Recently, I shared my post on the 18 variations of my 3-minute chocolate cake. What’s that? Oh, you only remember 6 variations? Yeah, you’re right … I only shared 6 in that post, but you could easily make 18 variations! LOL I confess I always exaggerate with the number 8 in the mix … it’s one of my little idiosyncrasies. ANYwayyyy … let me get to the important part! Included in that post was a 3-minute, “miniature” version of the flourless chocolate banana honey walnut cake recipe that I’d adapted from Elana of Elana’s Pantry.
All the 3-minute cake versions are quite good, but that particular one is one of my personal favorites (as is Elana’s full-sized original that inspired it) because it exemplifies my feelings about the best type of gluten-free dessert. The best gluten-free dessert in my opinion is one that’s gluten free easily (gfe) because all the ingredients are gluten free in their natural state. Flourless desserts are almost always gluten free and are often the ones you can rely on in fine restaurants to be safe. (Be sure to check each and every time though.)
The delightful fact about these desserts is that they are the incredible ones that everyone wants to eat; they are not just ones that are safe for gluten-free folks and, well, potentially only minimally edible. I hate it when you get a gluten-free dessert and the assessment is “okay” or “not bad.” Not exactly a ringing endorsement. I’m talking about exquisite flourless chocolate tortes, crème brulee, pots de crème, mousse, flan, flourless cookies, and the like—no deprivation there! Of course, the fact that these desserts ARE flourless is a large part of what makes them so decadent. The flavors are shining through in a big way, unencumbered by flour.
I promote the flourless (or minimal amount) of gluten-free flour concept here at gfe quite often because for baked goods and many recipes that normally call for flour, adopting this approach makes gluten-free cooking/baking imminently more “doable” and, more importantly it makes the products enjoyable once again. If you’ve been following gfe for a while, you’ve seen recipes like the Flourless Chocolate Cake (one quite different from this one), Mediterranean Chocolate Cake, Flourless Peanut Butter Cookies, Flourless Pizza, and Crustless Quiches. Savory dishes are included because they benefit from no or limited flour for the same reason … you get to taste the essence of the dish more. It’s front and center, not relegated to second-class status by flour or a crust.
Elana’s Flourless Chocolate Banana Cake appealed to me immediately. First, it was flourless … enough said on that point. Second, it called for bananas and I always have some baking bananas in the freezer. Last, it called for honey, and I love to be able to use our bees’ honey. I made a few changes. I did not separate eggs as Elana did (I rarely separate eggs). I substituted olive oil for the grapeseed oil in the original recipe. I also decided some ground walnuts would add nice texture and added nutrition. The resulting cake, Flourless Chocolate Banana Honey Walnut Cake, was everything I hoped for … the always-desired “chocolateness” made richer by the honey and ground walnuts and enhanced by a somewhat subtle banana flavor.
One piece is very satisfying. I took this to a committee meeting one afternoon and shared the rest of it with co-workers the next morning and everyone loved it. Elana did not add flour to this recipe, but I actually think making it with her trademark addition of almond flour (from Honeyville) would make for an equally easy and delicious version of this cake. Until you get some of that, you can make my adaptation below. You probably have the ingredients on hand … gfe, you know?
- 3 large eggs (I used extra large, but either will work)
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- ½ cup honey
- ¼ cup olive oil
- 1 cup mashed ripe bananas (about 2 bananas, but make sure you have a full cup no matter how many bananas it takes)
- 1 cup ground walnuts (ground finely enough to hold together well, but not into a meal)
- ½ cup unsweetened cocoa powder (or raw cacao powder)
- 1 tsp cinnamon
- In a blender, whip eggs, honey, and salt on medium for 1-2 minutes
- Add olive oil and mashed banana and blend for another minute or two.
- Add cocoa powder, cinnamon, and walnuts. Blend just enough so all is mixed well.
- Grease a 9-inch spring form pan and pour batter into pan.
- Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes. (I usually make a circle of parchment paper and use as well as greasing to prevent sticking.)
- Let cake sit in pan for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and let cool. Cake will be thin and moist.
NOTE: The giveaway is now closed.
Speaking of the lovely Elana and her fondness for and great success in using almond flour in recipes, have you heard about her new cookbook? It’s called The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. I ordered one for myself shortly after my birthday. Before it had even arrived, I visited a dear friend and she gave me my belated birthday gift … guess what it was? Yep, a copy of Elana’s cookbook. Not a problem at all … because I have decided to give my purchased copy to a lucky gfe reader via a giveaway here! I have that copy with me here in San Francisco at the BlogHer Food 09 conference. Elana is one of the featured speakers. She has also graciously agreed to sign this book for the giveaway when I see her later today. I am so excited on both counts.
Because I’m at BlogHer Food, I don’t have a lot of time to share my review, so I’ll give you my brief summary and defer you to a more in-depth review elsewhere, if you don’t mind. This book is as lovely as Elana herself. It includes 99 recipes that run the gamut from appetizers to desserts. Filled with recipes that are delightfully simple when it comes to ingredients and instructions, but wonderfully complex when it comes to flavors and satisfaction. The amazing photos and the little bits about Elana, that are shared in the book, are just frosting on the cake—make that chocolate, creamy coconut, marshmallow or peanut butter frosting, following Elana’s recipes, of course!
Oh, by the way, yes, I’m having a fantastic time here in San Francisco! The conference is today! There was a small, intimate kickoff gathering held last night, but today 300 food bloggers will be gathering for a variety of great sessions. Before and after, we’ve been doing our best to take advantage of all there is to see and do. Yesterday afternoon, Diane, Ali of The Whole Life Nutrition Kitchen, and I went to Muir Woods (a humbling, calming experience of incredible beauty), traveling across the Golden Gate Bridge and also getting to spend some time in Sausolito. We even ran into Elana herself, her husband, and a sibling they’d happened to run into—serendipity. Elana is every bit as lovely and charming in person as she is on her blog. Today I’ve met Stephanie of A Year of Slow Cooking and Totally Together Journal and Alison of Sure Foods Living—both every bit as terrific in person as they are on their sites!—and so many more … “old” favorite bloggers who I’ve been following for some time and new favorite bloggers. We’ve had several amazing naturally gluten-free meals: lunch at Crepe O Chocolat and The Slanted Door, and dinner at Farallon. I’ll share more details on all when I return, but please take a moment now and make a comment to enter the giveaway for Elana’s The Gluten-Free Almond Flour Cookbook. If you want to let us know why you’d like Elana’s cookbook, that would be great, too! (Personally, I always love hearing a little bit of everyone’s personal stories.) Best of luck … see you when I get back from BlogHer Food!
I’m also submitting this recipe to Amy’s Slightly Indulgent Mondays. Amy of Simply Sugar and Gluten-Free hosts this weekly roundup of recipes that are just a little bit healthier. You don’t have to be a blogger or even gluten free to participate. Check out the rules and all the other recipes including Amy’s Sweet Morning Potatoes—they sound so delicious and comforting. Her dish sounds wonderful to me right now because I’m currently on a plane headed home from BlogHer Food ’09 … you know how difficult it can be to eat well and healthily in airports and on planes. But, breakfast (apple, nuts, protein bar, and more nuts) aside, frankly, I’m just really tickled to have great wi-fi access at the moment … it was sorely lacking in my hotel room and even getting this post up initially took days. It was kind of funny really. (You have to keep your sense of humor at such times.) Thank you, Virgin America!
This post is linked to Allergy-Free Wednesdays.