Banana walnut cake

Halloween has arrived!  The weather is calm and for that, I am very grateful. I'm off to start a busy day but I leave you with this...have a fun day!

This cake is pretty much a no-brainer.  By that, I mean if you like baked goods with bananas and the flavors of toasted walnuts and a hint of spice, there's a very good chance you'll like this.  It's a great everyday kind of cake to make with that extra ripe banana you may have around the house.
I substituted walnuts for the pecans in the original recipe.  I'm not a huge fan of pecans but I love toasted walnuts in banana muffins and in baked goods, in general.  And for once, I didn't have to divide the recipe in half to make a smaller, 6-inch, cake because the recipe was actually written this way!  
The texture of this banana cake is lighter than typical banana bread but maybe slightly firmer than a muffin.  It has a hint of cinnamon and cloves, along with dark brown sugar to create a nice warm mix of flavors that go really well with some toasted nuts.  Tasting this cake and the way the flavor of the toasted walnuts pop, I'm reminded of the magic of toasting nuts.  I can't believe I ever used raw nuts for baking in the past because the extra flavor you get from toasting them is amazing and well worth the effort.

I improvised by making a quick and easy buttermilk substitute for this cake.  I don't know why I've never done this until now since I've made homemade crème fraîche in the past.  The recipe called for just 1/4 cup of buttermilk and I was very proud of myself for not going out specifically to buy a new carton (though I can find plenty of good uses for it these days with recipes like this one...which probably explains why I always have or want to buy buttermilk).  In this case though, I simply stirred a little lemon juice into whole milk for a quick buttermilk substitute.  I've read about this many times and everyone says it works perfectly well for baking.  As far as I can tell, it certainly did the trick!
This recipe comes from Martha Stewart's Cakes book; I've simply adapted it to use walnuts instead of pecans and made a smaller version.  I know there's been plenty of discussion about Martha in the past weeks and not getting into all that, I did notice one interesting thread among others' comments. Many said they've had bad experiences with her recipes, which surprised me.  I can only speak from my own personal experience - which I'm the first to admit is far from vast - but I've almost always had success with Martha's recipes and many of them, particularly on the dessert end, are among my family's favorites.  And for me, I'll just continue to focus on the food and experimenting to find good eats for my family!  : )


Recipe:

Banana Walnut Cake
Adapted from "Banana Pecan Cake" recipe in Martha Stewart's Cakes

- Makes one 6-inch cake - 

4 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature, plus more for greasing pan
1 cup sifted cake flour, plus more for pan
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
1 very ripe large banana, mashed (about 1/2 cup)
1/4 cup buttermilk*
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 cup firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1/3 cup chopped toasted walnuts (or pecans)
Confectioners' sugar, for dusting

* If you do not have buttermilk on hand, you can make a quick substitute like I did.  In a measuring cup, I added nearly 1 teaspoon of lemon juice, then added enough whole milk to make 1/4 cup.  Stir mixture together and let sit for a few minutes before using.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Butter a 6 x 2 inch round cake pan.  Line the bottom with a round of parchment paper and butter the parchment.  Dust with flour, tapping out excess.  (Alternatively, use baking spray to grease the cake pan, including the parchment round).

Sift flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and cloves together into a bowl.  In a separate bowl or measuring cup, whisk together the mashed banana, buttermilk, and vanilla.

Beat butter and brown sugar together in the bowl of a stand mixer on medium-high speed for 3-5 minutes, until pale and fluffy.  Beat in the egg.  Add flour mixture in 2 batches, alternating with the banana mixture, beginning and ending with the dry ingredients.  Beat until just combined.  Stir in the walnuts using a rubber spatula.

Transfer the batter to the prepared pan, smoothing out the top.  Bake until cake is golden brown, about 45 minutes.  Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool for about 10 minutes.  Run a knife around the sides of the pan, turn the cake out, remove the parchment, and let cake cool completely on the wire rack.  Dust the cooled cake with confectioners' sugar before serving.  




52 comments:

  1. Monica, I love all these wonderful and pretty cakes that come out of your kitchen that feature a variety of nuts:) I adore toasted nuts and love that you used walnuts paired with banana - they go together beautifully! The cake sounds so good with the wonderful fall spices and I would love to have a big slice of this for breakfast right now! I'm so glad to hear the weather is calm where you are this year and hope you and your son get to enjoy a safe and happy Halloween!

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    1. Thanks, Kelly - oh my gosh, Halloween is a wrap! It was a very eventful afternoon/evening and the weather held up alright. Rained around noon but didn't for trick or treating - very grateful. Plus, no storms/power outages so it was a raging success. Hope you guys had a great one!

      I do love my nuts and you can't beat toasted walnuts with bananas. : )

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  2. This looks AMAZING. I would like some some right now, please. (Please deliver immediately.)

    I've had some major fails with Martha's recipes - more than from any other source - however, it's almost always with the recipes from her website, not those in her books. So, I'm going to blame her website minions, because I LOVE MARTHA. And one day, I hope to live at her house.

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    1. Thanks! And very interesting about Martha's recipes...I do usually cook from her books and I do recall one or two cases where a recipe in the book wasn't exactly the same as the website. I blame those minions, too! ; )

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  3. Definitely my kind of everyday cake...looks fabulous!

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    1. Glad you don't need to avert your eyes on this one. ; )

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  4. I love baking with nuts - and you're so right - toasting them is absolutely worth the extra effort! This cake sounds wonderful - and seems like the kind that is totally acceptable to eat for breakfast with a cup of coffee! Have a great Halloween!

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    1. I used to just toss un-toasted walnuts in to cookies and muffins so little did I know until I started this blog and thought maybe I should get a little more serious. If there's one cake to eat for breakfast, I think this definitely qualifies! It's not even as sweet as most banana muffins.

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  5. The texture of this cake looks amazing!!

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    1. Thanks, Marie. It's so simple and warm...

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  6. The texture / crumb looks amazing. Just absolutely perfect!

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    1. I liked it, Tricia. Posting it reminded me of it (just had it a week or two ago) and made me want more - I think that's a sign of a solid recipe.

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  7. I love your description of the texture to this cake! Makes me want a piece right now. :) This looks delicious. Banana anything is a classic popular treat in my home so I definitely have to try this. :)

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    1. My husband was always the banana-baked goods fiend in our house and I'm so happy I figured out why it's so popular. Bananas are amazing, aren't they!

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  8. This looks amazing, Monica! I wish that my brother hadn't eaten the last overripe banana around, because I would have loved to bake this today. It's so cold here that I'm totally in the mood for some afternoon baking, warm tea and cake!
    Happy Halloween :)

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    1. Oh, those pesky brothers. I have one myself (an older one). : ) I'm sure there are some good eats at your house to keep you warm and cozy. Thank you!

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  9. I SO want to try this!! I have "rotting" bananas just waiting to be used up!! :)

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    1. Hi Ashley - I think I still have some "fear" of "over" ripe bananas so I'm eager to use them up. I try to remember that "rotting" is pretty much what I'm aiming for. : ) I always have bananas since I love hearty food, even when it comes to fruit! Hope you try it.

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  10. Happy Halloween, Monica! My roommate keeps leaving her bananas out until they turn black, so I chuck them in the freezer and add them to my future banana bread stocks. Your recipe has reminded me of their existence, and I'm so excited to use them :)

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    1. Hi Irina - I need to try the freezing trick. It's like having gold in the freezer...haha

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  11. I love banana bread, banana cake, banana muffins, all of it! This looks simple and delicious.

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    1. Same here - love them all and a really ripe banana just makes those things sing with flavor!

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  12. I always like walnuts in banana cake , I remember when I was not gluten free I used to buy these banana nut muffins from a popular muffins store and they were so delicious. Your cake looks fantastic, I wish if I could have it for breakfast tomorrow.

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    1. Oh, I love a good banana walnut muffin, Balvinder! You've got me wanting one for tomorrow's breakfast! : )

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  13. This cake looks moist and I'm in love with that cinnamon and cloves taste. I can't say no to a good banana bread!

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    1. This time of year, I actually feel like I crave those spices...and I'm not a huge cinnamon person. Good banana bread is magical.

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  14. Banana and walnut is a great combo! I love the simplicity of this cake --not a lot of fuss, my kind of cake! Glad to hear the weather was calm for trick-or-treating. Hope your son and yourself had a great Halloween Monica! :)

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    1. Agree! We are having a windy, wet, stormy looking day today. Yesterday was a whole lot better so we were fortunate. Thank you, Anne.

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  15. I love the cakes that I find in your space. I don't care which nut is in there as long as it is there. I've read about the buttermilk too but never tried it. The cake looks so beautiful so definitely it works!

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    1. Thank you! I'm glad I tried the buttermilk shortcut since I only needed 1/4 cup and didn't have any in the fridge. I figured it worked just fine.

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  16. We constantly have leftover bananas around here! And i love this cake option. Such a fun alternative to quickbread!

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    1. I'm should start freezing over-ripe bananas, Joanne. Never did it but now that I think about it, I really should since I can never time everything just right. Good thing there are plenty of great recipes for banana bread, cookies, muffins, cakes, and smoothies around!

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  17. oooh this looks lovely! i never used to like bananas, but now they're one of my very favourite foods :) hope you had a lovely halloween!

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    1. I've always enjoyed bananas on their own but believe it or not, I didn't have a big sweet tooth (except for chocolate) until a few years ago...it was my husband who had/has the sweet tooth and loved all baked things banana. Once I discovered the magic though, there was no going back! : )

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  18. A beautiful cake. Monica, I know this would have been crazy yummy, love both element to the cake. I can't wait to whip this up. You my dear are a great baker.

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    1. I think it's simple and satisfying. Glad you like it, Asha! Happy Diwali!

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  19. Banana and walnut is the duo killer on this cake.....
    I guess i can't stop bite it....

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  20. Another beautiful cake Monica! Love the idea of the toasted nuts :-)

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  21. Banana bread is my fav... addition of walnuts was awesome... looks delicious monica.. nice clicks

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    1. Thank you, Sowmya. I love a good banana bread, too...this is a fun little twist on it.

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  22. I love baking with nuts and nut flours -- this looks absolutely divine with my afternoon tea :)

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    1. Thanks, Kiran. We can always use a little something sweet for our afternoon tea, right! : )

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  23. i love banana walnut muffins, so I"m pretty sure I would love this cake too. Looks great, Monica! Hope you had a fun Halloween :)

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    1. Same here on the banana walnut muffins. Halloween was the "best", according to the person that counts. : )

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  24. yay for your new Martha Stewart Cakes book! I know i've contributed to that big discussion about martha, but you know that i've had successes right alongside the failures, and i like to keep an open mind. I'm keeping an eye on you and this book, because it may make my cookbooks list. :) i love this little cake, and i like your choice of nuts: pecans, good...walnuts, BETTER! i'm totally in favor of the banana/walnut combo.

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    1. It's always interesting to hear another person's experience and perspective. I've definitely expanded my pool of recipe sources in recent years but to this day, whenever I want to make or eat something, need a recipe, Martha is still one of my first stops. I like to buy her books because they're almost like reference books for me. : )

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  25. Wow,
    That is beautiful! Just want to dive into it.

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