Not with a man.

Not with a Cream Puff.

With a book!

I am working on a review of the cookbook Essence of Chocolate:  Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger. The review isn’t ready yet, but I just had to tell you about it and give you a sneak peek at one of the incredible recipes that this book holds within its beautiful pages. I know I’m always going on and on about cookbooks, but this one really is a winner.

I leave you with this unbelievable Banana Caramel Cake.


Banana Caramel Cake

Dscn4573Adapted from Essence of Chocolate:  Recipes for Baking and Cooking with Fine Chocolate by Robert Steinberg and John Scharffenberger.

This recipe takes banana cake to a whole new level. While I initially thought it might be too sweet with the sugar, chocolate, bananas and caramel, the cake is instead balanced and spicy with a lovely sweet note. A classic!

For the cake:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. baking soda
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1-1/4 cups vegetable oil (or canola oil as in the original recipe)
  • 1-3/4 cups sugar
  • 1 tbsp. vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup coarsely chopped pecans
  • 3 oz. chocolate (I used a 65% chocolate), broken into small pieces (size of chips)
  • 3 ripe bananas, diced

For the caramel:

  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp. whole milk
  • 4 tbsp. unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  1. Butter and flour a tube pan or a bundt pan that can hold 12 cups.
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  3. Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, salt and baking soda).
  4. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine the eggs, oil and sugar. With the paddle attachment, mix on medium speed for 2 to 3 minutes.
  5. Scrape down the sides of the bowl to ensure that the sugar has been incorporated.
  6. Add the vanilla extract and mix for another 30 seconds.
  7. With the mixer on low speed, add the dry ingredients a bit at a time. Scrape down the sides of the bowl every now and then to ensure everything is incorporated.
  8. Once the dry ingredients have been added, remove the bowl from the stand mixer and add the pecans, chocolate and bananas. Gently fold them in with a spatula or a wooden spoon. Don’t over mix.
  9. Spoon the batter into the prepared pan. Bake for 50 minutes and then test the cake to see if it’s done by poking a toothpick or cake tester into the centre of the cake. If it comes out clean, it’s done. If not, bake the cake for another 5 to 10 minutes. In my oven, this cake took 55 minutes.
  10. About 5 to 10 minutes before the cake is done, make the caramel by combining all the ingredients in a small pan. Bring to the boil and stir occasionally to ensure that it doesn’t burn. Let it boil for about 5 minutes and then turn off the heat.
  11. Once the cake is out of the oven, poke holes all over the cake with a skewer. Immediately pour the caramel over the cake, stopping every now and then to let the caramel sink in. If the caramel pools in spots, poke more holes to allow it to sink in.
  12. Let the cake cool in the pan on a wire rack. Once it’s cool, loosen the cake from the sides of the pan and then unmold it onto a plate.
  13. Enjoy!

Note:  This cake will easily serve 10 to 12. Because I let the cake cool, I had no problems unmolding it. If you unmold it while it’s warm, be careful as it may stick.

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