Sunday, January 08, 2012

Yes, We Have No Bananas. {An ABC chocolate swirl cake}

This is my second year of ABC-baking where we choose to bake a recipe each month from one book. In 2012 you’ll see us baking through: The Weekend Baker by Abby Dodge.

(I ordered my copy here btw, excellent customer service, great prices, no shipping costs! I’m just saying…)

First let me get into a little introduction about the book, don’t let the title fool you into believing you’ll be getting recipes here that can only be baked when you have two days with nothing to do on your hands…

No! This is a book that is written with busy people in mind. The author breaks down the recipes into doable stages, instructing you when and how to prepare and how long each step will take you. This way she enables you to bake lovely recipes by preparing ahead and setting things aside until you’re ready for them the next day. Recipes are listed in the order of the time they take, so if you will you can have cookies in 30 minutes, or a cake in an hour. When you’re in for something more elaborate there’s always the chapter: “productions” (equally broken down in easy steps).

Hanâa contacted Abby and she was excited to pick our first recipe herself: Nut-Crusted Chocolate-Banana Swirl Cake! Sounds good no? That’s what I thought. I also thought that anything banana except fresh doesn’t go down well in my family. The book has been on my writing table for a week and I couldn’t decide what to do. Bake anyway using bananas, risking that no one will eat it? Bake and leave them out? What will that do to the recipe?

Today I decided I had procrastinated long enough. That cake needs to be baked. And when I opened the fridge the answer came from a small bowl of leftover homemade apple sauce whispering: Use me! Usually we never post recipes from the book we’re using as to encourage readers to buy the book but I tinkered around a bit so I think I’m allowed ;-):

Not crusted, no banana, cocoa swirl apple cake
{adapted from The Weekend Baker by Abigail Johnson Dodge}

12-cup Bundt/fluted pan, buttered/spray
oven preheated 180C/350F

the batter:
- 255 grams ap flour
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 heaped tsp baking soda
- scant 1/4 tsp table salt
- 160 gr unsalted butter, room temp soft
- 220 gr granulated sugar
- 200 gr. home made smooth apple sauce, room temp
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp dark rum
- 3 eggs
- 6 tbs créme fraiche, stir to loosen up a bit
- 2 heaped tbs cocoa, sifted

 hand full roughly chopped walnuts

Prepare the pan, use butter or spray. Drop chopped nuts on the bottom of your pan, dividing them between the rims.

In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt and whisk until well blended. In a large bowl, combine butter, sugar, apple sauce, vanilla and rum. Beat with a handheld mixer (or use the paddle attachment on your stand mixer) until well blended.

Although all my ingredients were at room temp. it still looked a bit curdled but no need to worry!
Add eggs one at a time, beating after each addition just until blended, stopping to scrape dwon the sides of the bowl as needed. Next add half the flour mix and stir gently with a rubber spatula until just blended. Add créme fraiche and blend, then add the remainder of the flour again until just blended.

Divide batter in two equal parts; one is left white, the other part gets the cocoa stirred in until nicely combined. With a spoon, add a scoopful of each batter around the pan until all the batter is used. I didn’t swirl with a knife afterwards because I spooned both batters alternately but you could if you wish.

Bake for 45 minutes, check with a toothpick or cake tester inserted near the center comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a rack to cool for 10-15 minutes, no longer.
Abby warns us that the cake will stick if you leave it longer than that. Unmold too early and it will break into chunks. Sounds scary huh?

I was a bit worried about unmolding because I heard one or two rumours about sticking/chunks… Holding my breath but the cake slid out just as it should. While I’m typing this up there are munching sounds from the livingroom. Or rather there’s silence (I wouldn’t want you to think I didn’t raise my family to eat properly…) The husband is sneaking up towards the counter and asks for seconds already holding the knife…. He is allowed only if he leaves enough of the cake to photograph tomorrow! Mission accomplished, really really good cake!

I like it, although it's quite dense it is not dry at all. Love the fact that you can easily distinguish the two flavours, my Dutch processed chocolate made for a very chocolatey taste, and in the white parts you can track down the rum and vanilla. Nice!



  1. I love your changes, Karen. I'm glad the bananas didn't deter you from baking it. Can't wait to see what this looks like :o)

  2. Thanks for sharing the changes you made on the recipe Karen! Lucky you to have a hubby and kids who love and appreciate your baking. Looking forward to seeing the pics of the leftovers LOL

  3. What a beautiful cake, Karen. It came out perfect! I love the swirl on the inside.

  4. What a beautiful cake! I just love bundt cakes,they're so homey. Can you believe I've got this book (I'm afraid you can), didn't bake much out of it yet. Í'm thinking of baking along this year, although I'm already late for the first one of course.....

  5. Hi, I love the changes you made, it turns out great! I've just ordered this book from BD too last week, waiting impatiently for it to arrive!
    Happy New Year!

  6. Met het plan in mijn hoofd om dit jaar met jullie mee te bakken was ik al eerder op zoek geweest naar dit boek, maar vond het overal te duur!........totdat ik jouw link tegenkwam!!!!! Ja dat kon ik natuurlijk niet laten liggen en meteen besteld!! Bedankt!!!.......(en nu gauw aan het bakken!!)

  7. @ Soepkipje volgens mij ga je nog spijt krijgen dat je die link hebt gevolgd.... zoveel leuke boeken voor leuke prijsjes! :-D


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