Banana Pecan Cake with Maple Glaze Recipe

Banana Pecan Cake with Maple Glaze

Among the countless blessings this blog has brought to my life is this one: I have met and become friends with a few cookbook authors.

They are delicious people to be around, naturally, and if I manage to fox my way into their house they may actually cook for me, but the invaluable bonus is that, once I’ve come to know and trust them, once I’ve witnessed how exacting they are, and how much pressure they submit themselves to in order to produce bulletproof recipes, I feel I can use their cookbooks with blind faith. I know I’m in good hands, and things had better work out because I know where they live.

One of my cookbook-writing friends is Marianne Magnier-Moreno, whom I met almost three years ago at Chocolate & Zucchini’s second anniversary party, and who wears many hats — recipe writer, journalist, translator, cheesecake maker, young mother, and significant other to a gifted painter.

Marianne has written a fantastic book called La Pâtisserie (Marabout), a baking manual that offers seventy recipes, with step-by-step pictures and detailed instructions. Step-by-step photography is nothing new in the world of cookbooks, but I’ve always thought it could make a book look dull. Not so here, where the shot-from-the-sky visuals and tasteful styling make each double-page an aesthetic treat.

I’ve only recently ordered this book and already a flurry of sticky tags mark the recipes I want to try. And since I had über-ripe bananas to use last week, the first one I played with was her recipe for banana nut bread, which I topped with a maple glaze, another one of Marianne’s recipes.

I did not make the cake as written. I substituted almond butter for part of the butter, and agave syrup for part of the sugar; I also lowered the amount of flour, added a little amber rum, and used pecans in place of walnuts.

Now, I know I just stated that I wanted to feel I could follow a cookbook’s directions with my eyes closed, but before you dismiss me as an illogical person, let me explain: I like to bake/cook things my own way, but in order to tweak a recipe, I need it to be rock-solid, otherwise it might not hold up to the tweaking.

But this one did, and brilliantly so. The crumb was moist and fluffy, the flavors multi-dimensional, and the overall sweetness was moderate, which left ample room for the maple glaze to step in and do its thing.

Banana Pecan Cake with Maple Glaze

– 80g (3/4 cup) pecans, toasted and roughly chopped (see note 1)
– 280g (2 1/3 cups) all-purpose flour (I used the French T65)
– 2 teaspoons baking powder
– 60g (1/4 cup) salted butter, softened (see note 2)
– 80g (3 level tablespoons) whole almond butter (unsalted and made from whole, unblanched almonds)
– 100g (1/2 cup) raw cane sugar
– 40g (2 tablespoons) agave syrup (substitute cane syrup, maple syrup, or honey)
– 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
– 1 tablespoon amber rum
– 3 eggs, at room temperature
– 4 ripe bananas, about 600g (1⅓ pounds) weighed with skin

Preheat the oven to 180°C (360°F) and grease a 24-cm (9½-inch) savarin/ring mold, a loaf pan, or a simple 20-cm (8-inch) round cake pan. (Alternatively, you can use muffin tins; the recipe will yield about 18.)

In a medium bowl, combine the pecans, flour, and baking powder. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor, mix the butter and almond butter until creamy. Add the sugar, syrup, vanilla, and rum, and mix until fluffy. Add the eggs one by one, mixing well after each addition.

Peel the bananas, dice them, and mash roughly with a fork. Fold the bananas into the batter.

Add the dry ingredients to the batter and use a spatula to combine, gently lifting the batter and folding it over itself until no trace of flour remains; don’t overmix. Pour into the prepared pan and bake for 45 minutes (25 minutes for muffins), until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.

Let the pan rest on a rack for 10 minutes. Run a knife or a thin spatula around the cake (center and rim if you’ve used a savarin mold) to loosen, then remove from the pan and transfer to the rack to cool.

Let cool for 30-40 minutes before glazing (see below), and serve slightly warm, or at room temperature.

Note 1: When I need to toast nuts for this sort of cake recipe, I spread the nuts in a baking dish and place the dish in the oven when it’s almost preheated, and check it after 5 minutes, or as soon as I start to smell the nuts.

Note 2: I use French salted butter, which is salted with sea salt and works well in baking. If you have issues with the salted butter available where you live, use 60g (1/4 cup) unsalted butter + 1g (1/4 tsp) sea salt.

Maple Glaze

– 50g (6 level tablespoons) confectioner’s sugar
– 40g (2 tablespoons) grade B maple syrup

Sift the sugar into a small bow, pour in the maple syrup, and whisk vigorously with a fork until smooth. Spoon over the cake and spread with the back of the spoon or, if you insist, with an icing spatula.

Note: This makes enough to coat the top of the cake above thinly. If you prefer a more generous layer of icing, double the recipe.

Adapted from Marianne Magnier-Moreno’s La Pâtisserie.

  • http://colloquialcookin.canalblog.com/ Colloquial Cook

    (deep gravelly voice) Sin has a new name… Banana pecan cake with maple glaze… Out now.

  • http://www.vegoftheweek.com vegoftheweek

    Almond butter sounds like a wonderful substitute. Extra protein, “good” fats and more good for you nutrients in almond butter as well (not that that’s what we think of when we want sweets:)I use it in place of peanut butter sometimes is Asian noodle recipes.

    I rarely follow a recipe given to me or that I read to exact.

  • http://unintellectualwaffling.mackenzieward.ca Alice

    I also tweak recipes too after I’ve made them once and that they work. Otherwise cooking just gets boring.

  • http://www.asweetpea.wordpress.com Erika of SWEET PEA blog

    Great minds must think alike… I just made a cake the other week with homemade almond paste (on the blog)- makes all the difference! I have some leftover & ripe bananas to make your recipe. I also see that you have listed agave syrup, which make me think that I could adapt my recipe for almond paste substituting agave for the white sugar – have you tried this?
    Erika

  • http://bretzeletcafecreme.blogspot.com/ Flo Bretzel

    Comme toi, j’ai toujours beaucoup de mal à suivre une recette à la lettre!

  • http://www.lazysusin.blogspot.com Laura

    This looks fabulous! I’ve gained many a good cake recipe from your site, and I’m sure this one won’t disappoint either :)

  • http://patchwork.blogs.com/veg/ Kelly

    Great, an eggless cake to save my always forgotten bananas from going to the garbage… Your moblog is a reference when we’re looking for something new in our neighborhood. Your site is amazing…

  • Joan

    ah! so this is the cake I’ll be baking for our gals’ getaway this coming week…looks scrumptious..thanks!

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Sweetpea – I suspect agave syrup might be too liquid for the almond paste to set, but if the almond paste is to be used in a cake, it should be fine. Let us know if you try it!

    Kelly – Note that this cake calls for three eggs, so it’s not eggless. Glad you enjoy the moblog!

  • msue

    Clotilde – did you use chopped pecans or pecan halves in your recipe?

    I’m making the cake with nuts that have been first toasted, then chopped, but wonder if your version is different.

    msue

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Mary Sue – Thanks for pointing this out. I do chop the pecans — I had just forgotten to say so in the recipe.

  • msue

    Thanks, Clotilde! I suspected that you chopped them, but wasn’t certain. I made the cake yesterday – delish! You’re right about the maple glaze being just sweet enough to add a little sparkle to the yummy cake. I used amaretto in place of the rum, and added a dribble of amaretto to the maple glaze. It was a subtle switch, but it worked nicely with the banana and nut flavors.

    The cake is sooo moist, really yummy. And it is versatile too – perfect for a brunch or a light treat mid-afternoon. Yum!

  • http://vindelatable.blogspot.com Kirstin

    Clotide- how did you discover the basics of substituting agave syrup in baking, and what are the benefits of the syrup for you? I’m happy with a link too, if you’ve already written about this on C&Z.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Kirstin – I forget where I first heard/read about agave syrup (a.k.a. agave nectar), but I’m interested in playing with it as an alternative sweetener. It is said to have a lower glycemic index than sugar or honey (it has more fructose and less glucose), but more importantly, I find it lends baked goods a different kind of sweetness — more subtle, and better blended with the other flavors. Also, the fact that it’s a liquid sweetener makes cakes a tad moister.

    For other C&Z recipes that use agave syrup, click here.

  • April

    I became allergic to bananas in my mid-twenties and have missed them terribly ever since! This looks so wonderful, it made me curious if one could use plantains (I can tolerate them and they have a similar, although not the same, taste) instead of bananas or are they just too fibrous for a cake? I love your blog and I have to say that your new book is the one I wish I had had on my first trip to Paris in 1999. Such wonderful advice for someone new to french culture and food!

  • http://vindelatable.blogspot.com Kirstin

    Thank you Clotide. I know with what I’m going to start experimenting next in baking.

  • http://thepearlonion.blogspot.com/ Kristin (The Pearl Onion)

    Oh, wow, this looks positively yummy! I’m not much of a baker, but I might have to try this. Thanks for sharing!

  • msue

    I’ve been thinking about the almond butter substitution you used. It worked so well that I want to try it in other baked goods that use butter as an ingredient.

    Was it a 1:1 substitution?

    Thanks!!

  • http://www.thecakedcrusader.blogspot.com the caked crusader

    I love the idea of using banana in cakes…just haven’t got round to it yet. So many recipes, so little time!

  • Joseph

    Your substitutes sounds excellent. It takes an expert to be able to tweak. I am too much of a “by the book” guy. Someday I might gain enough confidence to add my own punches. For now, I’ll take the advice of those I trust.
    Thanks!

  • http://thefoodmonsterblog.blogspot.com The Food Monster

    I love all of your substitutions. Do you normally do that for most rock-solid recipes you find, or were some of those what you had in the house?

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Mary Sue – Yes, the butter-to-almond-butter substitution was a weight-for-weight 1-to-1, the original recipe called for 140 grams of butter.

    The Food Monster – To tell you the truth, I’m not entirely sure what moves me to tinker or not tinker with a recipe, but I’m interested in playing with agave syrup and nut butters with baking recipes lately, and this was an ideal candidate.

  • lil

    sounds tres delicieux! can’t wait to make it. thanks for the recipe :)

  • victoria

    You really use the banana peels, diced in the cake? Just making sure that isn’t a typo. I’m new here, but impressed.

  • http://chocolateandzucchini.com clotilde

    Victoria – Sorry for the confusion, you *don’t* add the peels to the cake. I was giving the weight with skin so that if you go out to buy bananas for this, you’d know how much to buy. In the body of the recipe, I do specify, “Peel the bananas.”

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