My partner in (culinary) crime- the infamous and ever-up-for-baking husband Steve- informed me our bananas were mucho ripe. In fact, to be completely accurate, he poked his head into my cozy little studio the other day and declared, Our bananas are ripe. I should bake something.
I looked up from my iMac and murmured Hmmm, in assent.
But what, exactly?
Ripe bananas were calling. Begging to be a part of some grander life affirming tastebud tingling scheme. But do readers really need another banana cake recipe? I pondered, slurping cold coffee with vanilla hemp milk. Which reminds me. I should share this.
An impromptu hemp milk review
I am happy to report to you dairy-free beauties out there, there is a brand new fortified hemp milk on the moo cow alternative scene, and it is gluten-free, dairy-free, rice and soy-free- making a certain humble and finicky GF/CF visual associative thinker just plain stoked. Why?
Two issues. Well, aside from the whole, Why do they have to put soy, pea or nut protein in every dairy-free concoction? Tough on those who are not only gluten-free and casein-free but allergic to legumes- including soy- and nuts.
First issue. Color.
Dude. I won't name names, but (okay, it's Hemp Bliss). I cannot tell you how unappetizing your grayish BROWN hemp milk is. And second issue- not only is it icky blah beige, it separates in my coffee and tea into a swirling galaxy of unctuous globules and curdled droplets of heinousness.
To be fair? I do so appreciate it that you sweeten it with organic cane sugar and not brown rice syrup, but. Can't you make it a little more homogenous? Because, um.
Someone else has.
I was browsing non-dairy beverages last week in Santa Fe (ever the optimist, I am always on the look-out for a new milk alternative that doesn't, well, suck) and I spied a new kid on the block. Maybe it was the tie-dyed design that spoke to me, but I felt a kinship immediately. Then I read the label. Free of gluten, no casein. I bought only one- vanilla- not because I didn't have faith, but. After all, I am realistic (well, most of the time).
The new hemp milk is called Hemp Dream- and by the way, in case you were questioning if this review was coerced, or in any other way possible might not be 100% unbiased- apart from the native bias of my own distinctive taste buds- in the spirit of full disclosure, I swear, as a gluten-free goddess, and hereby declare I was not contacted by said company or approached or compensated in any way. This is me, buying a carton of Hemp Dream. On impulse. And reporting to you.
Of course, you might not want to take my word for it.
You should do your own hemp milk taste test. And the swirling globs in hot coffee test. But for my palate- I'm so happy with the new Hemp Dream I could cry. Well, maybe not cry. I'm usually not that dramatic.
Karina's edit: Time passes. Fast forward to Santa Monica, 2010. Back to the future, here I am buying a new hemp milk to try- and it's darn tasty, too! Pacific Natural Foods Vanilla Hemp Milk is very vanilla-y and quite good.
And as for the fragrant bananas?
We tossed together a blueberry muffin style banana coffee cake. And it is, shall we say, a keeper.
Recipe posted January 2009.
Karina's Banana-Blueberry Muffin Cake Recipe
It's almost a pound cake, this cake. And kinda like a blueberry muffin textured coffee cake. Best of all it is moist and so darn tasty you won't believe it's vegan and gluten-free. I'm serious. A perfect cake for your GFCF angel. Or brunch with friends.
3 medium ripe organic bananas, mashed into puree (1 liquid cup)
Ener-G Egg Replacer for 3 eggs- whisked with hot water till frothy (or use 3 eggs)
1 tablespoon bourbon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon organic raw agave nectar or honey
1/2 cup light olive oil or organic coconut oil
1 1/3 cups organic light brown sugar
1 cup GF buckwheat flour (or mix of GF oat, millet or brown rice flour)
1 cup sorghum flour
1/2 cup potato starch (not flour) or tapioca starch
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon xanthan gum
2 teaspoons fine grated lemon zest
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1 heaping cup organic wild blueberries
Preheat oven to 350ºF. Prepare a Bundt® cake pan by rubbing a little oil in it.
In a mixing bowl, beat together the wet ingredients- bananas through oil. Whisk together the dry ingredients (flours through spices) and add them to the wet.
Beat till smooth and sticky. Add in the blueberries by hand.
Scoop the batter into the prepared Bundt® cake pan and smooth evenly. Bake in the center of a preheated oven for 40 to 50 minutes (mine took a full 50 minutes) until the cake is firm but gives slightly to a gentle touch; test with a cake tester if you like. If you use a smaller pan, it may take longer to bake through the middle.
Cool on a wire rack. When the cake is cooled place a serving plate on top of the pan and invert the pan to release the cake onto the plate.
Recipe Source: glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com
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Though I usually report that vegan and gluten-free cakes are best eaten the day they are baked, we did something different with this recipe.
When the cake was cooled and released from the pan I wrapped it tightly and stored it in the refrigerator overnight- as an experiment. The next morning it was moist and delicious and sliced up beautifully. So you could definitely make this cake ahead of time for company the next day- and it will be delicious.
I've also made this cake using Ener-G Egg Replacer for 3 eggs, whisked with Hemp Dream- vanilla. Hemp milk adds moisture to the batter, so if you need a moisture boost, try hemp milk.
As for the bananas- some readers report back with problems in banana cake recipes- and it boils down to the size of the bananas (larger bananas will make more liquid). I used three medium bananas. If your bananas are large, you might try using two.
This kid-friendly cake is gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, soy-free, nut-free.
And yes, I bet this recipe would also make for some tender cupcakes-muffins. They'd probably bake up in about 18-20 minutes or so.
One last tidbit:
For readers looking for an excellent resource on dairy-free living- have you checked out the new cookbook and reference guide to cooking and baking without dairy titled Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living?
It's chock full of valuable information and recipes- especially for those new to living without milk casein, whey and lactose. The author is Alisa Fleming; her website is Go Dairy Free.