BANANA DATE TEA CAKE LOAF
Adapted from Tartine Bakery, San Francisco.
This rather dense, moist and sweet cake goes well with tea and even some yogurt — it can be breakfast for up to about a week after baking it. If you’re feeling really rowdy, you can add a cup or two of chocolate chips to the batter.
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. Lightly butter the bottom and sides of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
1 cup + 2 tbsp. all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons of cornstarch
1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons of baking powder
1 teaspoon of baking soda
3 medium bananas, very ripe
2 large eggs
1½ teaspoons of vanilla extract
½ teaspoon of salt
6 tablesppons. (¾ stick) unsalted butter
¾ cup + 2 tablespoons of sugar
1 cup nuts (walnuts or almonds) coarsely chopped
1¾ cups (about 8 ounces) of dates, pitted and coarsely chopped
1 medium banana
2 tablespoons of sugar
Using a mixer on medium-speed or by hand, mix all of the dry ingredients: flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda. Set aside. Peel the bananas and place in a second bowl — mash with a fork until you have a chunky purée. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt to the bananas and stir to mix well. Set aside.
In a third mixing bowl, beat the butter until light and creamy for about 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar and beat until light in color and fluffy, about 2 minutes – make sure to occasionally scrape down the side of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Slowly add the banana mixture and beat until incorporated. Again scrape down the sides of the bowl and mix again until all of the ingredients are incorporated.
Using a rubber spatula, fold the dry ingredients into the banana mixture. Then fold in the nuts and dates.
Transfer the batter to the prepared loaf pan and smooth the surface with the spatula. To top the cake, peel the banana and cut in half lengthwise to yield 4 long slices — lay the slices on top of the batter and sprinkle with a bit of sugar.
Bake until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool in the pan on a wire rack for about 20 minutes, and then invert onto rack, turn right side up, and let cool completely. Serve the cake at room temperature. It will keep, well wrapped, at room temperature for 2 days or in the refrigerator for about 1 week.