When it comes to bananas, I'm a hoarder. It never used to be like this. But when I opened the freezer door last week, only to have a pile of frozen brown bananas come crashing to the ground– I knew it was time to fess up. If it was up to me, I would have quietly just put them back in the freezer. Shut the door and proceeded with my evening. But the noise of frozen bananas smacking the tile, and curious cats trying to bat them around was too loud for even the best noise-cancelling headphones to drown out. With Anguel now in the kitchen – wearing a sassy "I told you so" smirk – I casually defrosted the bananas and made coffee cake instead. As if that was my plan all along.
My banana hoarding tendencies started when we first moved in together. Anguel's spirit animal would probably be a monkey, based purely on the fact that he eats bananas like they're going out of style. Which is totally cool, except that there's never any spotty bananas left at the end of the week. And that's so not cool if you're someone who loves baking banana bread. Thankfully I've become very good at doing two things: 1) hiding bananas in random spots around the kitchen, and 2) bribing Anguel with promises of banana bread if he leaves some survivors for the end of the week. Apparently, this guy likes banana bread too.
We make a lot of banana bread in our home, but recently this recipe has been taking the cake (ha!). This coffee cake has everything there is to love about banana bread – with some yummy extras including chocolate (times two) and walnuts. And let's not forget about the walnut oat crumble on top. Because who doesn't like streusel…seriously.
Thanks to spelt flour, coconut sugar and pressing the skip button on the dairy, this recipe is a healthier take on the standard banana-bread fare. Bananas, nut milk, and a small amount of coconut oil help to keep everything moist. The batter calls for chopped dark chocolate and walnuts inside, but you could leave either out if you really wanted to. The crumble topping is like an unexpected bonus round – one that I think a lot of banana breads could benefit from! It tastes and feels decadent, but it's actually loaded with healthy oats and walnuts. A bit of coconut oil replaces butter and keeps everything all together. If fact, the crumble is so good that I've started to think through a long list of dessert recipes that I can add it to.
The end result is a soft, tender and moist coffee cake. It's just sweet enough, which makes it perfect for pairing with tea or coffee. And while I originally made the coffee cake with the intention of it being an afternoon snack, we’ve definitely also snuck it in as breakfast on a few occasions. May once or twice this week - no biggie. It even packed up surprisingly well for our weekend trip to Bowen (a couple photos below). It made the perfect snack on our afternoon hikes; and one morning when we were too lazy to schlep it down the hill in pouring rain, we stayed in bed eating this coffee cake for breakfast instead. Because when it comes to getting cozy, few foods can top banana bread.
Chocolate Banana Coffee Cake with Walnut Streusel
Chocolate Banana Coffee Cake
- 2 tablespoons ground flax
- 5 tablespoons water
- 2 cups spelt flour
- 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ cups mashed ripe banana (4 to 5 bananas)
- ¾ cup coconut sugar
- ½ cup non-dairy milk (at room temperature, see note 1)
- ⅓ cup melted coconut oil
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¾ cup chopped walnuts
- ½ cup chopped dark chocolate
- 1 cup rolled oats, divided
- ¾ cup walnuts
- ¼ cup coconut sugar
- 3 tablespoons melted coconut oil
- ½ teaspoon cinnamon
- Preheat: Preheat oven to 350°F (177°C).
- "Flax egg": In a small bowl, whisk together flax and water. Set aside for 10 minutes to thicken.
- Walnut Streusel: Add ½ cup of the oats to a food processor, pulse into powder. Transfer oats to a medium bowl. Pulse walnuts until finely chopped. Transfer walnuts to the bowl. Add remaining ½ cup (whole) oats, sugar, coconut oil, cinnamon, and salt. Stir until clumps form. Set aside.
- Dry ingredients: In a large bowl, whisk together spelt flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and baking soda. Set aside.
- Wet ingredients: In a medium bowl, whisk together banana, sugar, milk, coconut oil, vanilla, and salt. Add "flax egg", whisk until combined.
- Combine: Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Gently mix until there are a few streaks of flour left. Gently fold in walnuts and chocolate (be careful not to overmix).
- Assemble and bake: Line 1 9-inch square pan with parchment (see note 2). Pour the batter into the pan, then sprinkle the walnut streusel on top. Bake until a toothpick comes out clean, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool, lift from pan, and cut into squares.
- Milk: Non-dairy milk should be unsweetened and unflavored. Adding room temperature milk will prevent the coconut oil from solidifying. You can substitute non-dairy milk for dairy milk if you'd prefer.
- Baking pan substitute: If you don't have a 9-inch pan, you can use an 8-inch pan instead (as long as it's sides are at least 2-inches tall). If using a smaller pan, you may need to gently press the streusel topping down to get it to fit.
- Baking by weight: For the most reliable results, we recommend measuring by weight when baking. Ingredient weights are provided in metric. If you must go by volume (measuring cups), make sure to fluff, spoon, and level the flour to avoid adding too much.