The banana cakes that I have baked recently have been a huge success and so I figured, I'd try this banana and date tea cake from the lovely Tartine. Me and my collegues from the office declared this one as a winner, too. Dates and bananas are a wonderful combination. I like the moist and chewy consistency of the cake and the crunchy almonds. It's almost too rich to be served as a dessert after dinner, though. This cake is perfect for what we Swiss call "zVieri" - an afternoon break around 4 o'clock.
(from: Tartine by Elisabeth M. Prueitt and Chad Robertson)
155g plain flour
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
255g (3 medium) unpeeled bananas, very ripe
2 large eggs
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon salt
85g butter, at room temperature
115g walnuts, lightly toasted and coarsely chopped (I used almonds)
225g pitted dates, coarsely chopped
1 medium banana
2 tablespoons sugar
Preheat the oven to 165°C. Line a 9x5 inch loaf tin with parchment paper. In medium bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and cornstarch. Peel the bananas and mash them in a second bowl. Add the eggs, vanilla, and salt, and combine thoroughly.
Put the butter in a large mixing bowl and beat until light and creamy, about 2 minutes. Slowly add the sugar while beating until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as you go. Beat in the banana mixture until incorporated. Sift the flour-mixture over the batter and fold in gently with a rubber spatula. Add the nuts and dates. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and continue folding until everything is well-combined. Transfer the batter to the loaf pan and smooth with a spatula. Peel the banana for the topping and cut lengthwise into 4 quarters. Lay on top of the batter and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, about 1 hour. Let cool, then invert onto a cooling rack, then flip right side up. Serve at room temperature.