This is cake nirvana - moist chocolatey deliciousness that needs little adornment other than a sprinkling of confectioner’s sugar. You can frost it with chocolate buttercream if you like, but I find it so rich and delicious as it is I like to think I’m taking the nutritional high road this way. (I know I’m kidding myself, but please don’t spoil it for me!) Frosted with buttercream it is about as decadent as a cake can get - and indeed this is the way I first ate it, with a scoop of ice cream alongside, at a family get together on one of our many visits to Canada.
You see, this is my cousin Esther’s recipe. Esther is an amazing cook, an even better baker and a really lovely person. She also has a wonderful talent for cake decorating. (You can see some of her creations by clicking here.) She and her husband Craig, along with their two sons, are the kind of generous people who just drop everything to help you when you need it - and for us, they often have, particularly over the terrible months in late 2007/early 2008 when my parents passed away within weeks of each other. We’ve had some really fun times too, and they always extend their hospitality to us whenever we visit Canada. We are incredibly fond of them, and we don’t see them often enough, but whenever I make Esther’s recipes (not surprisingly, she never hesitates to share them) I feel almost like she is there in the kitchen with me.
1 cup softened butter
2 cups granulated sugar
2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup sour cream (I use crème fraîche)
1 teaspoon vanilla
2½ cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1/3 cup cocoa
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup boiling water
Preheat oven to 175ºC or 350ºF. Grease and flour a Bundt or tube pan.
In a medium bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, cocoa and salt. Set aside. Cream together the butter and sugar in a large bowl. Add eggs, one at a time, and continue creaming. Add bananas, sour cream and vanilla. Blend well.
Now add the dry ingredients you set aside earlier and stir until mixed. Carefully pour the 1 cup boiling water over the entire mixture. This sounds silly, but it really does work! Blend the water in. The batter will be quite loose, but that is okay.
Pour the batter into the pan and bake for about 40 to 45 minutes until just starting to brown and a cake tester comes out clean. Allow to cool for 20 minutes in the pan before attempting to remove the cake. Be sure to allow the cake to cool completely before dusting with confectioner’s sugar or frosting it.
This cake freezes well, and I have been known to freeze it in individual slices so that I can quickly defrost a fix of chocolatey deliciousness at a moment’s notice. I cannot tell you how lovely this tastes with a hot cup of coffee.