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I’ve mentioned before how much I like using bananas in making espresso banana muffins or the cocoa banana loaf, but this one just might be my new favorite simply because it doesn’t use any sugar.  All the sweetness comes from the bananas and dates.  There isn’t any stevia, either.  So if you hesitate to use stevia because you don’t love how it tastes, this could be the banana bread for you.  I use two bananas that are pureed to help sweeten the batter and a third that’s chopped up and mixed in because I like to taste the chunky pieces.  The number of bananas or dates can be adjusted to suit your sweet tooth. 

Date Sweetened Banana Bread

Makes 1 loaf (7¾ × 4½ × 3)

3 ripe bananas

1/2 cup medjool dates, pitted (5 – 6 dates)

5 eggs

1/2 cup butter or coconut oil, melted

1 /2 cup coconut flour

1/4 cup ground flax seeds

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon cinnamon

pinch of nutmeg

1/2 cup of pecans or walnuts, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease a loaf pan.
  2. To a blender add two peeled bananas, pitted dates, eggs, and melted butter or coconut oil.  Puree until smooth.
  3. Sift all dry ingredients together in a separate bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to the dry and stir until there are no lumps.
  5. Chop the remaining banana and add to batter along with the nuts. 
  6. Pour into loaf pan bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  7. Let cool completely on rack before serving.

If making these into muffins, bake for 22 to 25 minutes.  For even more sweetness and some melted gooeyness, mix in some dark chocolate (72%) chunks.  It’s all good.

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This cake came about when I was on Amazon searching for a patio umbrella.  Makes total sense, I know.  As most of my searches turn out, I take massive detours and end up at an entirely different place than I had intended.  I found myself at This Is So Good… and realized I had all the ingredients for this pound cake.  Off to the kitchen I went and an hour later, tada, I had pound cake.  Except it’s not really a “pound” cake.  There isn’t a pound of anything in it and the texture is quite moist and spongy, not at all like a traditional pound cake.  For a coconut flour recipe, this has relatively few eggs and lots of liquid, which I think account for how moist the cake is.  But it’s good and not too sweet.  The fresh cranberries are pretty tart and I prefer them here over the dried, sweetened version. I had a slice right after it cooled but I think the flavors would be even better after a day or two.

Cranberry Orange Pound Cake (adapted from This Is So Good)

Makes one 8 1/2 x 4 3/8 loaf

5 eggs

1 cup coconut milk

1/2 cup butter, melted

2/3 cup orange juice

1 tablespoon honey

1/2 teaspoon stevia

1 cup coconut flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

zest of one orange

1 cup fresh cranberries

1/2 cup pecans, chopped

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and grease loaf pan.
  2. Mix wet ingredients together.
  3. Combine dry ingredients with the orange zest in a separate bowl.
  4. Add dry ingredients to the wet and beat well.
  5. Stir in fresh cranberries and pecans, reserving a small handful of each.
  6. Pour batter in loaf pan and artfully sprinkle remaining cranberries and pecans on top.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.
  8. Let cool to room temperature before slicing.

In the middle of the photography session, my kid decided that she could wait not a second longer and went for it.  That’s why you see her pudgy mitt in the picture.  Oh, well.  I still don’t have a patio umbrella but at least now I can eat cake while I keep shopping 🙂

Over the weekend, my sister, brother-in-law and their two kids came up to stay.  We wanted to have our cousin Elsie, resident family photographer, photograph the kids so that we could surprise my parents for Christmas (shhh..).  I see my sister fairly often and when we get together, it’s a zoo.  I always imagine that the mornings will be leisurely, where my sister and I lounge around with our coffee cups and chit chat about this and that.  In reality, the kids go nuts and run around in circles until someone barfs or drops from dizziness and we get to clean up the mess.  But it is fun.  And we do get to talk a bit over coffee.

Knowing it would be a little chaotic to whip up a big breakfast the next day, I made a cream cheese coffee cake the night before.  I served it at room temperature the next day and it was good but it would be great warmed up.

Cream Cheese Coffee Cake

Makes one 8-inch round cake

Filling

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

1 egg

1 teaspoon maple syrup

1/8 teaspoon stevia

Cake

6 eggs

3 tablespoons butter, melted

1/2 cup yogurt

3 tablespoons maple syrup

1/4 teaspoon stevia

1 teaspoon almond extract

1/2 cup + 1 tablespoon coconut flour, sifted

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/4 cup pecans, chopped

1 tablespoon coconut sugar

1 teaspoon cinnamon

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease one 8-inch round cake pan.
  2. Beat together all ingredients for cream cheese filling.  Set aside.
  3. Combine wet ingredients for cake then add the dry ingredients through the salt.  Mix well.
  4. Toss pecans, cinnamon and coconut sugar together in a separate bowl.
  5. Pour cake batter into pan and drop bits of the pecan mixture throughout batter.
  6. Top with cream cheese filling and use a knife or tooth pick to swirl it around.
  7. Bake for 25 minutes and let cool slightly before slicing.

I’ve been making this cocoa banana cake ever since I saw these cocoa, hazelnut, banana muffins earlier this year.  Honestly, the photographs alone are bananas but the actual muffins are even better.  I love me a moist muffin or cake and these definitely are.  As I mentioned in my post on espresso banana muffins, I love to use bananas in all kinds of goods, so this has become one of my favorites.  I have yet to try these with hazelnuts but I think it would be fairly easy to do by making some meal out of whole hazelnuts.

Cocoa Banana Loaf

Makes one loaf (7¾” × 4½” × 3″) or 10 muffins

1 cup blanched almond flour

2 tablespoons coconut flour

4 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1/4 cup maple syrup or honey

1/4 cup grapeseed oil (or melted coconut oil or butter)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 banana, mashed

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease loaf pan or muffin cups.
  2. Mix dry ingredients together.
  3. Mix wet ingredients together with mashed banana.
  4. Combine the wet and dry ingredients and mix well.
  5. Fill loaf pan and bake for 50 – 60 minutes.  For muffins, bake 20 – 25 minutes.

As good as a slice of this cake is when served warm, the flavors are even better the next day because the cocoa and banana have had time to become friends.  Best friends.  BFF.  LOL.  JK.

Great with some tea in the afternoon or scoop some vanilla ice cream on top and go bananas.  TTFN.

Being Chinese, tea drinking is big in my culture.  You drink it boiling hot, strong and straight up.  No sugar, no milk – just tea leaves and burn-your-tongue hot water.  So when I tried chai for the first time, I hated it.  Sure, I used to drink coffee with a ton of cream and would let the white sugar pour into the cup, but milk in tea is just wrong.  Even when the whole boba milk tea craze was in full swing, I just couldn’t get into it.  Every time I tried it, I thought, maybe this time it’ll taste better.  Nope, still don’t like it.

I do like spices, though, and, strangely, love the heady scent of hot chai so I went searching for the same flavors in a different form.  And what I found was this.  Could I actually like chai?  In a cake?

Heck, yeah!

So once I had a recipe to start with, I picked it apart and came up with a version that didn’t include wheat or refined sugar.  This grain-free, gluten-free chai cake is spongy, fragrant and delicious.

Chai Cake

Makes one 8 x 8 square cake or 12 cupcakes

3/4 cup coconut milk, full fat

3 chai tea bags (I used rooibos chai tea)

6 eggs

1/4 cup coconut oil, melted

1/4 to 1/3 cup honey

1/2 teaspoon stevia

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar

3/4 cup almond flour

1/2 cup coconut flour

3/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Grease or line cake or muffin pan.
  2. Steep tea bags in coconut milk over low heat for 5 – 10 minutes.
  3. Mix wet ingredients together.  Slowly add tea infused coconut milk.
  4. Mix dry ingredients together.  Combine wet and dry ingredients thoroughly.
  5. Pour into prepared pan and bake for 25 minutes for 8 x 8 cake or 18 minutes for cupcakes.  Because honey tends to burn, check the cake periodically and adjust the temperature as necessary.

For me, this cake is sweet enough on its own and I don’t normally use frosting.  But I made it over the weekend for my cousin Emma’s baby shower (she’s having a boy next month, yay!!!) and wanted to dress it up for the special occasion.  The honey ginger cream was a perfect fit.  Unlike the original recipe, this version of the frosting lacks the powdered sugar so it will be much softer and will need to be refrigerated if you are not eating it right away.

Honey Ginger Cream

8 ounces cream cheese, room temperature

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature

1/4 cup raw honey

1/2 teaspoon stevia

1/2 teaspoon of fresh ginger, grated

  1. Combine everything and beat until smooth.
  2. Frost after cake has completely cooled.

Final verdict: chai tea = yucky, chai cake = yummy!