I can't believe it's been nearly a year and a half since I last baked a banana cake. I was six months pregnant at that time and it was a craving that led me to bake one of my favourite cakes. Since that time, many things have changed.
Our family has grown and is complete. We moved to a bigger house to accommodate this- and my growing collection of props. Maryam started school and Hassan learnt many new things. I worried for the longest time when he didn't sit till nine months. Now he tries to climb into Maryam's chair and sit, just like his big sister. He crawls and cruises and has the most headstrong personality a fifteen month old could ever have. It is highly amusing to see him throw his head back in anger and then bury it between his legs when he doesn't get his way. Terrible twos already?
I finally have a garden although it still needs some love and attention. A few more plants and flowers to add colour and perhaps even a herb garden at some point? I'm being rather optimistic I think. But one thing that hasn't changed is my love for banana cakes. Oh yes, I still have a thing for them.
Here I have taken that same cake I baked whilst pregnant and changed it to suit our current cravings (Oh and I'm definitely not pregnant). Added some chocolate and hazelnut butter and finished it with some chopped toasted hazelnuts. We devoured it together. Me, Maryam and my little Hassan as well. Good thing it makes two loaves so we could share with friends too.
Banana Chocolate and Hazelnut Loaf Cake
1/2 cup butter, room temperature
1/4 cup hazelnut butter (stir if oil has separated)
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
3 cups all purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 1/2 cups buttermilk
2 tsp lemon juice
1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
1/2 cup toasted hazelnuts, skin removed and chopped coarsely
6 ounces semi sweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup whipping cream
Extra chopped hazelnuts for garnish.
Preheat the oven to 175 degrees Centigrade. Grease and flour 2 loaf tins. Mash bananas mixed with lemon juice and set aside. In another bowl, mix together the flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.
Using the paddle attachment of your stand mixer beat the butters and sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs one at a time. Add the vanilla extract. With the mixer speed on low, add the flour mixture alternating with the buttermilk. Stir in the mashed bananas, chopped chocolate and hazelnuts.
Pour batter into prepared pans and bake for 1 hour or so or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle of the cake. Frost when completely cool.
To make the ganache, bring cream to a boil. Turn the heat off and add the chocolate chips. Let it sit for two minutes. Add butter and with a wooden spoon, mix until smooth. Frost cooled cake immediately and garnish with extra toasted hazelnuts.