Judging by how fast it disappeared, my banana poppy seed cake is a winner. Last night, Erev Lag Baomer, I was baking up a storm for my children’s Lag Baomer BBQ party, Chabad of Washington Heights. I am always graciously asked, don’t you dare show up without my chocolate chip cookies so of course, I made a mountain of these. I had lots of bananas in my freezer, which I always have on hand. You must be familiar with much-baked my Banana Chocolate Chip Cake. Great cake all right, but this time I was looking to make a cake without duplicating the CCC’s chocolate flavor, with all my usual guidelines in mind, especially when lots of allergy-prone kids are present: All natural and made with spelt flour as always, but without nuts.
So: No nuts and no chocolate in a banana cake? Oyoyoy, get real! But here’s the best part: My Banana Coconut Poppy Seed Cake came out fabulous. Bananas, poppy seeds, coconut. Great match of flavors! We just served it at my children’s Lag Baomer party, and Sagiv, one of the guests present, announced to all around him: “OK I know just what I’ll do: I’ll tell everyone this cake is terrible, so there will be more left for me!” Needless to say, his plan failed, and we did sell out. My tinkering really paid off, so I’m sharing!
Unless you are making this banana poppy seed cake a party cake for a very special occasion and need some kind of frosting for a splurge (say, coconut-lemon frosting: You have guessed it: I NEVER go there, not even on special occasions), please enjoy the cake as is with no guilt attached, so as not to turn a perfectly healthy treat into a super caloric junk food in no time. This cake is delicious and needs no adornment. I am including that frosting just in case, just so you use natural ingredients. with a hand mixer, whip one 8-ounce container vegan cream cheese with 1 cup to 1 1/2 cups confectioner sugar, 1/4 cup lemon juice, and 2 tablespoons lemon zest, 2-3 minutes, until good and fluffy. then gently fold in 1 cup grated coconut. You got yourself coconut lemon frosting!
- 3 cups flour (all purpose, whole-wheat pastry, or whole-grain spelt)
- 1 cup old fashioned oats
- 1/2 cup poppy seeds
- 1 cup grated coconut, packed (try your best for unsweetened; settle for sweetened)
- 4 eggs
- 2/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup coconut milk
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 2 teaspoons baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
- 4 very ripe bananas, diced or mashed
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Mix the first set of ingredients thoroughly in a bowl, by hand. Mix the second set of ingredients, with a mixer or in a food processor, until light and fluffy (OK to use your hands here too). Fold this mixture plus the bananas into the dry ingredients, by hand, making sure not to over-mix.
Pour the batter into a greased tube mold, and bake 1 hour or a few more minutes, until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean. Unmold the cake and invert to cool.
Muffins: Pour the batter into muffin molds, and make the baking time shorter: 20 minutes for very small muffins, 40 to 50 minutes for larger ones.
Gluten-Free Adaptation: Flour substitutions in the same proportions. Make sure the oats are marked GF, and use any gluten-free flour plus 1 teaspoon Xanthan gum). In this cake do not pour the batter into a cake mold, but only in muffin molds.