For years, I wrote a column for Serious Eats called the Mixed Review. Each week, I made something from a boxed mix and assessed the results. There were cakes, muffins, donuts, brownies, cookies. The day after testing I would bring all the leftovers into work and deposit them in the office kitchen with a note: “Enjoy!” I got pretty popular with my coworkers.
But I gave up the column a while back, when Owen was a newborn and it was too hard to juggle work, a baby, and freelancing. Overnight, the steady stream of desserts dried up. And let me tell you, my colleagues noticed, and they were not happy about it. Sometimes they would sidle by my desk and ask, “Sooo, how’s food writing going?” or even more bluntly, “When are you bringing in more cake?”
I’ve felt bad. So the other day, when I noticed two brown bananas languishing in our fruit bowl, I decided to bake something with every intention of bringing it in to work. A loaf cake with an espresso and chocolate swirl would go especially well with everyone’s morning cup of coffee, I thought.
But when the cake had baked and cooled, I cut a small sliver for Owen to have as a snack when I picked him up from daycare. And you guys? He loved it. Like LOVED it. He ate the whole thing in about five seconds and proclaimed it “De-lish-ous!” which is just about my favorite thing that he says ever. Then he ate another piece for dessert, and another for breakfast the next morning…
And no, the cake never made it to my office. I’m sorry! Next time guys, next time.
This cake is perfect for breakfast or for dessert, dressed up with berries or a scoop of chocolate sorbet. If you’re worried about feeding your kids something laced with espresso (I threw caution to the wind) you can leave it out and just make a plain chocolate swirl. The cake will keep for about a week, wrapped in foil and stored at room temperature.
Vegan Mocha Swirl Banana Cake
- 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 large very ripe bananas mashed
- 1/2 cup granulated sugar
- 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk soy milk, or rice milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil canola oil, or melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 tablespoon unsweetened cocoa powder
- 2 teaspoons espresso powder or instant coffee
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a 9-x-5-inch loaf pan with parchment so that it extends up the two long sides, creating a sleeve. Spray with non-stick spray.
Whisk the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a large bowl. In another bowl, stir together the bananas, sugar, almond milk, oil, and vanilla. Gently stir the wet ingredients into the flour mixture just until combined.
Scoop a third of the batter in a separate bowl. Stir in the cocoa and espresso powder until well incorporated.
Alternately spoon the plain banana batter and the mocha batter into the prepared pan. Using a butter knife, gently swirl them together a little bit. Bake the cake until golden-brown and a tester inserted in the center comes out clean, 50 to 55 minutes. Cool completely in the pan, then lift out using the parchment as handles.