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Author Notes: my goodness, i’ve done it! i’ve found the absolute best banana bread recipe that has ever come to pass. as soon as this delicate, beautiful creation was pulled from the oven, cooled, sliced, and subsequently eaten, it was crowned the very best banana yogurt cake. so, i am going to share my discovery with you so that you may also enjoy this most wonderful cake of cakes. but i must warn you, several of the factors that went into making this the very best banana yogurt cake were discovered entirely by chance. perhaps you will have better luck even than me. perhaps not. but in any case, let us begin:
i was discussing martha stewart’s banana bread recipe with a friend of mine – as one does – when she said that she usually likes to substitute the sour cream with greek yogurt – as one does. i agreed; it’s a tactic i often employ to lighten up the ingredients in baked goods. naturally, i thought i would make some banana bread. here are the factors that took the recipe from delicious to unfathomably incredible:
ultra- possibly dangerously -ripe bananas: unlike vegetables, fruit wants to be eaten. fruit wears it’s nicest, most colorful dress and spritzes on its best perfume. i tend to keep my fruit out at room temperature (it has the most flavor that way), but doing so also tells you when it’s perfect to be eaten by it’s scent. that said, our apartment was positively drowning in banana “perfume” – they were nearly black with ripeness. the sugars in the fruit were as sweet as they could get, which added so much flavor to the cake
goat milk yogurt: i eat a yogurt a day – the thick, greek, 2% fat kind that is so delicious. but when i opened the fridge, i saw only a package of goat milk yogurt. it is certainly a close second to my favorite – and goat’s milk is much better on the human digestive system than cow’s milk. instead of running out to the market, i thought that the tangy sourness of goat yogurt might taste even better!
butter and eggs at room temperature: i know it’s kitchen wisdom, but this is the first time i kept the eggs and butter outside the fridge for more than an hour. i kept them out for 8 hours. i have to think that the exceptional flavor of this cake is due partly to that step. if you’re baking at night, leave out the eggs and butter in the morning. if you bake in the morning, leave them out all night. it really makes plenty of difference.
toasted walnuts: i think it was david lebovitz who said his pet peeve is when nuts in dessert aren’t toasted. i love it – what a refined palate! his – if it was indeed his – statement certainly had an effect on me, and i roasted the walnuts for 10 minutes in a 400 degree oven before incorporating them into the batter.
last minute chocolate: as i was ready to put the loaf pan in the oven, a nagging feeling made me open the cupboard and reach for the extra dark chocolate chips. i didn’t want a lot of them in the batter, but i instead placed about a dozen sporadically on top. what a treat! while baking, the chips fall to the bottom of the cake, creating a lightly sweet crust on the bottom. wonderful! —nadiact
Makes 1 loaf
- 1/2 cup butter, at room temperature
- 1 cup raw cane sugar
- 2 large eggs, at room temperature
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 very very ripe, medium bananas, mashed
- 1/2 cup plain goat's milk yogurt
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted in oven at 400 degrees for about 10 minutes
- 1/4 cup high quality extra dark chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees. butter a loaf pan and set aside. using an electric mixer, cream butter and sugar until light and fluffy. add eggs, and beat to incorporate.
- In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, and salt. add to the butter mixture, and mix until just combined. add bananas and yogurt and mix to combine. stir in nuts, and pour into prepared pan. sprinkle the top with the chocolate chips
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean, about 1 hour 10 minutes. let rest in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a rack to cool.