I’m a bad baker.
Over the weekend I discovered, much to my shock and horror, that I had run out of butter. It does not happen often and I actually buy two or three pounds at a time as to have plenty on hand at all times. When I do run out I usually discover it while in the middle of baking something and it honestly makes me feel a little edgy. For the most part butter is my fat of choice for baking, but in cake baking oil can be a better option. Yes, butter is the gold medal winner in the flavor department, but because it is solid at room temperature it can give some cooled cakes and quick breads a slightly rubbery mouth feel. So, when I ran out of butter while re-testing this recipe, because I hated the texture, I decided to go with canola oil. It made all the difference!
My favorite thing about this cake is the coffee. Rather than use water or milk I went with very strong coffee. I had hopped it would punch up the chocolate flavor, but what I did not anticipate was how the slight bitterness of the coffee would bring out the fruity banana. The texture of the bread is very tender thanks to the oil, and extremely moist due to the bananas. I believe this cake improves with a little time, so make it the night before you plant to serve it so the flavors can develop. Kept in an airtight container it will last for as many as four days and still be ridiculously moist.
Chocolate Banana Bread Serves 8-12
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup canola oil
2 eggs, at room temperature
1 egg yolk
3 ripe bananas, mashed (about 1 cup)
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/3 cup very strong coffee, at room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
Heat the oven to 350 F and prepare 1 10-inch loaf pan (or 6 mini-loaf pans) with non-stick spray.
In a medium bowl cream together the sugar and oil until smooth. The mixture will be slightly crumbly. Add in the eggs and egg yolk and mix until lighter in color, about three minutes.
Add the mashed banana and stir to combine. Sift the flour, cocoa, cinnamon, salt, baking soda, and baking powder into the bowl and mix until most of the dry ingredients are moist. Stir in the coffee and vanilla and mix until all the dry ingredients are moist. The batter will have some small lumps.
Pour the batter into the prepared loaf pans and bake for 45 to 55 minutes for a single loaf, 35 to 45 for smaller loafs, or until the center springs back when gently pressed. Cool for thirty minutes in the pan before turning out on a rack to cool completely.
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