I have just returned from a remarkable 4-day trip to Havana.
This was another trip that almost didn’t happen. I got tickets in a bout of spontaneity and then promptly cancelled them because I felt unprepared – I hadn’t researched the intricacies of travel to Cuba. Needless to say, the second set of tickets I got stuck, and ended up having wonderful time in Havana; I hope to share my adventures with you soon.
One of my favourite images from Havana was this giant cart of bananas being pulled down a street. I couldn’t help but picture all the loaves of banana bread I could make with that much banana! It’s funny because a few weeks ago, I purposefully set aside three bananas to brown just so I could make this spiced dark chocolate banana bread. I buy bananas every week when I go grocery shopping but we gobble them up so fast, they’re never around long enough to go past their prime.
I’ve been making variations of this banana bread for a few years now; it’s based on this extremely popular recipe. It’s highly adaptable; of course, I switch out eggs for ground flaxseed and include a teaspoon of baking powder to aid with the rise in the oven.
With an infusion of fragrant warm spices and luscious dark chocolate, this bread is nothing short of a decadent treat. It’s sweet but not too sweet, tender, not too dense and aromatic, which is just how I like my banana bread, so this one checks all those boxes.
Sometimes I add a pinch of ginger to up the oomph factor, sadly I was out of ginger this time around. I’ve done a mix of 1 cup all-purpose flour and 1/2 cup whole-wheat flour as well, it gives it a subtly rich and nutty taste. For sweetness, I normally use between 1/ 2 cup to 3/4 cup of brown sugar depending on how ripe my bananas are.
I shot a fun little video (below, after the recipe) to show how easy it is to rustle up this banana bread – forgive me my poor editing skills, I’ll get better, I promise.
This is a great breakfast loaf, it rich but not too heavy; I love it in the morning with coffee or tea; it adds a delightfully spicy note to breakfast. It’s my favourite way to start weekend mornings.
It makes a wonderful snack too; I wish I had brought a few slices on my trip!
- 1 tablespoon ground flaxseed + 3 tablespoons water
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (whole-wheat or gluten-free flour)
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1/4 teaspoons ground nutmeg
- 90 – 120g dark chocolate bar, chopped (or ~1/2 cup chocolate chips)
- 3 – 4 very ripe bananas, mashed or pureed
- 1/3 cup vegan butter, melted (or melted coconut oil)
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees f., and butter a loaf pan
- Mix ground flaxseed and water in a small cup or bowl, set aside and let mixture thicken for at least 5 minutes
- Whisk flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt and spices (cinnamon, cardamom and nutmeg) together in a large bowl
- Add chopped chocolate and mix
- In a smaller bowl, stir together mashed bananas, flaxseed mixture and melted butter; mix in vanilla extract
- Pour banana mixture over flour mixture and mix until blended
- Pour batter into the prepared loaf pan, and bake until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, about 45 to 50 minutes
- Cool in pan on a wire rack for 5 - 10 minutes, remove from pan and allow cake to cool completely before serving