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Black magic banana black walnut cake can’t be beat

By the editors of Relish Magazine | 12/5/2015, 6 a.m.
With their bold, wild flavor, black walnuts are not a popular snacking nut, but they’re perfect for baking. Their assertive ...

Autumn means dark stained fingers for foragers in search of the elusive black walnut. From Iowa to Virginia, folks gather the bumpy brownish-green orbs, first asking permission from homeowners, who are often more than happy to have the pesky nuts removed from their lawns.

Once they’re gathered, there’s more work to do. Removing the husks is messy work, as their dye stains everything it touches. The inside nutshells are equally messy to crack, as they’re impossibly hard.

Fortunately, most of us can purchase a bag of shelled black walnuts from the grocery store. With their bold, wild flavor, they’re not a popular snacking nut, but they’re perfect for baking. Their assertive unique flavor permeates cookies, cakes and breads and becomes stronger over time.

Cake ingredients:

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 ½ cups sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1⁄3 cups buttermilk
  • 2⁄3 cup finely chopped black walnuts

Chocolate glaze ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cups powdered sugar
  • 8 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk or water
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Generously butter and flour a 10-inch tube pan or Bundt pan.

To prepare cake, combine flour, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl.

Combine butter and sugar; beat with an electric mixer about 4 minutes. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in banana and vanilla. Add flour mixture and buttermilk alternately, beginning and ending with flour mixture and mixing until just combined. Fold in walnuts.

Pour batter into prepared pan and smooth top. Bake 45 to 50 minutes. Let cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Remove from pan. Let cool completely.

To prepare glaze, whisk together powdered sugar and cocoa powder. Slowly stir in milk and vanilla. Whisk until smooth. Add a bit more milk to thin glaze, if needed. Spread over cake. Serves 12.

— Recipe by by Serena Ball, M.S., R.D., a food writer in Chicago.