Happy Good Friday! I worked the early morning shift today and have tomorrow off, so basically it’s my weekend! Not quite everyone else’s long weekend but still. And what a gorgeous weekend it is! It’s as if Mother Nature knows it’s Easter and is just showering us with sunshine.
When I started thinking about what kind of dessert I wanted to make for Easter, I immediately went to a fruit flavoured cake. While Easter means chocolate eggs, chocolate bars and chocolate bunnies, when I think about actual desserts that are served, I immediately think light and fruity not rich and chocolatey. I landed on banana. With so many banana bread recipes surfacing lately through Pinterest and other bloggers, I had a craving! My mind also wandered back to when my mom would make cakes when I was younger. She didn’t do it often but every February my elementary school had a cake raffle where parents would make cakes and the students would buy raffle tickets to win them. Whenever my mom made a cake, instead of making the middle layer frosting, she would put raspberry jam. I never like icing too much as a child, I would actually eat around it, so the jam was always one of my favourite parts. I decided to incorporate that idea into this cake too, thinking the tartness of the raspberry would go nicely with the sweetness of the banana.
With all this in mind I also added in beet to yield a, hopefully, pink coloured cake for Easter. However sadly, while the batter was über-pink, the colour faded with baking, leaving not a trace. I was initially upset until I tasted the cake. While it didn’t give the cake a pink colour, it gave the cake an earthy sweetness that compliments the banana perfectly. The raspberry jam adds a tartness and the cashew-coconut frosting adds a creaminess. This is not your typical sweet icing though, so if you like a sweeter icing, add more agave to taste! The pastel yellow colour of the icing optional, but I think it makes the cake more festive :).
The texture of the cake is very (dare I say it?) moist and is perfect in the afternoon with a cup of tea or to finish a light spring meal. No heaviness here!
I based this recipe very loosely off of an old banana cake recipe that was collecting dust in my mom’s recipe collection. That’s why the flour measurements are so strange so I apologize!
Banana Beet Cake with Yellow Cashew Icing (Vegan, Gluten-Free)
- 1 medium beet
- 1/2 cup vanilla almond milk + 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar
- 166 g (about 1 1/3 cups + 2.5 tsp) oat flour
- 84 g (about 1/2 cup + 1/2 tsp) potato starch
- 1 tsp xanthan gum
- 1 tsp baking soda
- 2 tsp baking powder
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 cup sucanat (or another vegan sugar)
- 1/2 cup coconut oil, melted
- 2 1/2 large ripe bananas, mashed
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1/3 cup all-fruit raspberry jam (I used Crofter’s Raspberry All-Fruit Organic Spread)
- 1/2 cup soaked cashews
- 1/4 cup vanilla almond milk
- 1/4 cup coconut butter
- 5 tsp agave nectar
- 3/4 tsp lemon juice
- 1/2 tsp vanilla
- 4 pinches turmeric (optional)
First steam your beet in the skin for about 25 min, until easily pierced with a fork. Then remove the skin when cool enough to handle. While it’s cooling mix the almond milk with the vinegar and set it aside for a few minutes to curdle. Once the beet is cooled, process the beet and almond milk in a blender until smooth. Set aside.
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line the bottoms of 2 circular cake pans with parchment paper and grease the paper and sides of the pan.
Mix together the flour, starch, xanthan gum, baking powder and sodas and salt in a medium sized bowl.
In a large bowl, using a hand mixer, mix together the sucanat and melted coconut oil until combined. Then add in the banana and mix again until combined and finally add in the beet mixture and vanilla. Mix until smooth.
Next, add in 1/2 the flour mixture and beat with the mixer until smooth then add in the second half, making sure there are no lumps. Don’t worry about over-mixing the batter and mix for a couple minutes after the batter is smooth. There’s no gluten to over-develop so don’t worry about the cake being tough- the extra beating gives the gluten-free flours more time to absorb the liquid resulting in a better crumb!
Divide the batter into the 2 cakes pans and bake for 30 min or until a toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pans for 5 minutes then remove to cooling racks to finish. You can assemble the cake now or wait till the next day like I did! Just cover them with plastic wrap and store at room temperature.
Blend the cashews and almond milk together until smooth. Move to a saucepan or bowl, place over low heat and add the rest of the ingredients except the turmeric and heat until the coconut butter is melted, mixing constantly. When it’s done remove from the heat and add the turmeric 1 pinch at a time until the icing reaches the colour you want. Be careful you don’t add too much- you don’t want weird tasting icing!
When the cake layers are cooled, place one on a serving plate and spread the raspberry jam on, leaving a 1 cm border around the edge. Place the 2nd layer on top then pour the frosting on top, spreading it out evenly. You can either serve like this or put it in the fridge to allow the icing to firm up slightly.
Enjoy your Easter everyone. May it be filled with delicious food and even more chocolate :)