydrated quick bread. It should be able to stand on it’s own, and not just keel over into a soggy lump when you cut it. Just no.

But this one is a great balance between the two — and it’s egg content makes it just that bit… airy? Fluffy? Hard to describe but nonetheless delicious. Let’s go with densely airy just because, well why not. Don’t let my lack of appropriate terminology deter you… it’s amazing. And easy. No excuses!

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See. I told you.

Zucchini-Banana Spelt Bread with Walnuts and Cinnamon

Fodmap friendly, high in soluble fiber, and refined sugar free. Feel free to adapt the flour blend as needed — this could easily be gluten free with a gf blend. This is a remarkably forgiving bread, given that I pretty much improvised as I went along and it still came out fabulously. Yield: 2 mini loaves or 1 small 9 by 5 loaf. A Wait are those Cookies original.

  • 1/2 c quinoa flour
  • 1/2 c white rice flour
  • 1/2 c whole spelt flour
  • 1.25 tsp baking powder
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • scant 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 3 egg whites, beaten until foamy and light (I use an immersion blender for this)
  • heaping 1/6 c coconut sugar
  • 1/6 c coconut oil (liquid)
  • 1 heaping tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 very ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 c grated, unpeeled zucchini
  • 1/4 c chopped walnuts (optional)

Preheat the oven to 325, and lightly grease either 2 mini loaf pans, or 1 standard size.

In a smallish bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, rice flour, spelt flour, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and ginger. In a larger, non-reactive bowl, beat egg whites until foamy. Whisk or mix in coconut sugar, coconut oil, vanilla, and maple. Stir in mashed banana and grated zucchini. Add walnuts, and stir the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients with as few strokes as possible, until the batter is incorporated. Pour into the prepared pans, and bake for 35-40 minutes, or until the top is firm and a tester comes out clean. Mine were perfect at exactly 37 minutes. Let cool for a few minutes in the pans, then turn out onto a cooling rack to cool complete. Store them wrapped in foil in the fridge for best leftovers!

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Like I really needed an excuse for more nut butter

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So. Pancakes!

It’s been awhile since there have been any pancakes on this blog, which is a mild travesty considering they’re one my fave things. Okay okay, breakfast and all associated breakfast things are my fave but you get the idea. Besides, I used to have such epic once-a-week-designated pancake days with friends back in college that it is just lame that I hardly eat them anymore.

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Realistically, I probably love them so much because it gives me an excuse (as if I needed one) to eat more nut butter. Because… I really don’t feel like I need to justify this?! Actually because flat food surface= naked= needs nut butter or seed butter or coconut butter or all three (or just regular butter. I mean, obviously). And then a ton of other toppings because apparently I like decorating my food. And then playing with it. And then taking pictures. Let’s just pretend I grew up, okay?

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That would be three kinds of butters in one meal. I think I have a problem.

Also cat selfies. Ha.

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And pretty things! Mother Nature is so beautiful she doesn’t need a filter.

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But back to pancakes.

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These have actually become my favorite lunch of leisure lately, especially after some morning jazzercise general sweatiness. This particular recipe is so beyond easy to whip up, it’s stupid. And it contains less than five unprocessed ingredients, good fats, protein, and good carbs…exactly what I want after a workout. AND I can eat them with nut butter, which means I see absolutely nothing wrong with this picture. They are super light and fluffy, not overly sweet, and leave you feeling satisfied and not stuffed or comatose (hello traditional wheat-sugar-gluten-bad fat-undeniably delicious brunch, I’m looking at you).

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Indulge yourself! It’s almost Friday, you know you want breakfast for dinner…

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Banana Pancakes

Grain free, gluten free, refined sugar free, dairy free, paleo. Serves 1, yields about 4 good sized pancakes.

  • 1 banana
  • 1 egg
  • 1 egg white
  • scant 1/4 c zucchini, finely grated
  • 1 tsp coconut flour*
  • optional: a sprinkle each of cinnamon and nutmeg

*I vary this amount according to how much zucchini I use; the batter is runny so a little thickener doesn’t come amiss. However, if you hate coconut or don’t have coconut flour, you can leave it out no problem.

In a bowl, mash the banana like a boss, then whisk in eggs until mostly smooth (lumps are totes fine, these are your pancakes after all so no one can judge your lumps). Stir in grated zucchini, coconut flour and spices if using. Let sit while your prep your griddle or pan: grease pan of choice (I like a flat griddle, a sauté pan is fine) with some organic butter and heat over medium. Once hot, spoon batter out into roughly four pancakes (or go crazy and make silver dollar little bitty ones)… blah blah blah, y’all know how to make pancakes… let the edges solidify and the tops get that bubbly-sheen to them before attempting to flip… let cook until cooked through… plate prettily and serve, preferably with a truckload of various nut/seed butters and some fresh coconut aaannnnd plain yogurt. Mmmm.

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Sometimes you just gotta go big

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You know those times.

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For when there’s a dinner party with besties+boys and you’re bringing dessert (because um obviously, why would I bring anything else?!) and really… dinner party desserts = epic. Because on a random week day cookies or a simple sheet cake are all well and good, but a layer cake? I wish. I mean, I could but a) unfortunately don’t have time for that and b) I would be a zillion pounds if I baked like this all the time.

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BUT. For a dinner party? Absolutely. Keep that in mind, all y’all who want my desserts… invite me to your next din din shenanigans! Ha. I totally break the silly rule allllll the time that says you’re not supposed to try out new recipes on guests (or I suppose hosts) but HELLO if I did that I would never make anything new, so too bad. Luckily enough not only was this not an unmitigated disaster, but it was freaking fantastic. Like maybe the best cake I’ve made and eaten in…. months. At least.

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Mutti said it was the best cake I’d ever made… and I went home with one slice out of an entire two layer, 9″ cake. Hmm… I think I’m picking up on something here… this cake was DAMN good. I know I know, you’re not supposed to say your own food is good but I can’t help it because I want this all over again and it’s gone and what whyyyy?!

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I may have to make this again. Really really really soon. Someone have a dinner party!! Extra points if it’s themed and there’s a costume element… just mentioning…

Don’t wait till your next dinner party to make this. Do yourself a favor, and then have cake for breakfast. Because we all know that’s what you get to do when you’re an adult.

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Banana Caramel Cake with Salted Coconut Caramel and Caramel Buttercream

Besides that this is utterly DELICIOUS, it also happens to be refined sugar free! The caramel is paleo (though the cake isn’t), and the cake is made with whole wheat flour so you get a bit of good fiber and whole grains with your decadence. Cake and buttercream recipes are slightly adapted from the Kitchn, here, and the caramel comes from An Edible Mosaic, here! Makes one two layer, 9″ cake, enough buttercream to fill and top cake, and a generous amount of caramel because OF COURSE you want some left over for drizzle purposes later. I recommend making the caramel a day early, so you can just do cake+buttercream the day you’re eating all the goodness.

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Salted Coconut Caramel

Makes more than enough to drizzle over cake while frosting, plus more for drizzle purposes just prior to eating. AND has enough for leftovers later. Win win win. The yield is somewhere around 2.5 cups of caramel. You’ll use at least 1.5 generous cups for the cake+buttercream, and then at least another 1/2 cup for drizzle.

  • 2 cans full-fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 c pure maple syrup
  • 1/2 c coconut sugar
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp unsalted butter
  • scant 1 tsp fine sea salt

In a saucepan over medium high heat, combine coconut milk, maple, and coconut sugar. Let it boil, then turn it down so it’s just barely boiling, with the bubbles just breaking the surface. Whisking continuously, cook for 15-20 minutes, until the caramel has thickened slightly (though it will still be a runnier caramel, that’s fine), the liquid has reduced, and the color is darker. I cooked mine for a bit over 20 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in vanilla, butter, and sea salt, and whisk until smooth. Let cool completely in the pan, then store in a sealed jar in the fridge [because we know I store everything in jars anyway].

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Banana Caramel Cake

  • 3/4 c grass-fed, unsalted butter, softened to room temp for an hour
  • 3/4 c coconut sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 c whole wheat pastry flour
  • 1.5 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5 c unsweetened almond milk
  • 2 tsp vanilla
  • 1.5 c mashed, ripe bananas (about 4-5 bananas)
  • heaping 1 c of coconut caramel (recipe above)

Preheat the oven to 325, and grease two 9″ baking pans with coconut oil/butter.

in a large bowl, cream together the softened butter and coconut sugar (I used a hand mixer), until fluffy. Add in the eggs, one at a time, beating after each addition until the batter becomes silky looking and slightly lighter in color.

In a smaller bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and sea salt. Thoroughly mash bananas in a small bowl, then whisk them together with the almond milk and vanilla. Begin adding flour mixture and banana mix into the butter+eggs bowl, beating after each addition and alternating dry-wet-dry-wet-dry until incorporated. Pour batter into prepared pans. Pour a heaping 1/2 cup of caramel over each pan, and use a knife to swirl the liquid into the cake batter (it’s best if it isn’t completely incorporated, leave some caramelly pockets).

Bake for 45-50 minutes, when a tester should come out clean. Let cool in the pans for a few minutes, then run a knife around the edges and turn them out onto cooling racks. Let cool completely before frosting.

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Caramel Buttercream

  • 1/2 c grass fed, unsalted butter
  • 1/2 c caramel sauce (recipe above)
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1.5 c powdered sugar

In a largeish bowl, use a hand mixer to beat together butter, caramel sauce, vanilla, and sea salt until mostly incorporated and smooth(don’t worry if at first it looks a little grainy, mine smoothed right out after I beat in the sugar). Pour in powdered sugar, and beat until a silky frosting forms.

Once cake is completely cool, flip the bottom layer carefully onto your cake plate of choice, frost the middle, then flip the other layer on top. Frost that, using as much buttercream as humanly possible. Be a little careful, as this frosting tends to slip a little bit (don’t make any radical maneuvers with your cake whilst transporting or anything). Top with more drizzled caramel (obvi), and some unsweetened shredded coconut+chopped pecans if that floats your boat (it very much floated mine and my dinner companions). It’s also especially awesome with good vanilla ice cream…

Store the cake in the fridge prior to serving, as well as any leftovers (ha, I dare you).

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