Banana Bread

Used this recipe:
1 cup (115 grams) walnuts or pecans, toasted and coarsely chopped (optional)

1 3/4 cups (230 grams) all-purpose flour
1 cup white, 3/4 cup white whole wheat

3/4 cup (150 grams) granulated white sugar half brown, half white

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/2 tsp ground cardamom

dash nutmeg

2 large eggs, lightly beaten

1/2 cup (113 grams) unsalted butter, melted and cooled

3 ripe large bananas (approximately 1 pound or 454 grams), mashed well (about 1-1/2 cups)

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease & flour a 9x5x3 loaf pan OR 9x9 cake pan.
Place the nuts on a baking sheet and bake for about 8 to 10 minutes or until lightly toasted. Let cool and then chop coarsely. 
In a large bowl combine the flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nuts. (Dry ingredients.)
In a medium-sized bowl combine the mashed bananas, eggs, melted butter, and vanilla. With a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, lightly fold the wet ingredients (banana mixture) into the dry ingredients just until combined and the batter is thick and chunky. (The important thing is not to over mix the batter. You do not want it smooth. Over mixing the batter will yield tough, rubbery bread.) Scrape batter into prepared pan. Bake until bread is golden brown and a  toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 55 to 60 minutes for loaf pan or 25-30 for cake pan. Place on a wire rack to cool and then remove the bread from the pan.

Changes from original recipe:
1) used 3/4 cup white whole wheat flour
2) used about half brown sugar (what I had)
3) added maybe 1/4+tsp cardamom and a bit of nutmeg in addition to cinnamon
4) maybe added some extra sugar?
5) baked in a 9x9 pan for 25-30 minutes
6) omitted the nuts
7) did the following in lieu of mashing: bananas in food processor, blended. added other wet ingredients and pulsed to blend. I'm not sure if this might have made things tougher. I doubt it since it was just the bananas and not bananas+dry ingredients at all, but who knows.

I think it was pretty good.

Solo Almond Bundt Cake

This cake requires a can of Solo brand "Almond Cake and Pastry Filling" and the recipe is generally printed on the back side of the can's label.This stuff has ground almonds in it but it's NOT equivalent to marzipan. It's kind of hard to find; in the San Francisco Bay area I've only seen it at Andronico's, even though I've seen Solo products advertised in Lucky's circulars occasionally. At some point I'd like to figure out how to replicate it without the canned stuff, both 'cause it's pricey ($5/can) and because it has corn syrup in it (which I'm not terribly against in moderation, but if I'm baking, why not use real sugar?)  In the meantime I make it anyway, because it's more almondy than the other almond bundt recipe I tried.

ANYWAY. I don't really modify this recipe at all:

1 cup butter (or margarine), softened
2 1⁄4 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
3 eggs
1⁄2 teaspoon salt
1 can Solo Almond Cake and Pastry Filling (protip: open one end of the can, the flip it over the bowl and start opening the other end. That will break the suction/vacuum and it'll all fall out of the can neatly in one chunk.)
1⁄4 cup milk
Preheat oven to 350° F. Grease and flour 10-inch tube pan or 12-cup Bundt pan and set aside. Beat butter and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer until light and fluffy. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in almond filling until blended. Stir flour, baking powder, and salt until mixed. Add to almond mixture alternately with milk, beginning and ending with dry ingredients.  Beat until blended. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.Bake 50 to 55 minutes or until cake tester inserted in center comes out clean. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool completely on rack.

Chocolate Bundt Cake

Modified from here


  • 8 ounces butter (2 sticks)
  • 1/2 3/4?-1 cup Dutch process cocoa (I used regular, TJ's)
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 2 cups granulated sugar (I used slightly less, maybe 2-3 tbs less?)
  • 1 cup sour cream I used the top of TJ's French Cream Line yogurt
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, stir before measuring
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda (+ 1/2 tsp, + 1/8 to every 3 TBS of extra non-Dutched cocoa)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


Grease and flour a 10- to 12-cup Bundt pan with Baker's Joy or another flour+grease spray. (Seriously, that stuff is magic for bundt cakes.) Heat oven to 350°. Melt butter in a large saucepan over medium-low heat; add cocoa, stirring until smooth. Whisk in the water and remove from heat. To the warm cocoa mixture, add the sugar, sour cream, 1 tablespoon vanilla, and eggs; whisk until smooth. In another bowl combine the flour, soda, and salt. Add all at once to the first mixture, whisking until well blended.
Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes, or until it feels firm to the touch and has slightly pulled away from the sides of the pan. Cool in pan on a rack for 20 minutes. Carefully loosen the cake with a knife and invert onto a large plate.

NOTES: the extra cocoa was good. The yogurt seems fine, it seems moist enough. I wasn't sure it was mixed all the way at the end--it felt like there were what were either bubbles or tiny lumps of flour, but it was fine. I think I actually cooked it for close to 45 minutes and it was fine, not dry.)

*If you're using a standard baking cocoa (not Dutch-process or high-quality) add 1/2 teaspoon more of baking soda to the dry ingredients.