A few months ago, as I was reading Dana’s latest blog post over at Dana Treat, I lamented the fact that I didn’t buy dates regularly. The recipe she posted looked like such a nice little twist on classic banana bread. Now that I have lots of dates, and we had three too ripe bananas, I turned back to that recipe with vigor. I healthified it a bit so it would be a great thing to serve at a brunch – subbing applesauce for butter, using agave nectar instead of sugar. As I’m slowly getting used to the different hot spots in my oven and how the temperature is, I’ve been having mixed results with my baking. With this recipe, the edges got extremely dark, while the center was just barely baked. Thankfully, the dark edges don’t mess up the flavor at all, and the bread still turned out fantastically.
This bread is like the perfect banana nut bread, moist and sweet with no lack in banana flavor. The dates mixed throughout are like little pockets of gooey sweetness, and it really adds a great touch. I think next time I’ll lower the amount of agave nectar that I use by half; you really don’t need as much added sweetness because of the dates! They’ll really have a starring role with a bread that isn’t as sweet.
This bread sort of reminds me of the banana nut bread you get at Bob Evans..with dates added, of course. I hate to say it, but I absolutely love their banana nut bread, ever since I was little. I’m glad to be able to say I have a healthier version that tastes even better. As I tasted it, I knew my mom would absolutely love it because of that (and the dates), and I so wish she was here to have some (I’ll have to make some when I’m at home or you visit, Mom!).
One of the things I really love about this bread is how easy it slices. In the past, I’ve made some really crumbly banana breads when I make them healthier. I think the dates really hold it together nicely.
Note the dark edges..thank god you can’t taste it! And also notice Tesla peeking in the corner..he was trying to check it out the whole time I tried to photograph it…
So of course I let him, just so he’d stop bothering me (which he did!). That picture really makes it look burnt to a crisp. It totally wasn’t. It was delicious.
Banana Date Tea Cake
makes 1 loaf
1 cup + 2 T white whole wheat flour
2 T cornstarch
1 t cinnamon
1/2 t nutmeg
2 t baking powder
1 t baking soda
3 ripe bananas
1 1/2 t vanilla
1/2 t salt
6 T unsweetened applesauce
1/2 cup agave nectar
1 cup walnuts, chopped
1 cup dates, pitted & chopped
1 banana & 1 packet truvia, for topping
In a medium bowl, combine the flour, cornstarch, cinnamon, nutmeg, baking powder and baking soda. In a separate bowl, mash the 3 bananas with a fork until slightly chunky. Stir in the eggs, vanilla and salt. Add in the applesauce and agave nectar and mix thoroughly. Pour the banana mixture into the flour mixture, and mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the dates and walnuts. Pour the batter into a loaf pan lined with parchment paper (or greased lightly) and smooth with a spatula. Take the extra banana and cut it in half lengthwise. Take each half, cut side down, and cut in half lengthwise again. Lay on top of the batter and sprinkle with truvia. Bake for 40-45 minutes at 350ºF, until toothpick comes out clean. Allow to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes, and then remove to a wire rack to cool completely. Serve at room temperature. Keep well wrapped in the fridge for a week or at room temp. for two days.