Tuesday, November 11, 2008
Ohana Snack Cake
Ohana is a Hawaiian word that, roughly translated, means extended family; this cocoa, banana and macadamia nut cake is decidedly homely and perfect for gatherings of family and good friends. Bananas, macadamia nuts and small crops of cacoa, from the slopes of Hualalai Mountain, are indigenous to the big island of Hawaii and this cake makes perfect use of those ingredients. The cake is not Hawaiian but because the ingredients used to make it are and because it's designed to be served at simple gatherings of family and friends I named it an ohana cake. One of the elements of a green kitchen is the avoidance of waste; that's why I freeze overripe bananas. I use thawed, frozen bananas in this cake; if fresh, unblemished bananas are used you won't get the flavor that's needed here. The predominant flavor in this cake should be the banana, so please go with frozen, overripe bananas. You can swap any toasted nutmeat for the macadamias. Other hints...serve the cake warm. It begs for a dollop of cream or small scoop of ice cream. If you make the cake early in the day, warm it it the oven or microwave before serving. Warm makes a difference.
Ohana Snack Cake
1-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup Dutch process cocoa
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (preferably frozen, thawed)
1 cup milk
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 to 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped, toasted macadamia nuts (walnuts or pecans may be substituted)
1) Spray a 9-inch square cake pan with nonstick cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
2) Sift flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt into a large bowl. Stir in sugar and whisk to incorporate.
3) Combine bananas, milk, butter, eggs and vanilla in another large bowl. Mix well. Stir in flour until just combined. Stir in nuts.
4) Pour into prepared pan. Bake for 30 minutes, or until cake tester comes out clean. Remove from oven. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes. Unmold.
5) Warm cake before serving. Sprinkle top with confectioners' sugar. Cut into squares. Yield: 9 servings.