The way these recipes are coming, people are going to start to think that the only place I ever ate decent food was in Portland, Maine and that I don't live in a rather major U.S. culinary city these days - because, yes, today's recipe was inspired by something I ate in Portland, Maine.
The restaurant in question today is Bibo's Madd Apple Cafe. This lovely and eclectic little spot is right next door to the theatre I used to work at. Actually it's the same building. In any case, this is one of my favorite eateries in the city and exactly what I like to think a cafe should be: classier and more adventurous than a diner or sandwich/burger joint, but not so intimidating that you couldn't eat lunch there. That is, a place a low-paid twenty-something could take both her friends and her parents. The jaunty atmosphere doesn't hurt either.
The first time I went there for lunch I sprung for dessert: the ever-so-delicious Chocolate Banana Bread Pudding Cake (with a warm chocolate center and whipped cream). Now as readers of this blog may know, I love me some banana bread. I also love me chocolate. So this dessert was right up my alley.
Though my Chocolate Banana Bread Recipe isn't the same as Bibo's (frankly, I'd have to try it again to get a better feeling of the dish), I'm pretty happy with how this variation turned out. This recipe is based on the aforementioned banana bread recipes and Clotilde's Chocolate and Zucchini Cake from her cookbook. I wanted a texture that was somewhere between cake and bread and this does that pretty well. The chocolate flavor is prominent, but not overly sweet and a sprinkle of powdered sugar makes a sweet compliment. I don't know if I'm completely finished with the recipe, but I've made a lot of banana bread in the past month or so, so I'm giving it a rest for now.
Chocolate Banana Bread Cake
(inspired by Bibo's Madd Apple Cafe and Clotilde's Chocolate and Zucchini Cake)
Makes 1 medium-sized loaf
- 2-3 overripe bananas
- ½ cup unsalted butter, softened
- ¼ cup milk
- 3 eggs
- 2 tsp lemon juice or vinegar
- 4 oz. unsweetened baking chocolate melted and mixed with 1/2 a cup of granulated sugar (or 4 oz. of chocolate chips).
- 1¼ cup all-purpose flour
- ¾ cup wheat flour
- ¾ cup brown sugar
- 1½ tsp baking soda
- ½ cup unsweeted cocoa
- ½ tsp salt
- powdered sugar (optional)
Preheat oven to 350° F
Break up the bananas and butter into a large mixing bowl. With a sturdy whisk, mash together the butter and bananas until mixed well - the butter will still be a little chunky, but should be about pea-sized. Add eggs, milk and lemon juice, adding the juice last. Pour in the melted chocolate and mix well.
In a separate bowl, mix flours, brown sugar, cocoa, soda, and salt. Add to wet ingredients and mix well. If desired, you could add some unmelted chocolate chips at this point. Pour into a greased loaf pan.
Bake 55-60 minutes, or until tester comes out clean. Dust with powdered sugar and serve.