Thursday, August 13, 2009

Need a Feel-Good Banana Chocolate Streusel Rx?

By Cal Orey

My therapist told me the way to achieve true inner peace is to finish what I start. So far today, I have finished...a chocolate cake. I feel better already.
Dave Barry

Nope, The Healing Powers of Chocolate galley hasn't arrived on my doorstep yet. But I can sense it's coming sooner than later... I did receive some suprise chocolate recipes in the mail today (foreshadow?)--and they came from my fave cookbook author Gemma Sciabica who seems to have an uncanny knack of knowing when I need something oh-so naturally sweet and healthy to cheer me up and/or calm me down...

I did have a nice swim earlier today but now it's heating up, typical for August at Lake Tahoe. So, no I will not bake today (too warm) but promise to do it within the week so I can share my adventure in the kitchen--as promised. Truly, I am such a klutz with pots and pans that I believe I may have developed a fear of cooking and baking. (I wonder if there is a name for this phobia?) On the upside, this streusel recipe looks failproof and I think I can do it. I think I can. But note, I'll take the muffin route for this streusel so it won't be a trigger food for me.
I'm certain this cake will go fast with the healthful, natural ingredients--bananas, chocolate (purchase gourmet chips, at least 60% cacoa content), nuts, and quality olive oil. (Ever notice the cat's tail list of all the artificial ingredients that you can't pronounce on the labels of store bought cakes and muffins?) Gemma's recipe (BTW: streusel is German not Italian) will make a perfect and wholesome breakfast muffin (I've been looking everywhere for one) or an ideal treat after a dog walk (for me not my anti-chocolate Brittanys).
And, most importantly, it should help to get me through the job of proofing the chocolate book. Ah versatile chocolate. (Did you know chocolate not only contains feel-good compounds but it can help to give you an alertness boost?) Note: Add more than less dark chocolate chips. Gemma adds, "This cake is so good, everyone asks for the recipe!)

Banana Cake With Chocolate Streusel
Serves 16
2 tablespoons Sciabica's or Marsala Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/3 cup brown sugar, packed
1 cup dark chocolate chips
1/3 cup walnuts, chopped fine
2 teaspoons cinnamon
Stir above altogether in mixing bowl, set aside.
1 1/2 cups flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup Sciabica's or Marsala Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 egg
1 1/3 cups bananas, mashed (about 3)
1/4 cup buttermilk
1/2 Danish pastry extract (Watkins)
1 teaspoon vanilla
3/4 cup sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease and flour an 8 x 8 inch baking pan. Stir chocolate chips, brown sugar, walnuts, olive oil and cinnamon in a small bowl until well mixed, set streusel aside.
In mixing bowl combine dry ingredients, make well in center. Pour in buttermilk, olive oil, banana, egg and flavoring, stir until just blended. Spread half of batter in prepared pan. Sprinkle with 1/2 streusel. Repeat with remaining batter and streusel. Bake about 45 minutes or until cake tester comes out clean from center. Cool cake in pan on rack.


  1. Hi Cal,
    Loved your site and blog too. I'll definitely be trying this recipe out. It looks delicious.

  2. Your site is amazing with the Italy thing going on! Yes, going to bake these puppies up, too. I'm feeling fall (comes sooner to the Sierras)and yummy muffins is a super way to begin. But also thinking all-natural cornbread with honey spread on top.

  3. Mirella's Italy blog...