CHOCOLATE, BANANA & HAZELNUT CAKE, WITH CINNAMON & BRANDY CHERRIES AND CITRUS & CARDAMOM ICE CREAM

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I didn’t have plans to serve these together, honest.  The ice cream got made first, just a little tub, as we had half a tin of condensed milk left over from the chocolate caramel shortbread that B made, and obviously, it would be a shame to waste it…  It was my third attempt at using condensed milk to make no-churn ice cream, and whilst I don’t think that I’ve yet matched the first, somewhat miraculous attempt, this most recent version definitely surpassed the second (a coconut and lime combination, which sounds great on paper, but had too much desiccated coconut, not enough lime, and reminded me of the taste of rice pudding.  I like rice pudding, I just wasn’t expecting to find it in coconut and lime ice cream.)  This version was citrusy, slightly spiced from the cardamom, and pretty moreish.

Then the cake – inspired by a recipe seen on Laura’s Mess here, and a couple of Nigel Slater recipes (here and here), I came up with a chocolate banana loaf.  It was good, except for a couple of things – despite using three (albeit small) bananas, the banana flavour was subtle at best.  Overpowered by the chocolate?  On the one hand, the lovely B would find this a definite plus, but, she was away and I was making it for my own consumption only.  I wanted it to reek of banana, and it didn’t.  The other thing was that it was a little crumbly.  It sliced fine, but getting the pieces from board to plate in one piece proved a little difficult.  That’s never happened to me before, and I wonder if I should have ground the hazelnuts more finely.  But, it tasted great – deeply nutty and chocolaty.  I just wanted it to taste headily of bananas, too.

The cherries came in to being because I got overexcited with a first (affordable) sighting of them, and snapped up a punnet naively assuming they would be delicious.  They weren’t – lacking in sweetness – but cooked down with brandy, cinnamon sticks and a little sugar they were very good indeed.  Perfect to sit on top of a crumbly, not very banana-y slice of rich chocolate cake.  And then, if you’re going to do that – well, what the hell – you may as well go the whole hog and add a scoop of ice cream to the equation.  As a combination, it was bliss!

 

 

Ingredients

For the ice cream (scale up the quantities if you like):

200ml condensed milk

300ml double cream

Zest of 2 large oranges

Zest of 2 limes

1.5 tsp. ground cardamom

 

 

For the cake:

100g hazelnuts

150g SR flour

100g butter, softened

150g soft brown sugar

3 very ripe bananas, mashed

100g dark chocolate, chopped

1 egg, lightly beaten

50g good quality cocoa powder (I use Green & Blacks)

1 tsp. baking powder

1 tsp. vanilla

A splash of milk

 

 

For the cherries:

150g cherries, stones removed

100ml brandy

1 tbsp. golden caster sugar

2 cinnamon sticks

 

 

 

Method

For the ice cream:

Simply throw all of the ingredients into a mixing bowl, and using an electric whisk, whip until soft peaks form.  Pour into a freezer proof container, cover, and freeze until set (a good few hours.)

 

 

For the cake:

Preheat the oven to 180°C.

Remove a few hazelnuts and set aside, then toast the remainder in a pan over a medium heat, until they start to take on some colour.  Set aside to cool, then blitz, with one tablespoon of flour, until they resemble the texture of ground almonds (I coarsely ground mine, but think it may have been that which made the cake crumbly.)

Use an electric whisk to cream together butter and sugar in a large bowl, until light and fluffy.  Add the egg, a little at a time, until completely combined and the creamed mixture has turned pale.

Sift together the flour, baking powder, cocoa, and ground cardamom.  Stir through the ground nuts, then gently fold this dry mixture through the butter mix by hand.  You won’t be able to fold it through entirely because of the ratio of dry to wet ingredients, but just fold through enough to start to get everything combined.  Next, add the bananas and a splash of milk, before using the electric whisk to combine, but take care not to over whisk.  The finished batter will be quite thick – don’t worry!

Finally, fold through the chopped chocolate, then spoon into the (prepared if needs be – I used silicone) cake tin.  Throw the remaining hazelnuts over the top, then bake for about 40-50 minutes, depending on your oven.  Remove from the oven, and let cool in the pan before slicing.

 

 

For the cherries:

Throw the cherries, along with the brandy, sugar and cinnamon sticks into a small saucepan.  Bring to a boil, then simmer for about five minutes, until the cherries have softened and turned sticky, but are still holding their shape.  Serve warm or at room temperature.

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15 comments

  1. Fantastic combination!

    1. Thanks! It was so good!

  2. This looks amazing- love this kind of cake!

  3. It all looks so relish, but what is really calling out to me is that ice cream. Love cardamom!

    1. The ice cream really is good! Worked really well…

  4. Sounds very delicious. Thanks for sharing!

  5. I’ll definitely bookmark your recipe 🙂

    1. Great! I hope you enjoy 🙂

  6. I love the idea of preparing the cherries in this way!

    1. Thanks Jordina, they turned out really well, I’m going to be making them again, definitely…

  7. Ohhhh my gosh. This looks seriously divine! You’ve taken the whole indulgent part of the chocolate banana combination and amped it up a few delicious notches (to, like, “HEAVEN” mode). I have to try this, I love the idea of the orange and cardamom with those sweet, vivid cherries. Great post! x

    1. I think the ice cream is what makes this! Thanks 🙂

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