There comes a time in every woman’s life when her grocery budget for the month runs out.
For me, that time was two weeks ago. There’s still a ton of food in the pantry (whole-wheat pasta, beans, lentils, canned tomatoes, almonds) and the freezer (frozen pesto, pork chops, strawberries and mangos, and a loaf of whole-wheat bread), but we are seriously lacking in fresh veggies. I made myself promise this time that I wouldn’t cheat and use next month’s cash because that’s what I usually do…and that’s why I’m stuck in a cycle of always running low at the end of the month.
But we do need vegetables.
But I also can’t be trusted in a fresh produce section without going way overboard (so many exciting possibilities!), so after discussing the issue at length with my friend Lola, we decided it would be best for me to grab a few cheap packages of frozen vegetables and just make it work until April finally rolls around.
Nicely enough, Waldbaum’s had a 10 for $10 sale on frozen vegetables, but it even happened to be the good kind. The steam-in-its-own-bag kind. And they had some great mixes (such as Asian veggie mix) that were actually included for once. So only $10 into next month’s budget, I’m a pretty happy camper.
And luckily I always have baking supplies in stock, so as per Fritz’s request for a sweet snack, I decided to bake a cake. One that’s as healthy as you can get while still remaining cake-like.
Whole-Wheat Banana Marble Cake (adapted from Blue Ribbon USA)
- 1 C sugar
- 1/2 (1 stick) butter, softened
- 1 1/2 C mashed ripe bananas (I used three bananas)
- 1 egg
- 1 t vanilla extract
- 1 1/2 C whole-wheat flour
- 1 t baking powder
- 1 t baking soda
- 1/4 t salt
- 1/4 C unsweetened cocoa powder
- Confectioners’ sugar for dusting the top (optional)
Tharrie (Fritz’s mom) gave me this cookbook a year or so ago and until now I hadn’t made anything from it. It’s a book containing State Fair blue-ribbon winning recipes from the 50 states. Since my first try of a recipe from this book came out so well, I’ve got my eye on a few more I’d like to try. This cake came from good ol’ West Virginia.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a 9×9″ square pan (you could use a round one too, if you like).
Cream the butter and sugar together in a mixer for two minutes or until fluffy. Add the vanilla, egg, and banana and mix until well combined. While the mixer is running, slowly add the baking powder, baking soda, salt, and flour and mix until no lumps remain–scrape down the sides of the bowl once or twice to make sure you have everything in there.
Take out half of the batter and set aside. To the remaining half, add the cocoa powder and mix again until combined. Scrape the sides down once more to make sure all of the chocolate half is, well…chocolate.
Drop spoonfuls of the plain banana half into the greased pan, leaving spaces between for the chocolate batter. Add the chocolate batter in spoonfuls, then swirl the two colors together using a knife. Be careful not to overswirl, or instead of marbled you’ll just have a mess.
It doesn’t have to be perfect, though.
Bake on the middle rack in the oven for 30-40 minutes, until an inserted toothpick comes out with a few crumbs clinging to it (when baking a cake, by the time a toothpick comes out dry, so will your cake!). Cool on a baking rack and dust with confectioners’ sugar, if you like.
Enjoy! The sweetness of the bananas come through nice and strong, and despite the whole-wheat flour it still tastes like cake and not banana bread. The cocoa swirled through and the sugar on top really make this a perfect dessert that’s not too decadent.
Not that I’m against decadence by any means. Sometimes I just like to have my cake and eat it too, without feeling guilty or weighed down by frosting.
I’m sure you can guess that Fritz was a fan. He had his with a scoop of butter pecan ice cream he has squirreled away in the freezer (I hate nut-flavored ice cream, so it’s safe from me), and proclaimed the cake, “really flavorful–banana bread and sweet cake combined.”
Well, he was busy catching up on the season finale of Jersey Shore.
I think we were all ready for Sammi and Ronnie to just break up already.