The Art of Uncomplicated – Banana Chocolate Chip Pecan Cake

It is often flaunted around that success in baking is achieved only by following an exact science. That it is the precise measurement of ingredients and the perfect execution of step by step instructions that will yield the anticipated results. Baking often involves many different steps and tends to mess up the kitchen and dirty a fair bit of dishes. And for the most part, this is absolutely correct! We are often intimidated into trying new recipes because we fear the results… BUT, not all baking projects are created equal. While it is fair to admit that pastry, elaborate cakes, and specialty French desserts can be quite intricate and are truly works of art, there are those scrumptious desserts that are silly easy to make and nearly fool proof. This is one of these cakes. It is so uncomplicated; it almost is a sin it turns out so delicious! It requires zero skills, zero electric appliance, very simple ingredients and will dirty very few dishes. Yet, it is always a hit: it gets gobbled up pretty quickly in my home although it does hold well by staying fresh for a few days. You may be tempted to swap the butter with oil, and it can be done. However, I strongly recommend sticking to butter: it will yield a tender & moist cake with a crunchy crust.

On the subject of uncomplicated cakes that deliver the WOW factor, you may want to explore an older post in which I share two super easy cake recipes: a Chocolate Cake with Chocolate Ganache and a Chocolate Raspberry Torte. The only way I can even try to convince you that the chocolate cake with ganache is absolutely divine is by telling this little story: last Saturday, I attended a birthday celebration for my dear friend Susan. It was a grown women’s sleep over complete with a potluck of delicious appetizers, copiously drenched with good wine and even better conversation. We were a small group, a total of seven of us. This winter party/birthday celebration has been going on for several years now and we always look forward to this little time out from normal life. These ladies often request I make the Chocolate Raspberry Torte but this time, I was given carte blanche. I know these chicks: they are chocolate FANATICS. I wanted to bring something I had not made for them yet. I was hoping the cake would be enjoyed by all… Well, I shouldn’t have worried: to say it was a hit is an understatement!!! I have brought this cake to many events in the past but never, ever has it been polished off in one sitting. Never say never!!! By bedtime, there was one lonely, tiny piece left which the birthday girl swiftly stashed away to enjoy the next day. They ate nearly the entire cake! Need I say more? I think that counts for complete endorsement of the deliciousness of this cake. Now back to the subject of this blog post:
BANANA PECAN CHOCOLATE CHIP CAKE

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This cake is super-fast to throw together. Pecans are optional! Because you pour it in one cake pan, it is even faster than making muffins. No power tools required!

Tools required: one 9X13 cake pan, 2 bowls, 1 whisk, 1 rubber spatula, 1 banana/potato smasher or a fork, measuring cups and spoons and of course, an oven!

What you need:

Dry

3 cups flour
1 cup sugar
3 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
Wet

2 eggs
1 cup melted butter
½ cup buttermilk
2 cups mashed ripe bananas (4 or 5 medium)
1 cup chocolate chips
1 cup toasted pecans coarsely chopped (optional)
How to make it:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease your cake pan with butter. If you have parchment paper, I recommend using some to line the pan. Makes it easier to lift the cake out
  2. In one of the bowls, combine together all dry ingredients using whisk and set aside
  3. In separate bowl, combine eggs, bananas, butter and buttermilk. Whisk until well blended
  4. Have your chocolate chips and pecans ready. If you skip the pecans, you can add ½ cup extra chocolate chips.
  5. Add wet mixture to dry ingredients and mix well without beating. Once the dry ingredients are almost completely incorporated with the wet ones, add the chocolate chips and the pecans to the batter. Fold until all ingredients are just blended. Do not over mix or beat
  6. Pour batter into pan and bake for 40 minutes, until the top bounces back to the touch or when a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean of batter (some chocolate may stick to the toothpick). I usually start checking a few minutes before the set time because each oven is different. If the top of the cake is still pale, I increase the time slightly before checking for doneness.

 

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Note: I use mostly organic ingredients, including flour. Neutral oil, such as avocado or sunflower, can be substituted for butter although it may alter the flavour profile as well as the overall texture.

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