On Wednesday, June 8, we ran a wire story in the Extra section about variations on banana bread. The article mentioned a banana black cake, and though we had three recipes with the article, we did not have space to run the banana black cake recipe.
Reader Betty wrote in and asked if I could dig up the recipe for this cake, which included seedless blackberry jam, raisins and dates. YUM! I found it and thought I’d share it for anybody else who might be interested. The recipe comes from “Maida Heatter’s Cakes” by none other than Maida Heatter, who has been dubbed “The Queen of Cakes” by Saveur magazine. Enjoy!
BANANA BLACK CAKE
Yield: 1 tube cake (25 slices)
3 cups walnuts
1 1/2 cups pitted dates
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 1/4 cups sifted all-purpose flour
1 cup unsifted whole-wheat flour
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon each nutmeg, cinnamon and allspice
1/2 teaspoon each ground cloves, ginger and salt
2 sticks unsalted butter
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup each granulated sugar and light brown sugar
1 1/2 cups seedless blackberry jam
5 medium bananas (2 cups mashed)
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 cup dark raisins
1. Adjust two racks, the first 1/3 up from bottom of oven and the second on the lowest rack. Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Butter 10-by-4-inch (20-cup capacity) tube pan. Line with parchment paper and butter the paper. Chop 2/3 cup of the walnuts finely and turn into prepared pan to coat evenly. Distribute loose nuts evenly over bottom of pan.
2. Chop remaining nuts less fine. Cut dates into medium-size pieces. Toss with 1 tablespoon granulated sugar. Sift together flours, cocoa, spices and salt; set aside.
3. In large bowl of electric mixer, beat butter until soft. Beat in vanilla and both sugars. Beat in eggs one at a time, then beat in blackberry jam. Coarsely mash bananas and beat into batter.
4. Stir baking soda into buttermilk until baking soda dissolves. Add to batter. Scrape sides of bowl. On low speed, gradually add sifted dry ingredients, beating until incorporated. With wooden spoon, stir in nuts, dates and raisins. Turn mixture into prepared pan and smooth top.
5. Cover top with aluminum foil and place covered pan in oven. Place shallow pan of hot water on lowest rack (to keep steam in oven). Bake 1 hour, remove aluminum foil and bake for 1 1/2 more hours, or until cake tests clean.
6. Let cake stand 20 minutes before removing from pan. Chill and cut into thin slices.
Source: “Maida Heatter’s Cakes”