For our little one’s first birthday, we wanted to make something that he can actually eat (as opposed to staring at us over a bowl of oatmeal cereal while we feast on his birthday cake). That’s how this quick and easy food processor cake came along, and with a few tweaks, you can make it yours for your little one!
You can substitute part of the liquid ingredients (mashed bananas, milk) with applesauce. You can use any nut milk, or cow’s milk (after it has been properly introduced per your pediatrician’s guidance), or even water. You could also use thinned out yogurt in place of the milk. Our munchkin loves cardamom, but you can swap it out for cinnamon (and a tiny pinch of nutmeg), or leave out the spices entirely. You can sweeten it with jaggery, which is my favorite refined sugar free sweetener for baby/toddler food, but you could use date sugar, coconut sugar, or any other sweetener you typically use.
The cake is really great also as a snacking option sans frosting. A great option for smash cakes and such to celebrate his first trip around the sun.
Banana Bread, or Banana Nut Bread actually, is the one of the first few cakes I learned how to bake, way back in 2009. It was a simpler time when I had only a couple of baking pans, one tacky whisk, and I didn’t know the difference between cake flour and all purpose flour. And boy did I end up learning the difference! I followed some recipe from the Food Network Test Kitchen and over a period of several months and years, iterated over it to come up with my own variations. Almost always one-bowl, minimal prep work, no fancy ingredients, infinitely adaptable, forgiving, freezer-friendly, reheats like a dream…are just a few ways to describe a good loaf of Banana Nut Bread, and this recipe always hit the mark.
With requests from friends, I started making them eggless (swap each egg with one medium sized banana), with different nuts (pecans are wonderful too), with seeds, with or without chocolate (chips, chunks and cocoa powder versions), in pretty bundt pans instead of loaf, with or without chocolate ganache on top, and so on. The combinations are endless.
But the banana nut breads I was making were an indulgence. I mean they were worlds apart from the high-calorie, compressed sawdust you get in Starbucks but they weren’t something I could have all the time, because of all the sugar and butter and of course the banana itself is pretty high calorie and a sugar bomb when ultra ripe. So I fiddled with the recipe a bit to make it less indulgent, and it completely sucked. Much like the direction this blog post is taking.